About D. R. Silva& Saints Not Sinners
About D. R. Silva – Short Version
I became a full-time “minister” in 2009, after spending several years as a struggling Christian trying to climb the ladder of religion and “God-pleasing.”
I’m the author of 3 books, most notably, Hyper-Grace: The Dangerous Doctrine of a Happy God.
“The word ‘should’ died on the cross.”
That was the first sermon on grace I ever heard. I was a Christian for 18 years before I found out that Jesus didn’t die to forgive a “wretched sinner” and to give me a chance to go to heaven when I died as long as I fulfilled my Christian duty. I was a Christian for 18 years before I found out that Jesus died to free me from the identity of sin I had been walking around with my whole life–the daily struggle that says, “I want to good, but I’m destined to do bad!”
My last day as a workaholic Christian was Oct. 8th, 2009. I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in 5 years and dumped all of my frustration on him. I expected what I had always received whenever I told my other Christian friends how much I wanted to do good and fulfill my Christian obligation, but how much I always ended up sinning because I’m a “wretched sinner.” I expected him to reciprocate the feelings of disappointment, and we would both commit to being accountability partners and forget about our commitment after a few weeks. I expected him to think I was spiritual because I had good-intentions.
I didn’t get what I expected.
Instead of nurturing the idea that I was a sinner, he told me about the verses that said I was a new creation and a saint, and that all the old things have passed away–including that sinful nature I used as a reason for my daily disappointment in myself.
Instead of nurturing the idea that I should “do more,” he told me about how Jesus has already done it all, and that nothing I do can add to it, and if I do nothing at all, I can’t even take away from it. The work of Jesus is complete, and I had nothing to do with it. Instead of worrying about what I need to accomplish for Christ, he said, the Christian life is about resting in what Christ has accomplished for us. Fruit comes from rest, not stress.
In a few short hours, the message of Jesus’ finished work turned 18 years of my life upside-down. Suddenly the lights turned on, and I was able to see the good news concerning the Person I had been trying to tell people about. Suddenly I saw that Jesus wasn’t only hope for heaven when we die, but He is heaven for the whole creation while we’re still alive.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says that those who follow Moses have a veil over their eyes, preventing them from seeing Jesus. But that veil is only removed when you stop relying on the old ministry of Moses (obeying laws and commandments), and rely on the work of Jesus.
Why I write
I write because I was a Christian stumbling around in the dark for most of my life, trying to obey a long list of rules. Then one day I heard the good news of Jesus’ work and the lights came on. Suddenly I was free from my addiction to “trying.” I was a Christian who had nothing to hope for in this life except the daily expectation of “falling short” and failing God. Then I heard the gospel that God is proud of His sons because of who they are, not what they do.
I write because for most of my Christian life, I called God “Father,” but I only knew Him as judge. I couldn’t see a Father who smiles just as big when I get everything right as He does when I get everything wrong. When I did bad, I pushed Him away because I expected Him to push me away. I only saw a strict judge with His arms crossed and His foot tapping, waiting for me to mess up so He could “convict” me of sin and make me feel bad about doing the thing I already knew I shouldn’t have done.
I was a Christian lost at sea, propelled by sin and guilt. The gospel of Grace led me home to my Father and removed every misconception I had about how He sees me. I write because I know there are still others in the same boat I jumped out of.
About Saints Not Sinners
Saints Not Sinners was launched on January 6th, 2011. Our main goal is to empower Christians to walk in the power and love of the gospel. The name comes from the transformative experience we had in finding out that we aren’t sinners prone to do bad things, but are saints, “created in Christ to do good works.” That’s the foundation on which my identity in Christ is built.
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