Last week I asked the question “Do you know who you are?” Amongst other things, we looked at the fact that if you are a Christian the bible describes you as a new creation, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17.
This week I am going to look at the fact that you are now also a saint.
It was interesting to hear this week of the pope’s announcement to stand down due to his old age. This got me thinking about some of the problems I have with Roman Catholicism, one of them being how they ‘decide’ on who a saint is. It is quite a complicated process: the candidate in question first has to be considered exceptionally holy, he/she is then put forward to be canonised (a lengthy process sometimes taking centuries!). And they obviously have to be dead. Their remains are declared holy; they can then be prayed to and even worshipped.
The reason that you and I are saints (if you are a believer) is because Jesus has passed the test for us and fulfilled every requirement that we are unable to fulfil. We are ‘In Him’. His righteousness is our righteousness. I might live an exceptionally holy life, but that is only as a consequence of His grace upon my life. All the glory and honour goes to him. He is the only one who should be worshipped.
You too became a saint the moment He saved you. You ceased to be a sinner (even though you may still occasionally sin). From that moment you were declared righteous, nothing you now do can make you any more (or less) holy. You have been changed on the inside – even if this hasn’t yet been fully seen on the outside.
Neil Anderson sums it up nicely in his book ‘God’s power at work in you’:
“Paul does not say that we are saints by hard work. He clearly declares that we are saints by calling. Because of the unholy conduct of many believers, the word ‘saint’ has often been reserved for those who exhibit superior character and behaviour. The bible, on the other hand, identifies all believers as saints (see Romans 1:7, 2 Corinthians 1:1 and Philippians 1:1). In the King James version, believers are called saints, holy ones or righteous ones more than 200 times. In contrast, unbelievers are called sinners more than 300 times. Clearly the term ‘saint’ is used in Scripture to refer to the believer and the term ‘sinner’ is used in reference to the unbeliever. Although the New Testament gives us plenty of evidence that the believer sins, it never clearly identifies the believer as a sinner.”
How we see ourselves is so important – it changes our whole outlook on life. We need to believe the truth and get it inside ourselves. I listened to a sermon the other day by the author and pastor Phil Moore; he said that his whole outlook was changed when he resolved to spend more time reading the bible than watching television or reading newspapers and magazines. If you want your outlook to change, that’s not a bad idea.