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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Saints, Sinners, and Christians

saint_sin_AA friend of mine recently pointed out that we should be careful using the word “Saint” when speaking of a Christian. I think he is right. The world has adopted a carelessly generalized Catholic definition of Saints and expects that if someone is called a “Saint”, the person must be perfect and sinless. Have you ever met a perfectly sinless Christian? The Bible teaches us that saints are simply believers in Christ.

Who is a Christian? Are there differences between Saints and Christians? No – not according to the Bible. (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 2 Corinthians 1:1) The problem emerges when we talk about Saints and Sinners. We know that Sinners reject the God of the Bible and that Sinners sin. Saints (Christians), however, may believe in the God of the Bible, acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, and still sin in thought or deed sometimes. This is probably very perplexing to the Sinner who witnesses the Saint sinning. “What is the difference between us?” he may ask. “What is a Christian (Saint) supposed to be?”

Are you a Christian? What is it that makes you a Christian? Being a Christian doesn’t require great intelligence; although some of the Christians I know are some of the most intelligent people I know. In my youth, I thought that becoming a Christian was like joining a club. You decide to join the club and abide by club rules. Later in my life, I discovered this was not the case. I learned the club was an all-encompassing spiritual kingdom that I could not see except for the Spirit of God.

Do you believe in the supernatural? You must be supernaturally changed if you wish to be a Christian. According to Jesus Christ, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) The Christian’s life has quite literally been invaded by a new life in Christ. As Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

A Saint (Christian) is someone who has been indwelled by the Holy Spirit to guide him in the process of sanctification. The Christian and the Holy Spirit pursue holiness, working together, to become more like Christ. This is a process that is worked out in the remaining years of our lives. Sometimes we will fail and sin. A Christian, however, will not delight in his sin as the world does. He will feel remorse and repent of his sin before God.

Is Jesus Christ the very center of your life and your greatest treasure? Were you once a slave to sin and are now an adopted son or daughter of the living God? The Bible teaches us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23 ESV) There are none who are righteous – none at all. (Romans 3:10 ESV) Yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6 ESV)

Even though the wages of sin is death, God freely gave us eternal life through Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:23 ESV) Our old sin natures were crucified with Christ in order that we would no longer be slaves to sin. (Romans 6:6 ESV) Christians have been set free from the law of sin and death through Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:2 ESV) Yet, evil is always near and seeks to wage war with the temptation to sin even against the Saints (Christians). John reminds us, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9 ESV) Thank God that because of His mercy and great love for us – even while we were dead in sin – we have been made alive together with Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:4-8 ESV)

Samuel at Gilgal

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