Community – Saints

1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”

The Greek word for saints is an interesting one. It is the word “hagios” and means “most holy thing” so a saint is a holy person. But aren’t all humans sinners, even after they are saved? Does God consider believers as saints? Paul, as is his custom, opens his epistles (letters) with greetings to the saints or the set apart or holy ones. They have no inherent holiness, of course, but they are made holy by Jesus’ blood shed for them on the cross.

Paul is not the only one to call Christians saints. The Apostle John calls them saints in the Book of Revelation 14:12 where it is written, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.” There is a theme found in all of the New Testament verses where a saint is mentioned and it is almost always associated with those who are in Christ or have faith in Christ. Without Christ, being a saint is impossible. With Christ, it is possible. A saint is anyone who has been saved and then they are set apart for holy use.  They are made holy by Christ’s death and shed blood. That is exactly what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:11, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Without this “washing” by Christ’s blood, we could be no more holy than a cow is made sacred by worship of the false god Baal from 1 Kings 18. The word “saints” and “sanctified” are used frequently in the New Testament when referring to the body of believers, like in 1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours.” Here Paul uses the term “holy people,” and “to those sanctified” when referring to the church.

There is no need to await beatification (sainthood achieved) as some faith traditions believe. It doesn’t take ten, twenty, or a hundred years. If you have repented and trusted in Christ, you are a saint of God today, right now! Why would Paul declare to the believers they were saints at the time he was writing to them, while they were still alive, if it was only for the dead? It makes no sense for Paul to write to “the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” or in Corinth, or at Rome if they were dead! There is nothing in the Bible that teaches someone has to be dead for a certain number of years before they can be referred to as a saint or reach beatification. That is not taught in Scripture. You are a SAINT today if you have placed your faith in Christ. There are only two kinds of people on earth right now, as the late Adrian Rogers said; “there are saints and there are ain’ts.” There are none in the middle. There is no fence anyone can sit on when deciding whether to live out one’s salvation or not. My prayer for you this day is to claim your sainthood and live it out for others to see.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn