Are you a saint?
The term “saint” is used more of children of God than any other name from Acts through Revelation. Saint(s) is used 60 times while disciple(s) is used 26 times and Christian(s), 3 times. Yet it is rarely ever used in our culture because it has developed negative connotations.
Some in the religious world believe that “saints” are a special group of people who are holier than all other Christians. The process involves being thoroughly examined and approved for sainthood. Beatification is where someone has performed a miracle during their life. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, “The Catholic Church canonizes or beatifies only those whose lives have been marked by the exercise of heroic virtue, and only after this has been proved by common repute for sanctity and by conclusive arguments.”
Sainthood is finally reached when someone has performed two posthumous miracles. When the person attains sainthood, Catholics pray to them, because Jesus is not their sole intercessor, or advocate, to carry their prayerful requests to God. Saints carry their prayers to God alongside Jesus.
The problem is that there is not a shred of evidence in Scripture for this doctrine. Instead of Scriptural proof, we are directed to the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, which also fails to have any Scriptural precedent. This is too important to take someone’s word for it.
“Saint” simply means someone who is “holy, sanctified, set apart.” The word “church” means the “called out.” Therefore, we are called out of the world when we become a child of God and are separated, sanctified, and holy. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:2, “to the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (NKJV). Peter writes, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:15,16). Finally, the Hebrews writer said, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10).
The Catholic model says that “saints” are a special subset of Christians. I would propose the following problems with this theory.
First, it would require saints to be dead. Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, and 2 Corinthians are specifically written to saints. Why would Paul write letters to dead people? Since they are only written to saints, were the other Christians responsible for their contents?
Second, why were Ananias and the other Christians so afraid of Paul (Saul) after his conversion? Ananias said, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem” (Acts 9:13). Apparently, by the Catholic model, Paul (Saul) had no intention of sending average Christians to their death but only saints who were dead in heaven. Therefore, the early church had nothing to fear of Paul, and Peter and the apostles should have just pointed this out.
We do not become a saint by canonization but by being baptized for the remission of our sins. In Ephesians 1:1, we find that “saints” are those who are “in Christ.” The only way Scripture ever says we can get “into Christ” is through baptism (Romans 6:3,4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27). Grace allows us to come to Christ and will save us in the end, but our sins are washed away in baptism.
Saint is a glorious word that we must reposition in its proper place. Saints are set part from the world, not other Christians (John 17:14-17). Saints are blessed in innumerable, distinct ways that loudly proclaim the passionate love of God (Isaiah 40:27-31; John 14:1-6).
Are you a saint?