It is a surprise to some people that Christians are often called saints in the Bible. The word doesn’t refer to exemplary people of the past who’ve been given sainthood by religious people. Such a notion was popular in the middle ages, a time when entire church buildings were designed to hold reliquaries (ornamental containers with physical remains of a saint inside, such as bits of hair, etc.). In the Scriptures, all Christians are saints.

The word means holy one, or one who has been made holy by God. In the Greek text, saint and holy come from the same word. One is a noun and the other an adverb. The verb form is sanctify. So what is the Bible telling us? Those who obey the gospel are made holy before God. Colossians 12 says that God qualified us to receive the inheritance of the saints. We don’t become saints by heroism or martyrdom; God makes us saints through Jesus Christ.

But there’s another thought here. If God made us holy, we need to realize we have a special calling – to live in a holy way. We’re “called to be saints” (1 Cor.1:2). We don’t willingly toy with sin anymore; we live for the Lord, our new calling. The apostle Paul seemed to roll out the word saint when he wrote to Christians having trouble with immorality. He used it six times in 1 Corinthians, and four times in Colossians.

Do you realize you’re a saint? Put this thought to work in your life this week. Let it work on your personality and way of life. You are unique, but you’re a saint.

– Tim Johnson