Philippians 1:1 – To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi
If you had to pick one word to describe how God sees you, which word would you pick?
Most people, I would presume, would say that God sees them as a “sinner”. God sees you as a “saint”. This might be shocking and is likely not something you would feel comfortable adding to your social media profile, but it is true.
As a saint, we Christians are declared holy and righteous in the sight of God because of Jesus Christ. If you were raised Catholic, as this altar boy and Catholic school attendee was, you have likely heard a lot about the saints that is not exactly what the Bible says. The first Catholic saints were Christian martyrs who were honored for their devotion to Christ. But, over time, a ten-step process was developed:
- Be a Catholic
- A local devotion grows up around your memory
- Your life is investigated
- Your local bishop sends your case to the Vatican
- Pray for a miracle
- The Vatican investigates the miraculous cure
- The Vatican declares you “Blessed”
- Pray for another miracle
- You’re a saint!
Once declared a saint, you can then be venerated. Consequently, holidays can occur in your honor, and you can become the patron saint of schools and churches.
The Bible, however, paints a very different picture. The opening lines of Philippians reveals that every Christian is a saint, “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi”. How does one become a saint? There is a one step process, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The one step to sainthood is receiving grace from God through Jesus Christ that brings the peace of God and peace with God. As a saint, here are some things to remember about your sin:
- Sin may describe some of your activity but does not define your entire identity in Christ.
- You will sin some of the time, but you are a saint all of the time in Christ.
- Sin is some of what you do, but not the totality of who you are in Christ.
- There is a big difference between having sin and being sin.
- Because you have a new identity as saint you can have a new victory over sin in Christ.
- As a sinner, you have a dark past. As a saint you have a bright future.
How can accepting your identity as saint encourage you with hope for your future?