Friday, October 31, 2008

Saints R Us?

Meditation: Philippians 1:1-11
The Words Among Us
October 31, 2008


At the very beginning of his letter to the Philippians, Paul called his readers “saints,” or “holy ones.” In light of the upcoming celebrations of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, it might be good to ask what makes someone a saint.

When we hear the word, most of us think of the special Christians of the past—canonized saints—who are renowned because of their extraordinary holiness and witness, in some cases to the point of martyrdom. However, when Paul used the word “saint,” he meant all Christians—even us today!

In one sense, everyone who is baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection is a saint. This is not to diminish the special role of the canonized saints but to highlight the immense gift that is all of ours in Christ. Because of the power of the cross, each Christian has the same inheritance in heaven as the great saints whose lives we commemorate in a special way.

Based on the characteristics that Paul mentioned in these few verses, we can begin to define what makes a person a “saint.” Saints are “in Christ” (Philippians 1:1). United with Jesus, they are “partners … in grace” (1:7). They have access to the love and power of the Spirit in their everyday lives. Finally, because of their “partnership for the gospel” (1:5), they are all called and empowered to proclaim the gospel and build the kingdom of God. Baptized into Christ and filled with the Spirit, saints stand as a sign to the world of the love and power of God.

Do you believe that these characteristics are just as true of you as they were of the first believers? Like them, you too can be assured that God will bring to completion the “good work” he began in you at baptism (Philippians 1:6). The Holy Spirit will help you each day to take steps to embrace your full inheritance in Christ. Place your faith in Jesus. Believe that he is making you into a saint. Drink deeply of his grace, and take possession of your inheritance. By God’s grace, you can manifest his love to the world. You can shine as one of God’s holy ones.

“Father, thank you for giving me a share in the fellowship of your saints. By your Spirit, empower me to embrace Jesus and his life today.”


(Phil 1:1-11)