The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
I grew up to believe that a saint is a special Christian of some kind. Is this true, and if so, how is he special?
Probably you have heard the common teaching that a saint is a very special kind of Christian — one who has usually died! People have come to assume that a saint is a peculiar, almost superhuman individual who by some unknown means has found unique, almost exclusive favor in the eyes of God. As a result of this favor, he is to be given special adoration and worship by the masses of comparatively unholy, unrighteous fellow humans who are beneath his exalted plane of spirituality. Where did this idea come from? Listen to the amazing answer! "To pay honor to the dead whom the general voice [of the people] declares to have lived well is an instinct of human nature," declares the Catholic Dictionary, are, Canonization, p. 114. Did you catch that? "An instinct of human nature" is the SOURCE of this belief. Human nature is the SOURCE of this practise. Yet God says the way of human nature — the way that SEEMS right — ends in death (Pro. 14: 12). Continuing with this dictionary article and the pagan origin of this belief about saints: "Roman citizens brought the images of their distinguished ancestors into their villas. In China the worship of ancestors is to this day the most living portion of the popular religion." Notice a false assumption. It assumes that to become a saint one must be DEAD.' In another source, the length of death is defined as being at lease fifty years before one is eligible to become a saint! (Biblical Cyclopaedia by McClintock & Strong, art. "Saint.") Where do you find THAT in the Bible? The Bible is very plain that one need not be dead co be a saint. Once one has died it is too late.' If one did not DIE a saint, he will not be RESURRECTED a saint! Once you are DEAD, you have no hope of becoming a saint while you are in that condition — not even a wait of fifty years will do the trick. Paul frequently addressed his epistles "to the saints which are at Colosse" (Col. 1:2) or Ephesus (Eph. 1:1) or Philippi (Phil. 1:1) or other locations. He was writing CO LIVING people whom he was at that time calling SAINTS. He did not say "to all the ones who will become saints fifty years after they have died at Colosse." He was addressing living, breathing human beings. In other places he spoke about saluting or greeting the saints (Rom. 16:15), or collecting produce for those saints who were suffering severe hardship (I Cor. 16:1). Paul, before he was converted, says, "many of the saints did I shut up in prison" (Acts 26: 10). These are just a few of the many scriptures that PROVE that there were living people who were called saints while they were yet alive. Shocking as the ORIGIN of this pagan, babylonish idea of what a saint is supposed to be, even more amazing is how one qualifies to become a saint, according to this false system. "The proof of eminent virtue is all that she [the church] demands, and as a conclusive and compendious test of the presence of this high order of virtue, she requires the authentication of miracles wrought by, or through the intercession of, the person whose virtues are under debate." These miracles "must be established by testimony of the countrymen of the reputed saint" (Catholic Dictionay, page 115). Yes, MIRACLES are the supposed proof that one is a saint! Bur miracles prove NOTHING.' Satan and his demons are capable of performing miracles (II Thess. 2:9; Matt. 24:24)! Miracles alo1te certainly do not prove that one is a special saint. In this fake system, the procedure for becoming a saint went through a lengthy process of evolution and was not finally established until the tenth century — although the Bible speaks of saints back in the Old Testament several thousand years before the tenth century A.D.! "The procedure co be observed was gradual1y regularized, defects were remedied, and safeguards supplied. In the 10th century we meet with the complete process of canonization [the process of becoming a saint]" (Catholic Dictionary, art. Canonization, p. 115). Now that we know from the Bible what a saint is NOT, Iet's turn to the Bible and see what a true saint in God's sight IS. In both the Hebrew of the Old Testament and the Greek of the New Testament, our English word "saint" is translated from words that mean co be "holy, set apart, separate" (Strong's Concordance, Young's Analytical Concordance). Throughout the Bible, God speaks of holy vessels in the temple, of holy chambers, of holy garments, of His Holy City, His Holy Spirit, His Holy Son Jesus, His holy prophets, and many Other things that are holy to God. In each of these examples the word "holy" is used as an adjective. However, when the word for "holy" stands alone as a noun, it means simply "holy one" or "saint." When a person or thing is sec apart for a special use by God, this very act makes it holy in God's eyes. God makes physical objects holy by setting them apart for some specific purpose. God makes people holy by calling them Out of the world and setting them apart for a specific purpose that God has in mind for them. To those whom He has called Out, God. commands, "Be you holy, for I am holy" (I Pet. 1:16). Now HOW is God holy — set apart and different from everything else? By His perfect CHARACTER. It is God's character, His MIND — as summarized in the Ten Commandments — that makes Him Holy. It is by our keeping these commandments with the power of God's Spirit chat we too are to become holy and worthy of being called "holy ones" or "saints." This is the exact definition given in Revelation 14:12: "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." From this scripture we see that a saint is nothing more than a genuine, obedient Christian. A true saint and a true Christian are one and the same in God's sight. A saint is nor some special brand of Christian with a superior degree of spirituality. So while a saint is not superior to a true Christian, a saint IS very special to God — just as a Christian is, because they both are one and the same. A true Christian saint, by the very name itself, is one whom God has set apart for a very special purpose — to become in this life His very own begotten sons or daughters.