Friday, June 10, 2016

How Do I Become A Saint?

To start, let’s have a little bit of an update. We had our most recent Quest Forums meeting this past Sunday, which makes three so far. That means Stage 2 is still in its infant stages, but there has been some encouraging progress to this point. We’ve had very good conversations, which is proof of concept. And I believe everyone has gotten something out of them. At the very least, I know I have. Also, most of the attendees have expressed an interest in not only returning, but in inviting others to join us. QF needs that. Word of mouth is the best advertising I can have.

The other reason I bring up the meeting, though, is because it gave the subject for this week’s article. We talked about “saints,” who make an interesting topic because of how misunderstood they are. Most people view sainthood as an elite status, something earned by the holiest of people. By lives of blameless conduct and generosity, they gain the special favor of God. With that favor, they have a better chance of having their requests granted, whether they ask for themselves or on behalf of other, more average people.

As I attempted to show during our talk, this cultural perspective on the saints is not, in fact, the biblical one. In Scripture, to be a saint is to be a member of the faith community. In both the Old and New Testaments, the words translated as “saints” mean both “worshippers” and “those set apart.” Rather than being a special title for the select few recognizable for their incredible acts, it is a general descriptive term for the members of God’s family.

Of course, after we established this, it led to the natural follow-up question: How do I become a saint? What do I have to do to gain this quality of belonging to God? It was probably the most important question of the evening, and the most important question for any Christian to be able to answer. It is also the question we will be considering here.

Biblical Sainthood

Remember, a saint is a member of the faith community. Therefore, the process of becoming a saint is the process of becoming a Christian, since they are interchangeable terms. And the Bible is very clear about it. Sainthood is less about what you have done than it is about what has been done for you.

Consider these verses:

[Christ told Paul] to open [the eyes of mankind], in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me (Acts 26:18).

But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:27–31).

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).

And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13).

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:3–7).

Sainthood Through Christ

All these passages establish a common theme, and the highest theme of God’s revelation to humanity. They explain what makes a biblical saint. You cannot become one by the things you do. No one could ever be good enough to make up for the wrongs he has done. It would be hopeless, if not for the hope of Christ.

He was, and has always been, God Himself, but He became one of us so he could live as we could not. He led a perfect life, but was killed by His enemies. And in that death, He offered a flawless and eternal sacrifice to pay the debt of judgment we all have earned. Then, three days later, He proved it by rising from the grave.

In His resurrection, He assured the promise of eternal life to all those who believe in Him. He is the truly Holy One. All we can do is be covered by His goodness. We cannot earn it. We can only have it imputed to us by repenting of our sins and trusting in the forgiveness made available through Him (Romans 4:23–25). That is what can make you a saint. You can’t add to it, and you can’t get to heaven any other way.

Accepting Sainthood

Perhaps that seems too easy, but ask yourself: easy for whom? You may not offer much to the process, but Jesus had to lower Himself to our state, suffer, and die so the saints could be established in Him. And think about what it would take if you tried to do it on your own. You can be good in comparison to most other people, probably, but can you live up to God? Can you be as perfect as Him? Because that is the standard. Only with His flawless character can you approach Him. Can you accomplish that?

Didn’t think so. The only way to see Him is to accept the grace He offers. If you refuse to do so just because you think it is too little to offer on your part, then you are clinging to pride. It was not easy, not for Jesus, but it is simple. Believe in Him, and you will be saved. You will be become a saint.

The Life of the Saints

A lot comes after that, of course, and it is where the work arises for us. Christians are supposed to live lives of holiness. But it does not make them saints. It proves that they are. And they are not obligated to do them, as much as they do them out of gratitude and to glorify the name of their Savior, Jesus Christ. And we do them by the power of God, who not only saves us but also lives in us through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Sainthood is a long road. It has its ups and downs, certainly. I would not want to suggest to anyone that it is something to be approached flippantly. But thanks to Jesus, it is certainly possible. And it is certainly worth it. Ours is not a life of fear, but one of assurance. It just takes being willing to let go of the need to make ourselves worthy, and accept what only Christ can give. May we never cease to show the value of the life of the saints to a world in need of direction.

Thanks for checking out the Quest Forums blog! If you enjoyed this post, please consider following me here, on Twitter (@Quest_Forums), or on Facebook (“Quest Forums”). Links are in the sidebar. I am always looking for new questions and comments, so submit yours on any of these sites or by emailing And please, spread the word! The share buttons below are a great way to do that. I want to connect with as many people as possible, so if you know anyone with questions about the Bible, send them my way.

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