Ask OldTimer

Calling All Saints! Who Me? Get Real!


The Question:

What is a saint? Is it just some holy dead person?


The Answer:

If you hesitated to read this because you don't FEEL like a saint, listen up! If you are a born again believer in Christ Jesus, according to the Word, you ARE a saint.

Wait! Aren't saints dead people who performed some kind of miracle while they were alive? There are some Christians we remember who were "extra holy" while alive, but according to the New Testament, all living believers are saints as well.

[According to Vines, hagios "In the plural, as used of believers, it designates all such and is not applied merely to persons of exceptional holiness, or to those who, having died, were characterized by exceptional acts of "saintliness.""]

Almost every letter that Paul wrote is addressed "to the saints at" somewhere. And he wasn't writing to dead people. Now some Bible versions say, "called TO BE saints" in some passages, but the TO BE is not in the original text.

Romans 1:7 (English-Darby) to all that are in Rome, beloved of God, CALLED SAINTS: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and [our] Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, TO THE SAINTS in Ephesus, the faithful [or believers] in Christ Jesus:

Also check out I Corinthians 1:2 (NIV has called to be holy, remember the to be is not in the original), 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1, Colossians 1:1 (NIV has holy).

Oh great, you think. "This is another fine mess you've gotten us into", OldTimer. I wasn't doing so great anyhow, and now I'm supposed to be a SAINT???

What is a saint anyway? The Greek word for saint is hagios, and it means holy ones, those called apart for special service by God. Hagios is also the root word for holiness, consecration and sanctified.

So how did I become a saint all of a sudden? By being born again. Just like you are an American or Canadian or whatever by birth, you become a saint by REbirth into God's kingdom. It's part of the package deal that also includes a lot of other goodies: being bought back from the devil's dominion, being forgiven of all your sins, being adopted into God's family, being declared "not guilty" and so on. And remember these are all GIFTS of grace, you could never earn them.

Colossians 1:11-14 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to THE FATHER, WHO HAS QUALIFIED YOU TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF THE SAINTS in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption [through His blood], the forgiveness of sins.

I Thessalonians 1:10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his HOLY PEOPLE [saints] and to be marveled at among ALL THOSE WHO HAVE BELIEVED. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

What are the characteristics of a saint then?

*** For one thing, a saint, being called apart from the world for special service to God, is no longer his own boss. A saint does what God wants him to, not because he HAS to, but because he wants to, out of love for all God has given him.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? YOU ARE NOT YOUR OWN; YOU WERE BOUGHT AT A PRICE. Therefore honor God with your body.

*** A saint is equipped BY GOD for every good work. A saint doesn't have to go out and get a college degree somewhere, or buy a book to obtain what he needs for this special service. God simply drops it into his spirit through the Word, and then the saint simply puts it into practice.

Colossians 1: 25 -26 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness-- the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is NOW DISCLOSED TO THE SAINTS.

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power HAS GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

*** A saint is given power over the devil and gets to wear God's armor:

[Jesus speaking] Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Jude 1:3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to CONTEND FOR THE FAITH that was ONCE FOR ALL ENTRUSTED TO THE SAINTS.

Ephesians 6:10-11 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.

*** A saint is given eternal life as a gift, but also through diligence in following God can earn rewards that will last forever:

[Paul speaking] I Corinthians 9:17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a REWARD; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.

2 John 1:8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be REWARDED FULLY.

Revelation 11:18 ... The time has come for judging the dead, and for REWARDING your servants the prophets and your SAINTS and those who reverence your name, both small and great...


[Jesus speaking] Revelation 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My REWARD is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done."

*** A saint is given special ability to commune with God, and a promise to have his prayers answered:

[Jesus speaking] Matthew 21:22 "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

*** A saint has a Teacher on the inside, the Holy Spirit, who is training him to be like Jesus:

John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 16:13-14 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and
making it known to you.

*** A saint also has God appointed leaders to help him grow in knowledge and grace:

Ephesians 4: 11 It was he [Jesus] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

*** And a saint has God watching over him and guiding him day and night:

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalms 1:6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous [holy ones, saints]...

Psalm 33:18-19 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

Psalm 121:1-8 I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

*** And a saint is not a citizen of this earth, but of Heaven:

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

This sounds all well and good, but what is the flip side? I'm sure that there's something more to it. Well, you're correct. A saint does give up some "rights" that he had before.

* A saint gives up the right to sin.
* A saint gives up the right to condemn.
* A saint gives up the right to contend.
* A saint gives up the right to revenge.
* A saint gives up the right to lose.
* A saint gives up the right to abuse.
* A saint gives up the right to pity party.
* A saint gives up the right to be disheartened.
* A saint gives up the right to be overcome.
* A saint gives up the right to make hell his home.
* A saint gives up the right to moan.
* A saint gives up the right to be alone.
* A saint gives up the right to throw a fit.
* A saint gives up the right to quit.

Of course if you'd RATHER be miserable and defeated, God's not going to force you to be happy. But as a saint, you have a right to JOY beyond explanation.

Being a saint seems to be a tall order, though, doesn't it? I mean who can be all that? Remember that God gives you all the equipment and ability that you need to be what He says you are.

It seems to me that we spend a lot of time trying to BECOME what God says we already ARE. It takes faith to just accept what God says is reality and to ignore what the devil says about the thing.

For example, some spend a lot of effort in trying to make themselves good enough to be saved, when in reality, they are accepted just like they are. For one thing you can never be good enough to EARN salvation, it's a free gift of God's grace. And you are wasting time trying to make yourself good, which is impossible, when you could be letting the Holy Spirit make you good, inside out.

The Bible says that we are ACCEPTED in the Beloved of God, yet how many are still striving to make themselves acceptable?

Being a saint above all means trusting and believing that what God says in His Word about you is true, reliable, and dependable. WE ARE SAINTS. Now let's act like what God says we are!


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