I am a saint

saint-agnes-of-romeI cringe at that title.

I know the Bible calls us saints (Romans 1:7) but I don’t usually feel like one. Or think I act like one.

I still mistakenly think of a saint as somebody who is always kind, doesn’t make mistakes, is super spiritual.

Not just regular believers. Like me. Like you. But, hey, we’re it.

Regardless of our misconceptions, we are the “holy ones” because He says so. Not because we’re sinless, but because we’re set apart to mirror his glory.

In Chapter 8, “Be Holy Because I Am Holy” of The Holiness of God, R. C. Sproul points out that God led the Hebrews out of Egypt to set them apart, make them a special nation for a special purpose. His special purpose. Not because of anything they had done, but because of something he wanted to do.

And he told them, “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44). Yeah, we see how well they obeyed that. About as well as we do. For the most part, they continued to chose their own purposes over God’s purposes. But no matter. God still succeeded in accomplishing his purpose (as he always does, Isaiah 46:10-11), and he brought forth from them the everlasting King that we still worship today.

We have the same high calling to be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). To be vessels for honorable use (2 Timothy 2:21). To be transformed, living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2).

To be separate. For a purpose. Different like Jesus is different. By conforming to Jesus. Think as he thinks. Obey as he obeys. Value things he values and detest things he detests.

How? According to Sproul’s interpretation of the apostle Paul’s writings,

The key method Paul underscores as the means to the transformed life is by the “renewal of the mind.”

This means nothing more and nothing less than education. Serious education. In-depth education. Disciplined education in the things of God.

It calls for a mastery of the Word of God. We need to be people whose lives have changed because our minds have changed.

We’re still in process of being transformed, obviously. But even now as sinners, we are still saints. We are already separated from our sins and set apart for good works.

He counts us righteous even when in and of ourselves we are not righteous. But this is the gospel!

There’s no waiting for us to get our acts perfectly together before he justifies us and calls us righteous.

The instant we believe, we are immediately justified. God does not wait for our good works before He declares us just. We are still sinners when the declaration comes. How much time elapses before the sinner begins to become pure? The answer is none.

But can we know if we’re at least making progress in living out our holiness call? Sproul suggests looking for fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives as signs (Galatians 5:22-23).

These are the marks of a person who is growing in holiness. These are the virtues we are called to cultivate. To yield the fruit of the Spirit, we must practice the fruit of the Spirit.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy or that it comes naturally.

There is nothing easy about becoming holy. Yet, the Bible does make it easy for us to know what holiness is supposed to look like.

So we stay focused on Christ to know the ultimate Holy One. We seek his kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33) as we live out our holy call.

I will continue to struggle calling myself a saint according to the world’s definition, but according to God’s definition, I’m there.

If he calls me a holy one, then so be it. I am a saint.

* * *The_Holiness_of_God_by_R.C.Sproul

NEXT:
Chapter 9, God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

More on Chapter 8 at Challies
Previous chapters

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6 comments:

Barbara H. said...

You're so right -- we think of saints as the apostle Paul -- or maybe missionaries in areas of persecution for the faith. Yet all believers are called saints. That's a lot to live up to! Thank God it is by His grace and not our works, and yet our works are to reflect Him.

Liz said...

Yes, I read Tim's post today on the chapter, and he had a lot of the same quotes as I did. (Don't tell, but I sort of took his idea of just posting quotes from him last week.)

Kara said...

I've been using the "posting quotes" idea too. :-) I really appreciated all the practical application in this chapter! I struggle with thinking of myself as a "saint" too...but it's true!

Becky said...

This is a tremendous reality! Too amazing, right?

I just pray that I will live as a saint; honoring the title He has given me, honoring the calling in my life.

Blessings, sister.

Lisa writes... said...

Well said. A truth worth remembering. And pondering. And living. Thanks for sharing...

MikeB said...

Lisa, I enjoyed your post and the way you summarized the chapter. Thanks for all the extra Scripture passages, you have obviously been reflecting on this chapter.

"I will continue to struggle calling myself a saint according to the world’s definition, but according to God’s definition, I’m there."

Amen!

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