CALL TO OBEDIENCE #440
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"Are You a Saint?"
By Reimar Schultze
Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness (Ps. 30:4). Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:1).
Let me make it simple; you are either a saint or a sinner (1 John 3:8-10). You cannot be both at the same time. There is no such thing as a sanctified sinner or a sinning saint. All saints are born as sinners and all sinners must become saints to go to heaven. But just as sinners can become saints, saints can also become sinners again. King Saul, once possessing prophetic gifts, became a sinner again by sparing King Agag and some of the spoils of war (1 Sam. 15). King David lusted after a woman who was not his; and then had her husband murdered and became a sinner again (2 Sam. 11). Solomon, who prayed the glory down like no one else, became a sinner again when he married a thousand idol-worshiping women (1 Kings 11).
You were a sinner at one time. You may also have been a saint at one time. Please ask yourself these questions: “What am I now? What will I be when I go to bed tonight?”
Is it not wonderful that Jesus came to save sinners? “There is a fountain filled with blood Drawn from Immanuel’s veins; And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains.” When Jesus cleanses a sinner, He cleanses all of him and the sinner becomes a saint: all pure, holy, morally blameless and most precious. Anyone who is pure and holy is a saint and anyone who thus continues to abide in Christ remains in sainthood. These persons are those whom Jesus calls His brothers and sisters: joint heirs in His kingdom. Hallelujah!
Now, I understand that you may be reluctant to call yourself (or others) a saint. That is sad since the word “saint” is used 98 times in the Bible. Somehow over the centuries, the doctrine that we are all sinners and will remain sinners, even after conversion, has crept into the church. All too many pastors have made us feel comfortable with this idea, reassuring us Sunday after Sunday that we will still make it to heaven while continuing to sin. And most anyone who claims to be holy, to be a saint in this day and age (environment) is looked upon with disdain and called dishonest.
The Catholic Church has also muddled our ideas of what a saint is by the process of canonization, in which only dead people can be called “saints,” and only after a lengthy investigation. And medieval art placed halos on a few special people, the apostles and Jesus, as if they looked different from everyone else. Had Jesus had a halo, He would not have been called deranged by His family or demonic by the Pharisees!
Alright, it is time now to get rid of some misconceptions about saints. Saints are neither perfect nor flawless people. They are perfect only in that they have been washed clean by the blood of the Lamb, justified by faith and are entirely committed to the will of God. They have said farewell to the world, its toys and sin. They live lives pleasing to God. Anyone who is like that is a saint no matter what their shortcomings may be otherwise.
So please do not put something on a saint that is not biblical nor realistic. There are immature saints and there are mature saints. On the day a person is born of God and begins to follow Jesus, he is as much of a saint as the one who has been following his Master for generations. Peter was not all that knowledgeable when he began his journey with Jesus. In fact, at first he even lived in doctrinal error, preaching that salvation was only for the Jews. Yes, you read me right: he was full of the Holy Spirit and wrong in some of his doctrinal positions, but yet he was a saint. Saints are not always right, but they live right to the best of their ability. Some are clumsy and some are refined, some have good table manners and some have offensive table manners. But they both are saints just the same. Refinement is just like maturity and only comes with time.
Now let us get back to the halo: although saints do not have a halo on their heads, there is one about their lives. Jesus said by their fruits you shall know them. This manifests itself by the fruits of the Spirit within and by the walk of the saints without, in other words by their lifestyle. How you walk defines who you are. If you walk in obedience to God, there is a spiritual halo about your life. Do not ever separate your talk from your walk. Talkers do not go to heaven, but walkers do (Matt. 7:20-23). You cannot talk yourself into heaven, but you can walk into it just as Enoch did. Many claim the blood of Jesus and have a testimony of conversion, but that is all. They are not walking with God.
Now here are some things that walkers with God have in common. They do not do these things to get saved but they do these things because they have become one with God. These things add structure to their spiritual walk and assist them in bringing forth much fruit and in leaving a godly heritage:
1. Saints witness to others of Jesus; they are not ashamed. Remember, if you are ashamed of Jesus, He will be ashamed of you. He will not stand beside you on Judgment Day (Matt. 10:33).
2. Saints are faithful to attend church; they do not forsake assembling together (Heb. 10:25). Jesus attends wherever two or three gather together in His name.
3. Saints will attend prayer meeting if possible. Jesus said His house should be a house of prayer (Mark 11:17). Peter and John went to the temple at the regular hour of prayer (Acts 3:1); Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17); ...men ought always to pray... (Luke 18:1).
4. Saints will have family devotions and family prayer to review what God has done, to teach the word of God to their children and to train them up in the way they should go.
5. Saints give more than 10% of their income for the work of God’s kingdom (Luke 6:38).
6. Saints will be faithful to their spouses and patiently pray and trust through the difficulties they may face. Husbands will love their wives unconditionally; wives will submit to their husbands in everything as unto the Lord (Eph. 5:22-33).
7. Saints do all things without murmurings and disputings (Phil. 2:14); and Rejoice evermore (1 Thes. 5:16).
8. Saints treat their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16).
9. Saints will not go to Tarshish when God calls them to Nineveh.
10. Saints have put away all bitterness or resentment. They have stopped being judgmental and have crucified the spirit of pride and the spirit of self-seeking to be entirely sanctified.
11. Saints will choose worship over work on Sundays (Ex. 20:8-11).
12. Saints will always seek first His kingdom and believe that all other things will be added unto them (Matt. 6:33).
My friend, this is your halo. Is it holding up under this scrutiny? Has it fallen apart? If so, repent and put it back together. If you do some of this and not all of it, what will your children and acquaintances think of you? What will God think of you? Remember, James put a Christianity of faith without works on a cross by saying: For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also (James 2:26).
Everyone who is obedient is a saint, is holy unto the Lord and keeps God singing (Zeph. 3:17). There is no such thing as a holy disobedient saint. You cannot separate holiness from obedience. In other words, a holy man that is a saint is one who consistently does that which is holy. Sainthood is a product of God and man working together. God provides the cleansing, the grace and the power. And it is the man who can convert that grace and power into actions. If you disobey, you then cease being holy and you are no longer worthy of the name “saint.”
Adam was created ignorant, not holy. But God wanted him to become holy. So God put a tree in the garden by which he would be tested to see if he wanted to be holy. Holiness begins with a choice. There is a “tree” in your life every day to test you to see if you want to continue as a saint. My beloved friend, face the fact: if you have a religion without holiness, you are an embarrassment to the church and a poor representative of what Christ came into the world for.
Paul wrote in his letters: ...to the saints which are at Ephesus...; to the saints at Philippi; to the saints at Colosse; etc. If he would write to us today, would he likewise write: to the saints at…; or to the sinners at...; or perhaps to the saved sinners at…? What do you think?