Thursday, November 1, 2018

1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:


"Are you a saint?"

More than one pastor has asked a confirmation instruction class that question and received replies in the negative that cited the fact that, "I'm not perfect" or "I'm not dead" or even "I haven't done any miracles."

Perhaps we should not be surprised by these responses when we consider the use of the word "saint" in our world today. Even in Christian circles the word is used almost exclusively of people like "Saint Paul or "Saint Peter" -- and a believer who has died is referred to as "sainted."

The fact is, in the New Testament the vast majority of the time the word "saint" is used of living believers in Jesus Christ -- people like the Christians at Rome or in Corinth who in themselves were far from perfect but "were washed, ...were sanctified, ... were justified in the name of the LORD Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:11). To be a saint is to be "sanctified" or "made holy." This is in no way possible for any of us sinful human beings except through the forgiveness that is ours through faith in Jesus and His redeeming work. "The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

Is it too late -- even for Bible-believing Christians -- to get back to using the word "saint" the way it is used in the New Testament? Perhaps not, since we do this every time we confess our faith in the words of the Apostles' Creed ("communion of saints").

November 1st is "All Saints' Day" on the Christian church calendar. Sometime today why not make a point to address a fellow-believer as "Saint Sam" or "Saint Jennifer," combining their given name with the special name Jesus gives us as children of God through faith in Him. When you get a questioning look or a "Who me?" response, talk about how we Christ-believers are part of a "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).