Called As Saints

Text: Romans 1:7

One of the terms used in the NT to describe the people of God is saints. It is important that we understand this term and why it was used.

Divine Calling

  • This term was not given to these Christians by men, but God
  • Two ways to look at the idea of being called – an invitation and being named
  • We are invited to be saints – called through the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14); being saints involves “the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5); this is something we choose to do
  • We are named as saints – just as we are called Christians (Acts 11:26); it is a privilege to wear this name; since we are called saints, we should act like saints

Refers to All Christians

  • Many in the religious world think of saints as a special class of dead Christians – this is not the way the term is used in the Bible
  • The saints in Rome to whom Paul wrote included “all who are beloved of God in Rome” (Romans 1:7)
  • Other NT passages make it clear that all Christians are saints (Acts 9:13, 32; Romans 12:13; 15:25-26; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Ephesians 4:12)

What is a Saint?

  • Greek word (hagios) means holy one – to be holy means to be set apart; consecrated for a purpose
  • For what purpose have we been set apart? … to do what has been revealed in the word of God (Acts 20:27); sanctification/purity (1 Thessalonians 4:7); godliness (1 Timothy 4:7); to follow the example of Christ (1 Peter 2:21)

Contrast with Sinners

  • Think about what we have already discussed – God called us to be saints (all of us; we have been set apart); we have a purpose (obedience, purity, godliness, Christlikeness)
  • Yet too often, Christians refer to themselves more as sinners than saints
  • Christ came to call “sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32) – repentance implies a change
  • In contrast with our purpose as saints, sinners are disobedient, impure, ungodly, and unlike Christ – if we are sinners, we need to repent
  • Do not live like the world, be separate from the world (Romans 12:2)

Holiness is for All Christians of All Time

  • Just because Christians in the first century lived in the age of miraculous spiritual gifts, that did not give them a distinct advantage over us in terms of living holy lives
  • The Christians in Rome were saints (Romans 1:7) – but they had not yet received any miraculous gifts (Romans 1:11); they had simply obeyed the gospel and become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6:17-18)

Conclusion

  • Just like the Christians at Rome, we have been called as saints
  • If you are not a Christian, answer that call – obey the gospel and become a saint
  • If you are a Christian, live up to that call – let your life be filled with holiness, not worldliness

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