In the Western Christian tradition, the ceremonial observance of All Saints Day begins on the evening of 31 October. All Saints Day is celebrated by many Christian denominations and is most often in memory of canonized saints. According to these denominations, these saints were or presently are the believers who meet the guidelines fixed by the denomination honoring them. Commonly, these measures include special holiness, the workings of miracles, outstanding works of service, and the like.
MEASURE TO SAINTHOOD
Growing up a Roman Catholic, I heard the stories of many catholic saints and read their biographies from time to time. I found many saints were sinners before their conversion to the Lord. They then through their lives of devotion to Jesus, Mary, and the Church; through holiness, social service, miracles attributed to them during their lives or after their death (when people prayed to them) were canonized as saints and considered as people closer to God than the rest.
WHO ARE SAINTS?
As I began reading the Bible for myself, I was startled to find Paul the apostle, and other writers greeting everyone as saints. All who were part of the Body of Christ are called saints in scripture and not a special group of people.
Paul called all believers at the church in Ephesus who are faithful in Christ as saints.
Ephesians 1:1 — From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints [in Ephesus], the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Paul called the whole church in Corinth who are set apart in Christ as saints, every believer who believes in Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:2 — to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and called to be saints, with all those in every place who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
2 Corinthians 1:1 — From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.
The term “saint” is linked to words meaning “holy,” “set apart,” and “sanctified.” Many Christians in their busy lives do not feel particularly holy on most days. With the teachings prevalent in certain denominations, this word is easily considered to describe other people who are very close to God. The word “saint” presents itself to producing a class system in Christianity, and this is due to a lack of knowledge of Scripture, and our fallen carnal view and it is not from the Spirit.
CHRIST IN YOU
The more I studied Scripture, I saw why we must not see holiness in measures of more and less. Holiness and sainthood are not based on perfect morals, working of miracles, or on humanitarian accomplishments. Christ is our sanctification and our holiness. If Christ is in you, you are sanctified, set apart and holy; you are a saint. If we require more than that, we require more than Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30 — He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…”
The word “sanctification,” is from the Greek noun, “hagiasmos.” It means purification, purity, and purifier. It comes from the root word, “hagiazo,” which is ” to make holy.”
WHO IS BETTER?
I support the fact that God calls some to walk with Him in a way that is out of the ordinary, though that depends on what God calls you for. However, I challenge the understanding of putting people into a class system especially concerning to who are called saints in Christ. When you and I are used by the Lord according to His purpose and our calling, and if we both display the nature and character of Christ, then who is better?
When a house is built, we cannot say the plumber is better than the electrician or the painter is better than the carpenter. All are workers doing their part in contributing through their skills towards the building of the house.
Romans 1:7 — to all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called saints; Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and [from] the Lord Jesus Christ!
WHO IS THE GREATEST?
The disciples of Jesus quarreled among themselves on who was the greatest, and who should sit at His right and left.
Luke 22:24 — A dispute also started among them over which of them was to be regarded as the greatest.
Mark 10:36-37 — He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Permit one of us to sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.”
Jesus did not reply by giving them a plan for attaining holiness or greatness. He did not say, “If you do not sin, and do not trouble anyone, feed the poor and do miracles, then possibly, you will be eligible to sit next to me.”
His response was plain and simple. He told His disciples to lower themselves and serve everyone else.
Mark 10:43-45 — But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
ALL ARE SAINTS
John the beloved disciple of Christ, sees the twenty-four elders around the throne throw their crowns down, fall on their faces, and worship Jesus Christ. Do you not think it is difficult to rank who are all bowing before the Lord, worshiping Him by throwing themselves on the ground?
Revelation 4:10-11 — the twenty-four elders throw themselves to the ground before the one who sits on the throne and worship the one who lives forever and ever, and they offer their crowns before his throne, saying: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, since you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created!”
On All Saints Day, I am cherishing the truth that we are all saints in Christ. The only One who has been anointed with the oil of joy above His companions is Christ Jesus. He alone is pre-eminent and elevated above all. We are in Him and He in us. We are all saints in Christ.
Psalms 45:7 — You love justice and hate evil. For this reason God, your God has anointed you with the oil of joy, elevating you above your companions.
Hebrews 1:8-9 — but of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness. So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.”
[Image Courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:All-Saints.jpg]