Links Daily Devotional

All Saints

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours… (1 Corinthians 1:2, ESV)

Part of the reason so much time was given to the passing of Arnold Palmer in recent weeks was obvious: the man was beloved. But it also stemmed from the fact that we regarded him one of the very few who have reached the upper echelon of the game. Beyond tour winners, or even major champions, these players have stood out for their repeated success, enduring excellence, and engaging personalities.

Who can be saints? Is it only special people?Often we have a similar tier of “players” in the Church. These are the men and women we have deemed to be especially spiritual, even holy. And whether our own church’s tradition does this formally or not, we tend to call these people “saints.”

Of course, there is another application of that elevating word. We sometimes give it to a person who makes a habit of kindness, lending a hand or speaking a soothing word just when it is needed. Their heart is right and their actions prove it, and so we may say of such a one, “She is a saint,” with a note of emphasis on the label itself.

So who can be saints, then? Is it only special people? While the Rorys and Lydias and Bernhards and Annikas are certainly exceptional, the rest of us who swing a club and hunt flags get to be called “golfers” too. Is the same true in Christ’s church?

What may surprise you is that those the apostle Paul called saints—or “holy ones,” depending on your translation—were typically among the many we might list as “common Christians.” They were faithfully walking with the Lord, but also consider passages like these:

For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. (Romans 15:26)

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3)

Greet all your leaders and all the saints. (Hebrews 13:24)

We can see that saints are often fiscally poor, and not by choice, for not all the saints are so. We can also observe that all believers are called to purity because this is “proper among saints”—in other words, this isn’t something only the “really godly ones” are attaining. And finally, we can make a note that the leaders and the saints are listed separately, where we would likely consider them one and the same.

However uncomfortable you may be with the term, if you are a follower of Christ, you are a saint. By itself, that’s a big enough idea to chew on for one day. Tomorrow, let’s consider what living life as a saint may look like.

Jeff Hopper
November 1, 2016
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