During today's children's story I argued that the title 'saint' doesn't simply apply to the virtuous or those through whom God has done great things. I claimed that the title 'saint' applies to all those who are trying to follow Jesus.
First Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. (see "What are Christian Saints According to the Bible?")
Given this connection with Jesus it is expected that we will grow into his likeness and resemble him more and more. At the same time, however, our sin-inclined nature remains part of us. If you spent an entire week with me you would be able to identify this sinful nature in me. I get angry at my kids. I curse when I get frustrated. I'm too easily discouraged and fall victim to despair.
So how it is that I, or any of us are to understand ourselves as saints. Martin Luther argued that it really depends on perspective. From our perspective (or maybe our friends and spouses) we have numerous shortcomings. But because of that great exchange where God offers us Christ's righteousness for our sinfulness, we are simlutaneously recognised as saints.
By God's grace we own this title from the very beginning of our journey with Jesus, even as God continues to transform us into the likeness of Christ.
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