Just what is a Saint? What constitutes and determines who gains sainthood? This article will shed light on this vastly misunderstood subject.
Philippians 4:21,22. “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, ..” That’s the way the Apostle Paul expressed it. Let’s ask a few questions:
To whom was the salutation addressed?
Why did Paul call these people saints?
How do you become a saint?
Would it make you a little uncomfortable to be called a saint?
Why? Is it because of our traditional concept or belief of what a saint is or should be?
Do we sometimes try to justify our misdeeds or shortcomings by making statements like, “ I’m no saint, but I try to do the right thing.”?; or, “he thinks he’s a saint, but he’s no more perfect than I am.”
If we are to answer these questions truthfully, it is evident that Paul was speaking to lay members, as well as the ministry of the Church.
Well, what about it? Are we to act like saints or not? In fact, ARE WE SAINTS? What does it entail and what does God say about, “WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SAINT.”?
There is a widespread concept of how a person achieves “sainthood” or what qualifies one to be designated as a saint.
Just this past week, there was an article published in the Knoxville News Sentinel (2008-11-08), by Frances D’Emilio of the Associated Press, concerning the Roman Catholic Church’s idea on sainthood: It was captioned: “Pope says Pius XII was great historical figure” Here are excerpts:
“...(Pope Benedict XVI) implied that excessive attention had been paid to what the wartime pontiff did or did not do to save Jews from the Holocaust.” “The allegations by some historians and Jewish groups have sharpened as church officials consider whether to continue the process leading to possible sainthood for Pius, whose 1939-1958 papacy spanned World War II. The Vatican maintains that Pius used quiet diplomacy to save thousands from the Holocaust.”
“The Pope called his predecessor’s church teachings a “precious legacy”. He has said he hoped the process toward possible sainthood could move ahead.” “The Vatican has said Benedict wants to reflect on Pius' papacy before ruling whether his predecessor’s virtues merit possible beatification..”
JUST WHERE IN THE BIBLE DO YOU FIND WHERE the “POPE” HAS THE AUTHORITY TO RULE WHETHER SOME ONE MERITS SAINTHOOD? (a title referring to him as “papa” or “father” - a blasphemous claim: Matthew 23:9 “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Of course this means in a spiritual or worshipful manner. We all have physical fathers, whom we are to honor.
I have read articles from major news magazines where they recognize this “authority”.
From U.S. News and World Report, 1999-11-01: “Saint Makers”: “The Roman Catholic Church, recognizes just who is a saint. All they need are two miracles (posthumous), connections to Rome ---and plenty of cash.” Also, they had a follow-up article entitled, “Worship of saints evolved over the ages.” From the Encyclopedia Britannica article, “Canonization”: “In the early church, there was no formal canonization.” “Gradually, the canonization of saints came to be included in the centralizing movement which reserved to the Pope the most important acts of ecclesiastical power” Finally it states: “The supreme judge in the matter is the Pope himself.” “Beatification” and “canonization” are similar, yet different in aspects. But basically, it is the belief saints who died, are now with Christ in heaven, can be prayed to and receive intervention from them.”
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES?
Ecclesiastes 9:5 “For the living know that they shall die: But the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. 6. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.”
John 3:13 “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”
Yes, Satan has been successful in deceiving the whole world: (Revelation 12:9)!
BUT WHAT DOES GOD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THESE FALSE IDEAS?
Who are we going to believe, --- Jesus Christ or some deceived person in the Catholic Church? (And other churches, claiming to be representatives of Jesus Christ.)
Matthew 24:4 “ And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ (preaching Christ); and shall deceive many. 11. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
JUST WHAT IS A REAL SAINT, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE?
1. First of all, God must call you to become a saint or a Christian. John 6:44 “ No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draws him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Ver. 65)
Romans 1:6 “Among whom ye are also the called of Jesus Christ. 7. To all that is in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God the father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the Church of God ( notice the Name of the one true Church, not the “Universal” nor “Catholic”), which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. 26. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty , not many noble, are called.”
II Corinthians 1;1 is addressed to: “---all the saints which are in Achaia.”
II Corinthians 13:13 “All the Saints salute you.” (All these saints were alive!)
Ephesians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. 15. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
This is just a small sampling of the fact that saints are those who are called of God to be Christians. The Apostle Paul refers to true Christians as Saints throughout nearly all his Epistles.
(Other writers of the Bible have as well:) Jude 3; Revelation 11:18; 13:7,10; 14:12, for instance.
The Scriptures we have referred to so far, (in the New Testament) and in the first area of Sainthood, are all from the Greek word: “Hagios”, which means, “set apart, separate or holy”, (from “Young’s Concordance”). Another word, closely associated with this Greek terminology is, “sanctified” and also from “Hagios”. We hear this word in Christian dialogue and whether the user is aware of it or not, it is a reference to being a Saint.” So you are “set apart” to be a Christian or to be a saint. It does not require some “Pope” to “declare to be” or “canonize” a person as a Saint!
ALL SERVANTS OF GOD and TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE SAINTS!
2. Secondly, there are many advantages to being a Saint.
Early on in the Bible, we find the word “Saint”. Notice this beautiful example of Hanna, a barren Israelite woman, who prayed such a beautiful prayer to the LORD for a son, that she was given the honor of being the mother of Samuel the Prophet! We’ll read a few excerpts:
I Samuel 1:1-4 “ And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peinnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions: But unto Hanna he gave a worthy portion (double); for he loved Hanna: but the LORD had shut up her womb. 15. --I have poured out my soul before the LORD. 27. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I had asked of Him. 28. Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. ---”
Notice in this beautiful prayer, how she extols the LORD, (who later became Jesus Christ) and told of the many benefits of those who have the great privilege of being one of His Saints.
II Samuel 2:2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any Rock like our God. 9. He will keep the feet of His Saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness. 10. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; --; and He shall give strength unto His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed,”
Even in Moses writings, when he was giving the blessing of the twelve tribes, he wrote of the LORD’s Saints: Deuteronomy 33:2 “And he said, the LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shineth forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints --.3. Yea, He loved the people; all His saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.”
There are many, many promises given to God’s chosen saints:
II Chronicles 6:41; Psalms 37:38; 85:8; 97:10 are several other places!
3. Thirdly, The greatest blessing lies just ahead for God’s true Saints! We will have:
THE GREAT HONOR OF BEGINNING TO STRAIGHTEN OUT THIS ROTTEN AND CORRUPT WORLD!
Psalms 50:3 “ Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. 4. He shall call from the heavens above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. 5. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” (being a living sacrifice).
Psalms 149:5 “Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. 6. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand; 7. To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; 8. To bind their kings with chains, and their noble with fetters of iron; 9. to execute upon them the judgment written: THIS HONOR HAVE ALL HIS SAINTS. Praise ye the LORD.”
Let’s conclude with the following thoughts:
Satan’s time is almost up! His kingdoms are going to be totally destroyed and replaced by the wonderful Kingdom of God and His glorified Saints! Daniel 7:27 “---The kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH,----”
Christ’s true Saints will join Him at His return to this earth: I Thessalonians 3:13 “ To the end He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His Saints.”
Zechariah 14:5 “---: And the LORD my God shall come, and all the Saints with thee. 9. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and His Name one.”
There are many Scriptures that describe the rewards of God’s chosen saints. The saints of God are not some dead persons who have been “canonized” by some Catholic Pope or some other religious group! But we now know what it really means to be a true SAINT OF GOD!