Yes, Christians are the saints. My new identity says it: I am a saint (Ephesians 1:1). Having been raised Catholic, this truth was very difficult for me to believe and receive. I truly believed that I was a sinner and that I would be one for the rest of my life. The truth is, before I knew Him I was a sinner. When I came up out of the water of baptism, I became a saint. This is the born again experience. I was spiritually dead in my sin, now I am alive in Christ.
The meaning of being a saint is complicated. Each year I progress in my walk with Christ, I learn more and more about what it means to be a saint. In my blog, I have established the framework for being made completely new. Everything about a believer in Christ changes at the commitment to follow Jesus. But God doesn’t give us a full revelation of everything He is or what Jesus did at one time. I think it would kill us, at least it would me. As I open up my life to God in relationship, He takes me into the deeper meaning of how he feels about His creation called humanity. It leaves me in wonder and awe.
Having a new heart, a new identity, and the love of God brings security. I can’t explain it any other way. Without knowing what God thinks of me and what he created me for, I cannot act like a saint. I have no biblical source for that assertion, but my relationship with God pointed me to the meaning of being made new and gave me a personal security that I have never had before. It can only be through a love relationship with God and knowing who I was created to be that I can be a saint. Psalm 4:3 says I am set apart. Deuteronomy 26:19 says I am consecrated to the Lord. What does this mean? My changed self is set apart from the world, dedicated to the Lord.
Something I have struggled with is the behavior of a saint. What does sainthood look like? We have to go back to the rules to get an answer. Psalm 119 is so amazing. It points out that love for God brings a longing to follow His ways. To build on what was said in Obedience for Rebels, love for God shifts our hearts to follow His ways. I dare say to follow His ways without even thinking about whether or not we are breaking the rules. Following God’s decrees becomes our way of life.
I realized after I posted Obedience for Rebels that I may have left the impression that I believe in a twisted Grace doctrine. I can assure you, I do not believe I get to do whatever I want because I am forgiven. After I became spiritually alive, there were things that were completely taken out of my life; things that were sinful. I never asked God to take them or make me not do them, I just didn’t do them nor did I want to do those things any longer. There are other things that I have had to pray and consider. As I continue to seek God and to carry out His decrees, I am compelled toward change. I don’t believe I live in grievous sin. I don’t sin all the time. On the flip side, I don’t always make the mark. I see the mark and I strive toward it. I live in relationship with God, with my heart turned toward Him.
If you believe you are a sinner and Jesus is your Lord, my encouragement to you today is that you are NOT a sinner; you are a saint! When you miss that mark, repentance says, “I am not going to do that anymore because Your ways give me life.” Mercy says, “You are My child and I love you even though you missed it today.” Grace says, “my mercies are new today and you get to make that mark today.” Dearest Christians, this is how you beat guilt, shame, and condemnation. Your heart is turned toward Him. He is growing you to know and love Him more and more each day. If you miss the mark, you get another chance to make it the next day. We are in constant renewal, being molded and shaped into the heart of Jesus. Beautiful, isn’t it?