So when the Bible talks about us as sinners we can relate.
All we like sheep have gone astray… (Is. 53:6)
All have sinned and fall short… (Rom. 3:23)
For the wages of sin is death... (Rom. 6:23)
We can recognize that these verses are directed to us and that they are absolutely right and applicable.
Now think for a minute… Let's say that "Tom" is a Christian and is also a NY Yankees fan. Let's also say that Dan is a fan of a different baseball team. Believe it or not, Dan CAN see beyond Tom's NY Yankees baseball cap and still have fellowship with Tom despite the fact that Dan is the fan of another team. Why? Because there is a bigger truth - a deeper truth in play than just that Tom is a Yankees fan. Tom is a brother in the Lord.
Likewise there is a deeper truth, a bigger truth that Dan wants us to see about ourselves - a truth about us that goes all the way back to creation - that we were made in God’s image. We were originally designed to look like our Creator - to look like love - because God is love (1 John 4:16). And although the term “sinner” certainly describes our behavior, it does not describe the deeper truth that God saw about us at creation and the deeper truth that God has always seen about us, to this very day (even though He is well aware of our sin).
Why does Dan want us to see this deeper truth? Because if you see yourself as only a sinner - if you believe that you've always been a sinner and that you'll always be just a sinner - then you are less likely to step into what Jesus died to provide for us - you will be less likely to draw near to God. Guilt, condemnation and shame will keep you away. And that’s bad because it’s through intimate relationship that God transforms your life. That’s where He re-crafts His image in you.
When Dan uses the phrase, “He didn't die because I was a sinner” it raises a big red flag. It sounds like a denial of sin. Is Dan saying that we were not sinners before we came to Christ - that we didn’t really need a Savior? No, certainly not. Dan always surrounds that statement with other clarifying statements - something to the effect of: “Of course He had to die because I sinned. But He didn't die because I was a sinner. He died because I was a lost son." (@1:00 - 1:06) So Dan is not saying that we never have, nor never will, commit sin. Dan is simply reminding us of the deeper truth that God sees about us - that we were originally made in His image. Dan is pointing us towards the restoration of what we were created for - to look like our heavenly Father - to look like love.