I think of all the things the Bible calls me; saint is the hardest to receive. Wow. My first response is, “I’m no saint.” (I know a lot of Christians who respond this way) But I’ve been rethinking this whole saint idea thanks to Saint Paul.
Usually when we think of saints we conjure up a person of exceptionally devout character. We declare, “now they are saints…they’re holy!” Indeed saints are holy. But what does that mean? The phrase “holy” (hagios) means to be “set apart”. Notice it doesn’t mean “perfect”. Israel was “holy” to the Lord, because He set them apart from other nations by choosing them. God’s selection initiated the holiness process. Israel was picked for a set apart purpose. These “saints” in Ephesians 1.1 certainly were not all together perfect…they were picked. Perhaps that’s the key to accepting this idea that we are a “saints”. We’re picked for a purpose.
Now consider what “sin” means. Augustine defined sin as, “to miss the mark”. He defined it so because God the Designer had definite plans for what His creation should do and not do (creational intention) and when we “miss that mark”…we sin. In other words, we are not in sync with our Maker. Fold in the notion of what God declares, “you shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pe. 1.16) and we may be redefining “sainthood”! Saints aren’t perfect in it of themselves, but rather being perfected out of their ongoing relationship with God.
Consider what some “famous saints” have said about themselves:
“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections.” Saint Francis
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.” (1 Tim. 1:15) Saint Paul the Apostle
These are not the words of faultless saints, but people who understand they are on the way to being perfected by a loving God. Such a life flows from a grace-charged understanding that we are His and together He will help us live a life that “hits the mark”. Live that way and you are indeed a “saint”!