Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. (Philippians 1:1)
I Am A Saint
If a lie is told long enough it can be accepted as truth. Sometimes stories become urban legends that were never based on fact yet accepted by many as being true. There are many long held beliefs that if investigated for clarity are found to be false. Religion is not immune to spiritual ‘urban legends’ of beliefs held by people throughout history. Myriad are teachings accepted as Biblical when in fact nothing is farther from the truth.
The world holds a convicted belief that in order for one to be a saint there is a long series of requirements. This is based on a process that has developed over centuries of time with long held traditions outlining the manner one is recognized as a saint. It is required that certain evidence be submitted to church officials the individual considered lived a righteous life, exemplified great faith and there are at least two miracles related to this person’s life. This doctrine is rooted in the Roman Catholic dogmas which have permeated into the belief by most people of what makes up a saint. To the surprise and sometimes anger of religious people this teaching of sainthood is far from what the Bible teaches. And here is the need for absolute clarity: if one will only read the Bible and the Bible alone they will find none of the Catholic doctrines of sainthood.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments the reference to the people of God as “saints” is found almost one hundred times. A saint is someone who has been set apart by God – not the Pope. Man can become a saint but man cannot make a saint. When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi he was not writing to a special group of folk who were part of the Roman Catholic Church. These were ordinary people who lived ordinary lives under the extraordinary grace of the Lord. They were saints for one reason: they were the children of God. Every Christian is a saint because every Christian is a child of God. Being a saint does not suggest perfection no more than being a Christian implies perfection. Regardless of what the Pope declares, what Catholics believe or what the world accepts as tenants of what a saint is the word of God simply describes a saint as a person who is a servant of the Lord. There were saints in the Old Testament and there were saints in the New Testament. Today there are thousands of saints who serve God every day because they are children of the Most High God.
How does one become a saint? Peter answered that question in Acts 2:38-39. He told a crowd of devout Jews to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise was then and continues today. And then a wonderful thing happened. Three thousand saints under the Law of Moses became saints under the grace of Jesus Christ. When does one become a saint? In the waters of baptism. If you have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ in the death, burial and resurrection of obedience you are a saint. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Praise God you are a saint.
The simplest and most necessary truths are always the last believed. (John Ruskin, Modern Painters, 1856)