When the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints in the various churches, who was he writing to? Do you think he was addressing those who had reached a special level of holiness in their lives, or to the general assembly of believers? If you recognize that he was addressing every believer in those churches, then you must also realize that you are included in that company of saints. Yes, you are a fellow citizen with the saints and a member of the family of God. That is who you are!
As I talk with many believers, however, I find that very few are willing to call themselves a saint. You may have even heard someone say, “He was a great guy, but he was no saint.” What the person meant was that he wasn’t perfect. We have the image in our minds that a saint is someone who is holier that than everyone else. In fact, we picture someone who is virtually perfect in everything they say and do. As a result, we often think no one is qualified to be called a saint!
As I grew up in church, I constantly encountered this mindset. Unless you were perfect, you weren’t holy. No one would dare say, “I am holy,” for that would sound like pride. In other words, you would be basically claiming you were perfect. The outcome was that no one felt they were holy. Every sincere believer was striving to be holy, but no one had the confidence to believe they were holy.
When we look at the letters of Paul, we see that he addressed all the believers as though they were holy. He called them saints. The word “saint” means “someone who is holy.” In some versions of the Bible the term “holy ones” is used in place of the word “saints.” Clearly, if you were a saint, you were considered to be holy.
Did the Apostle Paul consider the brethren in these churches as holy? The answer is, Yes! Notice how the Apostle Paul closed his letter to the believers in the church in Thessalonica. He wrote:
“I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to ALL THE HOLY BRETHREN.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27 NKJV, emphasis mine.)
Do you think all the brethren at Thessalonica were perfect? You know the answer is, No. Yet Paul recognized them all as holy brethren. How was this possible? You can find the answer in the following closing remarks of the Apostle Paul to the brethren in Philippi:
“Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, but especially those of Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-22 NKJV)
This is a beautiful passage of Scripture. Here we see that even those in Caesar’s household had joined the company of the saints in Rome. However, notice in particular that what qualified these believers as saints was that they were in Christ. It is because you are in Christ that you are qualified to be called a saint. You are holy because He is holy!
God has called us His saints in Christ, but does that mean we can live any way we want? No, God expects us to live in a manner worthy of this calling. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of your calling with which you were called.” (Ephesians 4:1 NKJV)
God has called you His saint, now you have a responsibility to live like a saint to the best of your ability. As you grow in the Lord, you will find that you will also grow in your level of holiness.
The word “holy” means “to be set apart.” In order to live a holy life we must set ourselves apart from the world. We must not act like the world, speak like the world, or even think like the world. To be frank, holiness starts in your mind and in your heart. What you think in your mind, soon sinks down into your heart, and what you have in your heart will govern and rule your life. This is why you need to have the mind of a saint, if you are going to live a life that is pleasing to God.
This is why the Apostle Paul wrote:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2 NKJV)
The Word of God is the revelation of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God for our lives. By mediating on the Word, you will get a clearer and clearer image of who you are in Christ. As result, you will find yourself living a life that is more and more pleasing to God. I am sure that makes sense to you!
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc]