Paul wrote many letters to the groups of believers scattered around Asia Minor, and in many versions of the Bible, he addressed these “holy people” as “saints.” A “saint” in the New Testament sense was a saved sinner. It is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that a sinner becomes a saint.
But what does the word saint mean? The Greek words hagios for “saint” and hagiazo for “sanctify” are related. The vessels in the temple were sanctified—set apart for God and for his service—and so are ordinary people who come in faith to Jesus Christ. All New Testament believers are holy people—saints- regardless of their progress or growth.
Paul addresses his letters to ordinary believers who were called by God to be saints, just as surely as Paul was called by God to be an apostle (Romans 1:1).
Some people protest the word holy or saint, saying they don’t want to be called by such a high and holy title. It means they have to live up to it! Too many Christians want to be saved by the Lord, yet live like the devil. When once we realize that being a true Christian means being “Christianly” true in character, and when we decide to live in obedience to our calling, then God will set us aside for his very special service, just as he did the vessels in his temple.
Whether we like it or not, we are holy people, saints. We bear the responsibility of his name and should live accordingly!
For Further Study: Ephesians 1:1-14
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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