This past Sunday, Pope Francis announced the canonization of ten new saints in the Roman Catholic Church. In the world of Catholicism, this is no easy feat. First, you’ve got to be dead for at least five years (or get a waiver if you’re Mother Teresa). Second, you’ve got to live a life of incredible holiness and virtue. There needs to be plenty of evidence that you displayed “heroic virtue.” Finally (and this is where it gets hard), there needs to be evidence—verifiable evidence—that at least two miracles occurred because people prayed to you. (You get a pass on that if you were martyred for your faith.)
According to the Roman Catholic Church, only a select few get to be recognized as saints. I disagree. On Sunday, the Roman Catholic Church may have added ten names to their special collection of saints, but how many did God add? Perhaps a young boy in Brazil who heard the gospel and trusted Christ … an elderly adult in the Pacific Northwest who prayed for salvation … a Muslim who saw the truth of the love of Jesus and turned to Him … a whole family in Alabama … and on and on. All across this world this week, the gospel was shared, and people responded. And at the moment they trust, believed, and said “yes” to the lordship of Christ, they became saints!
In the New Testament, “saint” comes from the Greek word for holy, hagios. To be holy means to be set apart, specifically set apart by God and for God. When you give your life to Christ, you are saved from your sin and set apart from the world. You are saved to live in Christ and set apart for His glory. It is sad and unfortunate that the Roman Catholic Church only lifts up certain people as saints, because if you are a child of God, you are one of His saints!
Over and over again in Scripture, believers—all believers—are referred to as saints. Paul regularly addressed the churches to whom he was writing as saints.
- “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will: To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus” (Eph. 1:1).
- “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:21).
- “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters” (Col. 1:1-2).
Being a saint is not something you aspire to; it is something you are in Christ. And if someone wants to argue that to be a saint requires a miracle, just point to the miracle of your salvation. A miracle is something only God can do, and no one could save you but God alone. And He did that in Christ. You are His saint.
All that remains is for you “to walk worthy of the calling you have received” (Phil. 4:1). Live like the saint you are!
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Read more from Lynn Pryor at lynnhpryor.com. This post was used by permission from lynnhpryor.com.