Called To Be Saints

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Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours…  (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2  KJV)

What is a saint?  I’m not writing about the New Orleans Saints, by the way.  Who do you think qualifies to be called “a saint?”  No doubt most of you are thinking, “my mother.”  If you are a good son, that’s a good answer.  All kidding aside, there are many different ideas regarding this idea of “sainthood.”  Some people think there aren’t very many saints, and that saints become so only after their deaths.  There are those that think the views of church leaders determine who may be a saint.  Still others believe that you can’t be sure who is a saint until death; that we’ll find out in Heaven.  For some, claiming to be saint is the highest form of egotistical folly.  Good thing for us the Bible is unambiguous  when it comes to who and what saints are.  Let’s see.

Who is called?

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, very clearly tells us who saints are.  The Church of Jesus Christ is a group of saints.  That’s simple.  The “sanctified” are called to be saints.  In other words, all Christians are called to be saints.  This is definitely a work of God’s grace.  As we read elsewhere in the New Testament, it’s clear that “saints” referred to all the Christians of that day.  “Saint” in other words, was a synonym for “Christian.”  All Christians, then, from the new convert to the seasoned believer, are saints.

What is a saint?

A “saint” is “a sanctified or holy person.”  That’s a simple dictionary definition, but it’s loaded.  A “saint” is a Christian, one who is called to be Godly, holy, and one who is living a consistent Christian life.

Nobody can be a “saint” by trying to live like one.  You can’t decide one day, “I’d like to be saint,” then turn over a new leaf.  No, being a holy person isn’t about that.  In fact, the Bible teaches us that it is impossible for a person to be a saint by his own efforts.  Romans 3:23 gives us a vital piece of information:  All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.  “All” means “everybody.”  You can’t be a saint and a sinner at the same time.  Just by being born, through no effort of our own, we are sinners.  We are not saints.

How do you become a saint?

Given that a sinner can’t help himself; that he can’t turn himself into a saint, what can a sinner do?  Fact is, nothing; a sinner really is helpless.  But there is One who can help – there is One in the saint-making business.  Jesus Christ came to make saints out of sinners.  And he’s good at that.

For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.  (Colossians 1:13, 14  TLB)

Jesus “rescued us.”  That’s a good way to put it.  He reached down and pulled us up out of the quicksand of sin.  Only He could do that for us.  Through the miracle of the new birth, sinners take on God’s character!  Can you believe it?

And by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character.  (2 Peter 1:4  TLB)

That’s amazing, isn’t it?  Jesus gives us His character – or a character like His.  He re-creates us; re-makes us like Himself.  So every single sinner may become a saint through the work of Jesus Christ in him.  When a sinner confesses his sins to Christ and names Him as Lord and Savior, that sinner becomes a saint.

Responsibilities of sainthood

Jesus does all the work in making us saints, but that doesn’t mean we have no part in the process.  Consider 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 —

Haven’t you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it.  (TLB)

There’s the rub, all right.  A Christian dosn’t have the right to do as he pleases or live as he likes.  He now belongs to God, lock, stock, and barrel.  As saints, we are expected to live in a way that is pleasing to God.  In all our decisions, plans, thinking and actions we are to live as Godly people.  This is our responsibility.  God can’t live our lives for us.  There is no “Office of Compliance” in Heaven.  Living as saints is the choice we as saints are expected to make.

Blessings of sainthood

Being a saint of God is to be blessed by God.

How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.  (Ehesians 1:3  TLB)

God has chosen us in Christ and has adopted us into His great family.  He has redeemed us from the guilt, the power, and the dominion of sin.  He has given us the promise of eternal life with Him and all the other saints in eternity!

Who wouldn’t want to be a saint?  It’s a choice you make; it’s something God does for you.

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