"I'm just a sinner, saved by grace." "I'm just clothes for God to put on." "There sure isn't any good thing in me." It's so common this mind-set, this idea that we are no-good wretches, ready to sin at a moment's notice, incapable of goodness, and certainly far from any glory.
It's also unbiblical.
The passage people think they are referring to is Romans 7:18, where Paul says, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing" (KJV). Notice the distinction he makes. He does not say, "There is nothing good in me. Period." What he says is that "in my flesh dwelleth no good thing." The flesh is the old nature, the old life, crucified with Christ. The flesh is the very thing God removed from our hearts when he circumcised them by his Spirit. In Galatians Paul goes on to explain, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature [the flesh] with its passions and desires" (5:24). He does not say, "I am incapable of good." He says, "In my flesh dwelleth no good thing." In fact, just a few moments later, he discovers that "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:2 NKJV).
Yes, we still battle with sin. Yes, we still have to crucify our flesh on a daily basis. "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the [sinful nature], you will live" (Rom. 8:13 NKJV). We have to choose to live from the new heart, and our old nature doesn't go down without a fight. I'll say more about that later. For now the question on the table is: Does the Bible teach that Christians are nothing but sinners-that there is nothing good in us? The answer is no! Christ lives in you. You have a new heart. Your heart is good. That sinful nature you battle is not who you are.