Summary: Expanding the acronym "S.A.I.N.T" at a time the Sainthood of Mother Teresa (her recent posthumous canonization) is the talk of the "Christian" town!!!
First and foremost, Mother Teresa’s works of charity in the mold of Tabitha of yore (Acts 9:36) are at once inspirational, to say the least. Indian media in the last week (at the time of this writing) predictably went agog over the canonization of that admirable Nun from India. Her canonization marked the culmination of a process - sometimes called "the saint-making machine" - that is long, complex, expensive, opaque and often contentious. The Catholic Church posthumously confers sainthood on people considered so holy during their lives that they are now believed to be with God and can intercede with him to perform miracles (one wonders what then the God-ordained mediator…the one and only Christ… would be left to do - 1 Tim 2:5-…sic). Such is the status of the universally acclaimed nun known for her charitable work in the slums of Kolkata, that Pope Francis on Sunday declared her a saint in front of an estimated 120,000 pilgrims at Vatican. Not to be left behind, there were some Indian political leaders too at the Vatican. Not to be left behind, there were some Indian political leaders too at the Vatican, to witness the “grand event” to bask in reflected glory as is their wont? Well, I do not intend to comment more on that (sic).
All this brings us to the topic as to who is a “Saint” as per the truthful Scripture which alone contains the Almighty’s counsel on many spiritual matters including “Sainthood”. “Sola Scriptura” was the guiding motto of that great Reformer Martin Luther meaning to understand God’s counsel in any spiritual matter we need to bank only on the infallible Scripture rather than on the analysis of any fallible human mind outside of it.
Let the Scripture take over at this stage…
Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's- 1 Cor 1:2 (KJV)
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:- Phillippians 1:1
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse:- Col 1:2
These Scripture portions, if anything blare out the truth that everyone in Christ (read every born-again Christian) is a Saint in the eyes of the omniscient God, though he/she who came “warts and all” to the great Sculptor at the point of regeneration would doubtless be still struggling (who doesn’t???) with the “old nature” (Rom 7:15-20) whilst being conformed unto the perfect image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18). The Corinthian believers had several rough edges in their spiritual personality which needed to be polished. Ditto with the believers’ at Philippi and Colossae but that did not bar the Inspired Writer from addressing them as “Saints”.
In this message, Yours truly endeavors to take a much closer look on what constitutes a Saint in the Christian realm, by hmmmm…using an acronym…what else… “S.A.I.N.T”!!!
And (he) brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:30-31
It is at point of regeneration that a Christian’s life begins. Without the re-birth experience (John 3:3) all the good deeds performed with the noblest of intention would not take us to Heaven or for that matter bring Heaven into our hearts (Rom 14:17), for we are all intrinsically wicked, having inherited the fallen nature from our First parents (Adam and Eve). By fallen nature, I mean the nature where the wicked traits simply dominate the good ones so much so that the good ones are as good as dead in the eyes of the Holy God. Yes, we are all born wild (thanks NDTV)!!! As such the good deeds done with hearts and hands which are not yet washed clean by the Blood of Jesus are bound to appear as “Dirty rags” (Isa 64:6) in the pure, all-searching eyes of the Holy God. By contrast, none of the good works performed by a person following his regeneration would ever be in vain (1 Cor 15:58).
At re-birth (this needs to be experienced to be understood properly), one who is now given a new heart, is inclined to please the Person who has performed this ethereal heart transplantation in him wholeheartedly (Col 2:11-13).
Dr. Christiaan Barnard, Louis Washkansky, Denise Darvall….do not blame yourselves in case these names do not ring a bell with you. Well, Dr Barnard was the Cardiac surgeon who performed the first heart transplantation surgery in medical history on 3rd December 1967, at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa replacing the ailing heart of Louis Washansky with the healthy one of 25 year old Darvall who had succumbed to her injuries in an automobile accident.