“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:1-2).
Are you a saint? “Not me,” you might say. “I’m not really a bad guy, but I’m no saint!”
Unfortunately many, if not most, in the world do not have a correct understanding concerning saints. If you go to Webster’s dictionary you would get the following answer – “one officially recognized, especially through canonization as preeminent for holiness, an angel or one of the spirits of the departed in heaven.” WRONG ANSWER!
I know that’s the common thinking among men. But is that what Paul had in mind when he wrote concerning saints? Notice that Paul address his letter to the saints at Ephesus, people who were very much alive at the time he wrote! The word saint means “set apart for God, to be exclusively his.” We might define it very simply as “separated.”
Saints are separated from their past sins. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Your past does not define who you are today!
Saints are separated from the passion of sin. “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;” (Ephesians 4:21-23). Those things of the world which were once were attractive to us no longer capture our attention.
Saints are separated from the practice of sin. “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Romans 5:20-6:2). For a saint, sin is no longer a habitual practice. Sin is no longer a part of our character.
Saints are separated from the penalty of sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Because of God’s grace saints have the gift of eternal life.
Where can you find saints today? You won’t find them buried under the floors of great cathedrals. You won’t find them in history books. Where do you go to find saints today? Paul wrote that the saints are in Christ! To be in Christ is to be in his body, the church.
How does a person become a saint today? By being set apart! When a person is baptized he is set apart from his past sins. He is set apart from the penalty of sin. As he continues to mature as a Christian he is set apart from the passion and practice of sin.