Have you ever considered the fact that every believer is a saint? In fact, Paul addressed them all as saints in his letters to the churches. This is not just my opinion, but if you look up the word “saint” in any Bible dictionary, you will see that it is a universally accepted term for any believer in most Protestant churches.
Many years ago, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to this word, and began teach me that if every believer is a saint, then every believer is holy, because the word “saint” means “someone who is holy.” In fact, the word that is translated “saint” is the same Greek word as “holy.” Does that make sense to you?
Now what makes a believer holy? If you look at the words of the Apostle Paul, the answer is simple. He wrote:
“Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi . . ” (Philippians 1:1 NKJV )
According to Paul, the saints are those who are “in Christ Jesus.” In other words, if you are in Christ, then you are holy. Simply put, you are holy because He is holy!
Now the word “holy” means, “set apart.” If we are to understand what it means to be holy, then we need to know what we are set apart from. The Holy Spirit showed me that we have been set apart from the world. When you were saved, He set you apart from the world and placed you in Christ. Since you are now in Christ, you are now holy.
Now you can understand what it means when people say, “We are in the world, but we are not of the world.” Jesus made this clear when He said:
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16 NKJV)
The conclusion is simple: If Christ is not of the world, then those who are in Christ are also not of this world.
When you were saved, the Holy Spirit set you apart from the world and placed you in Christ. This is known as sanctification by the Holy Spirit. You can see this in the words of the Apostle Paul, when he wrote:
“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the (Holy) Spirit and belief in the truth . .” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 NKJV (word in parentheses mine)
The word “sanctify” means “to set apart,” or “to make holy.”. When you were saved, the Holy Spirit set you apart from the world and you became sanctified by the Holy Spirit. And just as you were saved by faith, and justified by faith, you were also sanctified by faith in Christ.
Jesus spoke these words to Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, when he was traveling on the road to Damascus:
“I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18 NKJV)
Just as the Holy Spirit used Martin Luther to proclaim the message of Justification by Faith Alone, so now the Holy Spirit is proclaiming the message of Sanctification by Faith Alone. The message of Martin Luther was that you cannot become righteous by doing works of righteousness, but only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you know that you cannot become righteous by works of righteousness, then why would you believe you can become holy by works of holiness? We are sanctified by faith and faith alone.
In this regard, if you know that you are truly righteous, then you will do works of righteousness as a result. In the same way, if know that you are holy, then you will do works of holiness, because you know who you are in Christ. In other words, you do not become holy by doing works of holiness, you do works of holiness because you are holy!
Finally, look at the words of the Apostle Paul, regarding those who are sanctified, when he wrote to the saints in Corinth:
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes, our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours . . ” (I Corinthians 1:1-2 NKJV)
It is very clear from this passage that the apostle Paul believed in the sainthood of all believers, for he not only included the believers at Corinth, but “all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.” In fact, he declared that they were all sanctified in Christ and called saints, as a result of that.
In conclusion, if you truly understand that every believer who is in Christ is a saint in God’s eyes, then you will not only see yourself as a saint, but this will be the image you have of every other believer you meet.
You are holy, dear saint!
Next week we will look at: “Stop Sinning!”
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]