Sainthood and Discipleship
January 9, 2023
Here is a believe-it-or-not claim: I am a saint …me …
Does that claim mean that I am a wonderful person and deserve to have a special title as recognition? No. “Hey, you.” suits me just fine.
Have I done some miracle or produced some equally magnificent sign to have earned such a title or recognition? No. Of course not! Anybody who knows me recognizes my many shortcomings, and I have done nothing amounting to much of anything at all. Yet, I am a saint.
What then? How can I make such an outrageous claim?
The problem is that the Bible definition of a saint does not include any deification of any individual. There is no process for grandiose promotions within God’s kingdom. Jesus is Lord and He is Lord alone. God is magnificent and more magnificent than we can possibly imagine. Jesus is wonderful, more wonderful than anyone we will ever meet. He is the one who has done it all for us, and all He ever requests from us is that we turn to Him.
Jesus is the one worthy of all the recognition, every accolade, awesome praise, and every crown, award, and official title. Jesus. He alone. No person gets a special title. No person is above another.
This leads me, now, to another misunderstanding promoted by all of Christianity’s historical and present day Religious Leadership. It doesn’t matter whether Protestant, Catholic, or whatever. They are supposed to be the educated, so knowledgeable and so close to God. We are merely the humble, uneducated peons to be pitied.
Or so I’ve heard.
However, I have heard something else…
So, please allow me to take a stab at correcting this fallacious and worthless posturing by defining the true Biblical concept of who qualifies for the name “saint.”
“…For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:9.
Greek “hagios” is translated to “saint.” In the vernacular the Bible word used simply means someone who is set apart for God’s special purposes. Therefore, every follower of Jesus Christ is a saint. It is every follower often referred to as every disciple of Jesus. You see, Jesus is the rabbi, or teacher, and His followers are the disciples, or students. A person, therefore, becomes a saint when they decide to follow Jesus.
Jesus says, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29.
Now, discipleship is probably the most neglected precept in all of Christianity. And as in every classroom we can choose to learn or choose to figure it out for ourselves, or to be taught by a supposed authority… or we can just daydream…Either way, a person finally chooses, it becomes their life process, their walk.
Yet, I recommend seeking a higher education within the guardianship of Jesus, the actual authority. How? There may be no forms to fill out, no deposit required, but each person has to apply.
Yet, the way denominational Christianity is set up is as an hierarchy, ranking religious leadership into a strict pecking order and as functional go-betweens, protecting us common folk from the imagined impending wrath that will crash onto us daily- or weekly- without their intervention.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a day of wrath down the road, but for now, it’s not an every day chore for God. “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. So, the situation is we dig our own graves, reap what we sow, or whatever adage you prefer that illustrates we are responsible for the mess we make, the consequences of our actions… Don’t blame God.
Further, the Bible says, we don’t need middlemen, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. So, it seems to me, according to the Bible, we don’t need that hierarchy of self-appointed middlemen.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
So, it also seems to me that God has already provided the way to escape wrath with this verse “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” It also seems to follow that puts a pin in it, and we should talk more about this later…
But is also seems to me that later is now: “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2.
One ancient Roman poet used the phrase,”Carpe diem,” or “seize the day.” Not a bad philosophy really. Merriam Webster asks, “What does it really mean to seize the day? : to do the things one wants to do when there is the chance instead of waiting for a later time.” In old Westerns there is a similar expression, “We’re burning daylight.” So the pardner suggests, “Saddle up!”
May I suggest, tomorrow may never come. Now is the time… Saddle up.