Summary: A saint is not determined by what they are, but by where they are. If they are in Christ, that is the bottom line. The degree of holiness varies tremendously, but all who are in Christ are equally saints.
Roger Fredricksen, a well-known pastor in my hometown of
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, wrote a book titled God Loves The
Dandelions. In it he tells of how he and his wife Ruth were at a
small cabin on the lake in Minnesota. They had just finished
reading the book of Philippians with all its powerful statements on
being able to do all things through Christ, and to have the peace of
God which passes understanding. Roger cracked opened his boiled
egg to enjoy his breakfast, and it came out watery and raw. He was
irritated, for he has a built in prejudice against half-boiled eggs. He
could not, for the life of him, understand why Ruth could not watch
the time when it comes to boiling eggs.
He had just thanked God for the food, and so he tried to be
consistent and not gripe. He scooped away the uncooked part, and
tried to make the best of it. But he was peeved, and then he was
angered at himself for being so peeved over a bit of egg. He left the
table in silence, and he went off to write about new life in the
church. It was so hypocritical, for here he was all bent out of shape
over an egg. It was so petty it was pathetic. He got up and went
back to the kitchen where he blurted out, "Ruth, the egg got to me.
I don't understand myself. It's a beautiful glorious day, and I'm
hung up on an egg. Will you forgive me?" Together they had a
good laugh, and they went on to have a good day.
A saint is not a person who never gets disturbed over trifles, but
one who, when disturbed, confesses, and seeks for a Christ honoring
solution to his or her weakness. The Christian does not differ from
the world so much in what life brings to them. They differ in what
they bring to life. The Christian faces the same trials and
temptations, and frustrations as anyone else, but they are to deal
with them with a transformed mind, that looks for a way of escape
from evil, and a way to overcome evil with good. The saint is not a
figure with a halo, as portrayed in stained glass windows, but just an
ordinary human being who recognizes he or she is chosen by God to
be different and how they respond to life's pressures. Not all saints
are equal, of course, and some do a much better job than others.
The Philippians, for example, were superior in many ways to
other Christians in the New Testament. Even the bad Christians are
called saints, for all who trust in Jesus as Savior are saints. That is,
they are separated unto God for His purpose. Anything, or anyone,
who is separated unto God's service is called holy. Pots and pans in
the temple were holy because they were separated unto the service of
God. People are holy, not just when they are morally pure, and
without sin, but when they are called to be servants of God. The
saints are servants, and all servants of God are saints. It is not a
state of perfection that makes a saint. It is a position. If a person is
in Christ, that is, they are a part of the body of Christ, they are, by
their very position, automatically saints. They are people separated
from the world to be servants in the kingdom of God.
If you are born in the U.S. you are an American. If you are born in
Mexico, you are a Mexican. If you are born again, you are a saint.
There are only saints in Christ, and all the world is divided into
those who are saints and those who are not. Christians will often say
they are not saints, and they mean by this that they are far from
perfect, but the fact is, if you are in Christ, you are a saint. You
might be a weak saint, or fallen saint, or a baby saint, but you are a
saint. If you are not a saint, you are not a Christian, for all
Christians are saints. A saint is not determined by what they are,
but by where they are. If they are in Christ, that is the bottom line.
The degree of holiness varies tremendously, but all who are in
Christ are equally saints. They may not be equally saintly, but they
are all saints. There is no term for half-saints, or quarter saints, or
any other percentage. A saint is a saint, just as an American is an
American. An American can be one who loves his country, or one
indifferent to his country, and even one who is hostile to his country,