Who are we as believers? Todays Scripture, 1Corinthians 1:1-17, will briefly explore this question.
1Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother; To the church of Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ..
Most translation say we are “called to be saints,” with to be in italics. This indicates these words were added by the translators to make it read easier in english. Take them back out, here. In most cases when they add words it achieves its desired goal, but in this instance, and twin instances throughout the NT, it actually and unintentionally weakens the force of the Scripture.
We are not merely called to be saints, though that is true, but by the Blood of Jesus and the grace of God we are saints. The word means morally holy and consecrated or make acceptable to God and for service to Him.
In Ephesians 1:3-7 we are told, “He chose us… that we should be holy and without blame before Him… according to the good pleasure of HIs will, to the praise and the glory of His grace by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” If we are truly born again, then God declares us saints. This term is a spiritual assessment – you are either a saint saved by grace, or a sinner lost in sin.
The New Testament frequently calls believers as saints. On the other hand, while Scripture admits we still all have the natural man, the fleshly, sinful nature, it never refers to believers as sinners in a present tense. Paul stated in Romans 7, “It is no longer I who sins, but the sin nature or principle that dwells in the mortal body.” God has sanctified us, another form of the same Greek word; He has set us apart and made us holy. Believers are frequently exhorted to live to their high calling as saints of God.
This truth becomes especially significant in the context of this letter, when you realize throughout most of the book Paul sharply rebuked the Corinthians for carnality and childishness. Yet in spite of all the problems and flaws in their lives, God still called them saints. Paul tells them they need to grow up, should already be grown more matrue, but he never denies the calling of god in their lives or their position of salvation in Christ. Contrast this with the legalistic church of Galatia, which is the only church Paul did not affirm in this manner.
This contrasts with the practice and belief of some church denominations, whom I will leave unnamed. Some ascribe sainthood to certain individuals because of some great “work” they have done, and often typically have at least one miracle attributed to them. They make these into patron saints over places or activities or people, and sometimes pray to them to intercede on their behalf.
But 1Corinthians 1:2 makes clear the only pre-requisite for sainthood is to be “called saints (by God) with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”