Romans 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
We get such strange ideas when we hear the word, saints. We imagine someone walking around with a perpetual halo over their head, or maybe not even a person, but a statue! The Catholic Church, with its complicated and rather rigid procedures for granting sainthood status, has contributed a great deal to that. However, a quick search of all the uses of “saint” in the New Testament, and for that matter, even the Old, will show you that anyone who is in Christ is a saint; they are holy. In other words, we are saints! Too often we fail to act like it, but that doesn’t change our fundamental nature. Actually, understanding that can make us much stronger against temptation, because we can see that yielding to temptation has become unnatural to us, instead of being natural. The devil tries to convince us that we are no more than animals, so yielding to fleshly desires is how we are and what we should be, but as usual, he is a liar. We are children of God, inhabiting physical bodies and prone to weakness, yet loved by God and capable of being filled and used by His Spirit. In that capacity, the grace and peace Paul mentions here are available in unlimited measure. We tend to act in accordance with our self image, so seeing ourselves as saints puts us ahead of the game when it comes to spiritual warfare. That’s not at all to say that we are to be proud, much less conceited, because we have this status only by the grace of God, but recognizing our own weakness should not blind us to the power of God, and He has called us to be saints.
This certainly applies to me. There are moments when I am sharply aware of my own weaknesses, and there are also moments when I am aware that I am being used and carried along by the Spirit of God. Like everyone else, I am in the “now but not yet” mode, eagerly looking forward to the day when I will stand before the Throne with everything unworthy stripped away. The point is to keep the eyes of my heart fixed on Jesus to that I may step free of the sin that is so quick to entangle. (Hebrews 12:1-2) I too need to live like what God says I am, instead of what the devil says I am. On the one hand I am indeed “Only a sinner, saved by grace,” as the hymn says, but on the other hand I am a saint of God. As a pastor, I need not only to remember that I myself am a saint, I need to help other believers understand that they too are saints. If I will do that, we will rise up, a holy army, to crush the works of the devil and proclaim the kingdom of God. (1 John 3:8)
Father, thank You for this powerful Word. You have been saying some exciting things to me recently. Help me not try to make anything happen in my own strength, but rather cooperate fully with You in full, joyful submission. May Your name be acknowledged as holy and Your kingdom come as Your will is done, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!