Summary: Based on Martin Luther's teaching 'simul iustus et peccator' how every sinner, that is every human being, can become a saint, now and forever.
Romans 5: 1-11
Simul Iustus et Peccator
In the Christian Church calendar, which many churches use,
there are Seasons such as Advent, and special days such as Christmas Day.
One of the special days that has been observed for well over 1,000 years is ‘All Saints’ Day’, which is celebrated every 1st November.
This is not just a day for Catholics to remember and thank God
for those who have been canonized by a pope
because of their witness and good works,
but a time for all Christians to remember and thank God
for making ALL believers saints through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Jesus prayed that all his people ‘would be one’ in John 17 verse 21,
and ecumenism or Christian unity is a grand aim;
a united witness against the attacks of the world,
Secularism and Islam would be a wonderful thing,
but there can never be union between Catholics and Protestants
so long as Catholics believe and teach that only the ‘very good’ become saints,
because the Bible clearly states, and as Bible-believing Christians
we believe, and confess,
that no one can ever become good enough to merit salvation,
or earn a place in heaven when they die.
As it says in Isaiah chap 64 verse 6, ‘all our righteousness is as filthy rags’
so, nothing personal, but when I look at you, I see a gathering of ‘sinners’,
not that you are bad or wicked in the world’s sense,
but sinners in that none of us comes anywhere near God’s standards
of morality, thought and behaviour,
because we have all failed to love God with all of our heart,
all of our mind and all of our strength
and we have all failed to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves.
And as Jesus said in Matthew 15:19
it is not just a matter of not physically murdering someone
or not physically committing adultery or not physically stealing
or not actually telling lies,
we sin when we even let such thoughts pass through our minds,
because all such thoughts and actions come out of the human heart,
which as the prophet Jeremiah said in chap 17 v. 9,
hundreds of years before Jesus was born, was full of deceit.
As I used to say to the young people at Marr College:
can anyone here honestly say that they have never been greedy, never lied,
never boasted, never said a bad thing, never done a bad thing, never even thought a bad thought?
No one ever seriously said ‘Yes’.
This is the human condition; we are all members of a fallen race,
we are all what the Bible calls ‘sinners’,
and all of us need God’s forgiveness, obviously some more than others.
However, before anyone makes a bolt for the door,
Jesus said just as doctors are sent to heal the sick,
so God sent Him into this sinful world to save the sinful.
The Good News is that by faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ;
by trusting in the grace of the Father, and the sacrifice of the Son,
we come under the protection of the Holy Spirit,
and become ‘saints’, here and now, as well as in the hereafter.
This is why when Paul sat down to write his Letter of Epistle to the Romans,
he started it with the words
‘To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints’.
Read chapter 1 verse 7 to check it out.
And when Paul wrote his Letter or Epistle to the Ephesians
even though he was writing to sinners,
because every man and woman in the world is a sinner,
note the opening words:
he addresses them as saints, as he also does the Christians in Rome, Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonia,
although some translations of the Bible use the words ‘God’s people’,
mainly because they do not want to upset Catholic sensitivities.
I cannot stress enough the importance of looking at the original texts,
written in Greek, because every translation in English or any other language
is the work of men, all of whom have their prejudices or preferences,
and if we look at Ephesians 1
we find Paul used the word ‘hagioi’, which is translated as ‘holy’.
According to the Greek scholar W.E. Vine ‘in the plural, as used of believers,
the word ‘hagioi’ designates ALL such
and is not applied merely to persons of EXCEPTIONAL holiness,
or to those who, having died,
were characterized by exceptional acts of saintliness.’
This means that just as it is theologically accurate to say everyone here is a sinner, and no one here or anywhere else is good enough to deserve a place in heaven;
so it is also theologically accurate to say everyone here is a saint
if they trust in the merits of Jesus Christ for their salvation,