Sometimes the beauty of Scripture is inescapable, and this is the case for me as I read 1 John 3:2. I'm so compelled by the honesty and hopefulness John brings to the table, both about who we are and who we are becoming.
Luther talked about the Christian life as one of being simultaneously sinner and saint. Often that's been used as a justification for sinful living, but that's not really the direction that Scripture (or Luther) intended. Even Luther's (in)famous encouragement to sin boldly is not intended as a rationalization for hedonism. Rather, being a sinner and saint is all about being honest and hopeful.
Like John, we must be honest that we will will be has not yet been revealed, at least not fully. In other words, our complete deliverance from sin is not yet here. Every time we sin, it seems still further off. Yet, we name this from the unique perspective as God's children. Though sinful, God made us blood kin through the cross, and continues to do so every time we take and eat the body and blood of Christ, given for us.
Yet, in the midst of our honesty as children who remain sinful, a font hopefulness arises in Christ's blood. As we await the final restoration of all things, we participate in Christ's body and blood. We frequently, weekly, daily partake of who God is, and as we do, we become more like Christ. Slowly, near imperceptibly, the transformation into God's image and likeness occurs from the inside out. We can be hopeful because, though sinners, Christ is working on us right now, preparing us for the reunification of all things in the Kingdom of God.
Being simultaneously sinners and saints is about admitting where we are on the journey. We are not lost to sin any more, but neither are we completely like Christ, at least not yet. Indeed, we are in the midst of a process, on a path between sinfulness and sainthood, and so we are simultaneously sinners and saints.
As we remember the faithful departed this All Saints Sunday, give thanks for the honesty and hopefulness they lived in, they died in, and they rose in, because that honesty, that hopefulness, those are the gifts and work of Christ within us. As we remember those whose journey is now beyond ours, give thanks also for our own journeys, that though we are yet sinners, God welcomes us home as children. Now we're on the journey to get there.