And what is a “saint”? This question came in recently through our Communication Cards and I think it’s such a relevant one today.
In our recent series in 1st Corinthians we saw how the Apostle Paul at the start of this letter refers to the church at Corinth, and Christians throughout the region of greater Achaia, as saints (1 Cor 1:2). This reference continues throughout the letter, and is common for Paul in many of his letters to refer to churches and Christians in this way.
From this small survey of biblical exposition, one thing has to be clear is that to be a saint is to be a Christian. Being a saint doesn’t equal being a super-Christian, or a canonised Christian alive or dead or an extra-holy Christian – because the word describes someone who is a Christian is in the first place.
We see that is what is a saint. A saint is a Christian because it relates to the word group for holiness that we see right there in that same verse we were looking at in 1st Corinthians 1:2. See it? Paul writes 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.” A saint is someone who is sanctified, the two words are related and show what it is to be a saint. It is someone who has been set-apart as holy, different, because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are born-again.
Saints are a holy and therefore set-apart group of people who love the Lord Jesus. This means much in the letter of 1st Corinthians and much today. For we saw in 1st Corinthians that those saints in that time and place were not living super-spiritual lives. They wouldn’t make it into the saints hall of fame today, no cannons for them 😉 Rather, here was a church that was divisive and dysfunctional for all sorts of sinful reasons, so that being a saint cannot refer to a Christian’s own particular character, or conduct or any miracles on their resume – because that would mean the Corinthian Church shouldn’t make the list.
Here’s the good news if you’re concerned about being a saint or not, here’s the gospel: Jesus Christ is the one who is the holy human, the man who is God. Jesus who died for the ungodly and unholy like you and me, in our place on the cros – he is the saviour so we can be set-apart as His sanctified people, His saints.
Saints are those who are Christians, who have been set-apart because they call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, because they are set-apart in Him.
Do you call Jesus your Lord? Come with all the saints this Sunday and see the difference Jesus makes.