Generally when we hear the word “saints” we are drawn to think of certain individuals in the Bible, or maybe even people who have been deemed saints by a church organization, but did you know that anybody who is a true Christian, a true follower of Christ is a “saint” in the light of Scripture.
Actually, the term is used in the Old Testament to refer to something that is holy; something or someone which was by nature holy, or had been “admitted to the sphere of the sacred by divine rite;” that divine rite was the offering of sacrifices. Thus, it was separated from, or set apart for something else, often a separation of the holy from the profane. In the religious sense, something “saintly” is something that has been set apart for God, or even God Himself. The basis of separation was that of the objects “holiness.” In other words, something or someone who was impure was not to be in proximity to a holy and righteous God, for example the implements used in the temple if they were unclean. Something which was “holy” was to be consecrated or dedicated to the work of the Lord, like the priests for example, and therefore were to keep themselves pure.
New Testament usage is more precise in using the word saint to identify people as holy, specifically people who have been made holy by the ultimate sacrifice, the shed blood of Christ. What that means is that we have been made holy for a purpose, for the purpose of serving the Lord.
Our predicament is that we live in an unholy world, where we are drawn at times to compromise. Paul reminds us of God’s words in 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, “’I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ Therefore, ‘COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord. ‘AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN.’” The picture is that God wants to dwell with His people, yet in order to enjoy the continued, unrestrained nurturing presence (fellowship) of the Lord we need to maintain a holy lifestyle.
Yet, how do we do that in a world in which we are to be engaged in the proclamation of the gospel? How are we to be in the world, and yet not of it? How are we to traverse the “taxicab” floor of society and not get our soles (souls) dirty with that sticky goo? The answer is, that God doesn’t say “don’t go into the world” but rather, “do not be conformed to this world,” (Romans 12:2). That means as we that we are to walk like Teflon through the murky unholiness of our culture.
In the Gospel of John as Jesus is washing the feet of the disciples, “Peter said to Him, ‘Never shall You wash my feet!’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.’ Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.’ Jesus said to him, ‘He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean’” (John 13:8-10). Jesus is affirming that Peter is secure positionally in Christ, but needs to be cleansed, or re-consecrated, rededicated and prepared to go into the world to represent Christ.
This week as we examine ourselves in Christ, we need to ask, “Are we clean?” Have we repented of any of those things which are offensive to God, and are we leading a God-honoring life before our culture? As saints, we have been called to a very sobering task of representing our holy Father in Heaven which is both a privilege and yet, difficult if not impossible to do with the burden of sin upon us. If you are a child of God, you are holy! You are a saint! And you are to be holy as your Father in heaven is holy!
Love God, keep your hearts right, and check the souls of your feet!