Who is a saint, and when does one become a saint? There are people who think sainthood is pronounced upon a person after their death, based on how good/holy they lived. According to the Scriptures, saint is another name for Christian. The apostle Paul addressing the Church at Ephesus called them saints; “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 1:1 NIV). These addressees were alive, so one does not need to be dead to be called a saint. Hence those of us who are in the body of Christ Jesus are saints, whether we are in or out of our individual earthly bodies.
Having established that we are saints, we should also establish that unless the Lord draws us we cannot come to Him (see John 6:44), and therefore sainthood is a calling. Paul writing to the church in Rome addressed them this way, “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:1 NIV). The online dictionary defines Call as: 1) Making a request or demand, 2)Speaking in a loud distinct voice so as to be heard at a distance, and one of the definitions for to be: is to become. So CALLED TO BE SAINTS means, God requested/demanded that we become saints. To become something different from what we are requires a transformation from one state of being to another (Example: going from a cocoon to a butterfly). We are transformed from a state of unbelief/ungodliness to belief/faith in Christ, resulting in the newness of life and the renewal of the mind. We are not called to act like saints; we are called to be saints.
Sainthood is not a cloak we put on and take off when we feel like it. We are to be saints around the clock, 24/7. It should be our new nature, our state of being. We are to be saints at home, away from home, when we are awake and when we are asleep. We should be saints at all times; in the company of believers as well as in the company of unbeliever, no matter what. ‘Saint’ should be our identity; the identity by which we are known.
How can we vibrantly maintain our sainthood? Let’s compare sainthood to professions in the circular world. We need to have the mindset that we are saints. We need to learn all we can about being saints, by studying the manual for saints, by attending in-services, seminars, and training sessions about saints. Th is will equip us to get better at being saints. The word says we should not neglect the assembling together of the saints, as some are in the habit of doing, but we should encourage one another (see Hebrews 10:25). It also says we should correctly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Every so often, professionals go through certification and re-certification to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date. We receive our certifications and re-certifications through the trials we go through to confirm that we are applying the lessons we learn on how to maintain our sainthood.
Sainthood is ongoing, and takes perseverance. We should get better at being saints with the passage of time as we keep our gaze on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).