Inspiration – How does a person become a saint in the eyes God?

Rev. Terry Goerz,
Redeemer Lutheran Church.

Are you a “saint”?

Do you write the word “saint” in front of your name when you sign things? Most of us would think it would be far too presumptuous on our part to call ourselves a saint. We know just how unsaintly we are. When we think of a saint, we think of the heavyweights of Christianity like Mother Theresa. The Apostle Peter or the Apostle Paul – those guys are saints – the real good people! They are shining examples to the world of what it means to be a saintly Christian.

The word “saint” appears in the Bible over 60 times, and every single time it is used, it refers to those who are Christians, but interestingly not necessarily those who think of themselves as good and holy. It does not just refer to the champions of Christianity.

Paul begins his second letters to the Corinthians in this way: “To the church of God in Corinth, together with all the saints throughout Achaia.” (2 Corinthians 1:1b)

And we know from the content of Paul’s letters that the church in Corinth had so many issues to deal with. They could hardly be called model Christians.

So why does Paul use the word “saint” so freely when addressing Christians who have obvious problems? How does a person become a saint in the eyes of God?

The answer is found in the Book of Revelation. There John, the writer of the book of Revelation, gives us a picture of the saints in heaven gathered around the throne of God.

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)

The saints are worshiping God and the Lamb together with all the angels and other heavenly beings. Then John is asked a question.

“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?’” (Revelation 7:13)

John does not know the answer, so he prompts the elder to answer his own question.

“I answered, ‘Sir, you know.’ And he said, ‘These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:14)

That’s the secret of how a person becomes a saint – by washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. The blood of the Lamb is the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Your robe” is your life. The Bible sometimes talks about our robes – our clothes – as covered in dirt – the dirt of every sinful thought, word and action. They are so filthy that no amount of bleach, ultra – strength Tide or Oxy – clean would get rid of the stain of sin. There is only one way your robe of life can be made white as snow and that is in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.

In our services we confess all of our sins to God and the pastor under the authority of Christ forgives all our sin.

And it isn’t some warm fuzzy statement about how God is nice and loves everybody and doesn’t really take sin seriously. No, the forgiveness of sins you received was a special kind of forgiveness. The forgiveness God gives is very costly. The high cost was the life of God’s Son who shed His blood for us on the cross.

“And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. (Hebrews 13:12)

“. . .and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7b)

We believe that the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin (washes our robes) and makes us holy. We believe and put our faith in the absolution announced after our confession. In the eyes of God, we are saints. Sure, we will always be sinners while we walk this earth, but as far as God is concerned we are also saints – people who have been cleansed of all sin through the blood of Jesus.

In our baptism God cleansed us from our sin. However, we continue to sin. So God gave the church the sacrament of Holy Communion to continue to make us sin free (absolved) in God’s eyes. When we receive Holy Communion we eat and drink the very body and blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, given and shed for you, for the forgiveness of your sins.

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

So as we are absolved of our sins, as we are baptized and as we participate in Communion we are washing our robes in the blood of the Lamb. You and I are “saints” in the eyes of God. It’s not because we have done something so good that somehow makes up for all the bad we do.

Quite the opposite, Jesus has done something good for us by willingly shedding His blood and giving His life for us on the cross.


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