At least one denomination has a lofty definition for ‘saint’ and who is eligible to be one. However, the Bible uses ‘saint’ to describe every person who belongs to God. The Greek word is defined and used that way. Its definition also includes ‘holy’ which means ‘set apart for God.’ This word is used in the New Testament to describe all those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul began many of his epistles or letters to the churches using this word in his greeting to all the people in that congregation . . .
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: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:2–3)
In these few words, the apostle tells us what God has and wants for His people. While his message eventually confronts the immaturity in this church, right from the beginning he clarifies that even immature Christians are not like others. We have a special place in Christ and in history.
Saints are sanctified. This is a great word. My Greek dictionary says this is about being dedicated to God. This word could be translated as, ‘those who have given themselves to God’ or ‘those who serve God with a whole heart.’ However, lest I start thinking that this is a choice that I did all by myself, the next line says . . .
Saints are called. This is about being “summoned or commissioned” and describes the calling of God on a person’s life. He calls sinners to Himself, to be set apart by Him and for Him. The more I know myself, the more I realize the marvel that God should call me. His grace enables me to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from His grace, I am fully aware of what and where I would be.
Saints are saved by grace. Grace is simply God’s favor. It is not deserved (all people sin and fall short) nor is it earned. No one can meet the standard. No matter how good I might think I am, or how anyone else thinks I am, my goodness falls short of God’s glory.
Saints are at peace. While most of us think this means absence of war or turmoil, God’s peace goes beyond that. It is first about peace with Him. Instead of being antagonistic toward God, church, religion, rules or whatever is associated with yielding to Him as Lord of my life, the gift of peace with Him makes an amazing difference in my life; I’m not anywhere near as feisty as I used to be and the desire of my heart is to be totally submitted to the will of God. I have peace with Him.
Added to that is the peace of God. This is peace that truly passes understanding. The world around can be falling apart but this peace from God is based on knowing He is God. He puts my heart at rest. This is not ignoring troublesome things, nor is it a nonchalant I-don’t-care attitude. It is a heart at rest, trusting the Lord. God gives this peace to His people.
All of these things are the blessings of being a saint. With them, I do not care if anyone puts me up on the top of a list (or on the bottom). Human recognition is okay, but it pales beside knowing that I am God’s child, called by grace to be His. I am blessed in a peace-filled relationship — all because of the One called Jesus who lived and died and lives again for His people, His saints.