A Preface to Easter (Diagram)
Luther's dictum "at the same time justified and a sinner" can only be true in dynamic and not a static sense. If taken statically, as a tensed equilibrium between righteousness and sin, pictured like this,
Righteousness ------------------------- Sin
it can lead to a resignation to the inevitability of sin in our lives and debilitating thoughts like, upon sinning, "Well, I'm only human after all."
But such a perspective makes despite of the work and resurrection of Christ, the presence of the Spirit in and among us, and the call of the church to be "salt" and "light" in the world. Instead, in the light of these realities, the relation should be pictured thus,
where the balance is tilted in favor of righteousness. Christ has defeated sin. Righteousness is eternal and is our destiny. Sin is passing away. That same imbalance of righteousness and sin ought to be evident in our lives, a growing disparity between the two that generates a distinctive way of life that the world around us will notice (whether in approval or disapproval).