Humans are determined to be special. You know what? We are! Genesis 1:27 explains we were created in the very image of God! So many problems come when, rather than celebrate our God-given qualities, we decide how we are special. We all look for that moment of recognition when someone gleefully screams, “You’re such a saint!” Is that what sainthood is? Is it truly a rank? Is it a class of people? Or maybe some etherial status?
Does Sainthood = Status?
We have many different ideas of what a saint is. Catholics canonize posthumously. Muslims grant “Wilayat”. Zoroastrians have Fravashi, Hindi – Gurus, Buddhists – Bodhisattva, Daoist – Shengren, Shinto – Kami, etc.
What is the tie that binds? Alleged supernatural status. Global religions grant god-like status to men. For example, to achieve Catholic sainthood several miracles must be verified. Then, Voila! “You’re a saint!”
Is this from God?
Biblically, the official nomination of “Saint _______” is conspicuously absent. It is worth noting the term, when used in scripture, is always plural. It always, unanimously refers to a group. Every. Single. Time. (74 X in fact!)
One example, Paul opens the letter of 1 Corinthians,
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours…”
We might put it into our modern language this way [changes italicized, emphasis mine]:
“To the church of God living at Corinth, to those set-apart and special in Christ Jesus, also known as saints, which includes everybody that actively calls on the name of Jesus Christ everywhere they are, as their Master and our Ruler.”
Does it strike you that the definition¹ Paul attributes to saints is different from many people’s definition of saints?
A question for Christians:
If we make a position, rank, or status out of something we already are, and that results in our failure to be that, what is the end result (John 14:4-5)? What if the modern concept of this exclusive sainthood is preventing Christians from being saintly (Matthew 5:48)?
Don’t wait on miracles. Don’t believe sainthood is unattainable – God would never command the unachievable (Hebrews 11:7).
Be holy and separated from the world. Be the saints God expects (Hebrews 2:11). Be special (1 Peter 1:16). We should embrace our nature as the set apart body of Christ Jesus, His church (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Our determination should not be that I can achieve sainthood. Our focus should be that, in Christ…
…we are all saints and we should all live lives worthy of our calling.
In Ephesians 1:18, Paul states,
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people…”
Be the saint you were made to be (Ephesians 2:19). In Christ, you have access to the Holy of Holies, inaugurated in the sacrifice of our heavenly High Priest (Hebrew 10:19-25). When you pray, pray as a saint with the saints (Ephesians 6:18), and God will intercede on your behalf (Romans 8:27).
God has decided how we are special: we are in Christ, that is what makes us saints (1 Peter 2:4-10) !
Saints thematically defined:
The people of God, especially in relation to their being set apart from the world to serve him. Believers are called upon to lead holy lives worthy of their calling.
Manser, Martin H. Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser, 2009. Print.