"To all the saints in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 1:1).
Every Christian is a saint.
Many people think of saints as men and women who are especially holy or who have been canonized by an official church body. Usually only those who have been long dead and have extraordinary religious accomplishments to their credit qualify.
God, however, has a different perspective on sainthood. Paul called the Corinthian believers saints (1 Cor. 1:2) then went on for many chapters correcting their sinful practices. He called the Roman, Ephesian, and Colossian believers saints but they weren't perfect either.
What then qualifies someone as a saint? The answer is in Philippians 1:1: "To the saints in Christ Jesus" (emphasis added). That's the criterion. Sainthood is not reserved for the spiritually elite. It belongs to every believer because every believer is in Christ Jesus.
If you love Christ you also are a saint. That might come as a surprise to those who know you best, but it's true nonetheless!
The hallmark of sainthood is holiness. In fact, the Greek word translated "saints" in Philippians 1:1 (hagios) literally means "holy ones." It is used throughout the New Testament to speak of anyone or anything that represents God's holiness: Christ as the Holy One of God, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Father, holy Scriptures, holy angels, holy brethren, and so on.
To God, you are holy and beloved in Christ (Col. 3:12). You have received a saintly calling (1 Cor. 1:2) and a saintly inheritance (Col. 1:12). You have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14), and every other spiritual blessing (Eph. 1:3).
With that privilege comes the responsibility of living a holy life. That's why Scripture admonishes you to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice (Rom. 12:1) and to live in a manner worthy of your saintly status (Eph. 5:3).
The power for godly living is the Holy Spirit, who indwells you. As you yield to Him through prayer and obedience to God's Word, the characteristics of a true saint become increasingly evident in your life. Make that your commitment today.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for choosing you as one of His holy ones.
- Pray that your life will be a consistent testimony to the reality of true sainthood.
For Further Study
What are the privileges and responsibilities of saints as outlined in Psalm 34?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.