Who Is a Saint? #3

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV).

Behold, the identity that we Christians have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Observe how the Bible does not restrict the word “saint” to Christians who have died.

When the Apostle Paul gave his testimony to King Agrippa in Acts 26:10, notice his words: “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” Was Saul of Tarsus imprisoning deceased saints in heaven? No, these saints were still alive on earth—otherwise, they could not have been put to death!

In Romans 12:13, we read about practical Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace: “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” Where are these “saints?” Do those in heaven have needs that we can fulfill? Nay, but there are plenty of needy “saints” living on earth! Romans 15:25,26,31; 1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8:3; and 2 Corinthians 9:1,12 are other examples of needy “saints” living on earth.

The following verses identify “saints” living on earth, not in heaven: 2 Corinthians 1:1 (Corinth), Ephesians 1:1 (Ephesus), Philippians 1:1 (Philippi), and Colossians 1:2 (Colosse). Romans 16:15 lists “saints” who are not in heaven, but alive on earth: Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.”

Paul instructed the Roman believers in Romans 16:2 to behave like the “saints” they were, living right here on planet earth! In 1 Timothy 5:10, we read about Christian widows who “washed the saints’ feet.” Do people in heaven need their feet washed? Nay, so where are these “saints” whose feet these women are washing? Paul commended Philemon for refreshing the bowels of the saints (Philemon 7). Was Philemon serving Christians in heaven, or Christians on earth like himself?

The Bible does use the word “saint” for deceased believers, but as we can see, “saint” usually applies to Christians living on earth….