Saints according to the Bible are not what you think. The hymn, “When The Saints Go Marching In” brings to mind a parade of morally superior people. But the Bible book of Ephesians describes saints another way. Here’s how.
Saints According To The Bible Are Described As Different
From the start, Paul calls his audience “saints.” The Greek word used is hagios which means “to be set apart.”
And Paul uses hagios again in v.4, although this time it’s translated “holy.”
We usually associate saints and holiness with moral virtue in today’s culture. But Paul means something else.
What is it?
Saints According To The Bible Are Described By A Relationship
The Bible consistently discusses what it means to have a relationship with God. In Ephesians 1:5-10, Paul compares it to a family and adoption as sons and daughters of God. The relationship is formed through Jesus Christ who redeems us through his blood.
It’s a radical idea taught only in the Bible. Sainthood is not a superior level of morality or accumulation of good works. But the demonstration of God’s goodness accomplished through Jesus Christ.
And that relationship with Jesus fills saints with the fullness of God.
Saints According To The Bible Are Described As Grace Recipients
Paul elaborates in Ephesians 2:8-10 to clear any confusion. Sainthood is a result of God’s grace. Not something you or I earn or deserve.
But a gift God offers to all who will receive it.
Also described as God’s children, it involves a personal relationship with Jesus for those who respond in faith.
Saints According To The Bible Are Described As Sinners
Most of us admit that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. However, sin is not a popular word in today’s culture. You often hear people apologize for a mistake. But rarely for sin.
And yet, that is exactly what saints do. Admit they are sinners. Confess their sins to Jesus and seek his forgiveness.
It requires humility. And recognition that sin is more serious than a mistake.
Because mistakes are accidental. Something you didn’t intend. But sin is often intentional and can be quite evil. Paul says we’re all guilty of it. But God forgives you when you ask for it and receive Jesus. That’s when you become a saint.
Saints Strive To Imitate Jesus
Paul goes on to discuss saintly conduct. Which he says should imitate Jesus. But wait. Didn’t we just say you don’t earn or deserve it? Why the sudden interest in moral behavior?”
Simple. To express your gratitude for God’s grace and love for Jesus who sacrificed his life for you.
A life that imitates Jesus is set apart from the culture. Not perfectly, of course, because you still sin.
But perhaps in the view of others, a little more Christ-like. Which is what you joyfully pursue, to the glory of God.
About Chip Tudor:
Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and freelance copywriter. He publishes humorous Christian drama, books and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.
Scripture offers a Biblical prescription for the healing of America. Healed, not fixed. Although it’s clearly broken. Because we are individually broken. And national healing is the cumulative result of individual healing on a mass scale.
Although this Scripture passage specifically addresses the covenant between God and Israel, it still offers a remedy for America. Because there is brokenness within the heart and soul of every American. And where the healing starts.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Responds To God’s Call
God calls us into a relationship with Him. That’s what’s broken. It’s not about achieving perfection. Or following religious rules. But responding to God’s invitation for a restored relationship through Jesus Christ.
And this makes you part of a greater community–the church. Which, according to the Greek word “Ekklesia” means, the called out ones. Also, known as the Bride of Christ.
As this community grows–those who call themselves “People of God”–perhaps other name calling will decline.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Seeks Humility
Humility is other centered. Puts others first. And gives them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Which is difficult because we’re naturally self-centered.
But it begins by acknowledging I am imperfect. You are too. And we all fall short of God’s standard. That Jesus Christ is the only one who met it. So we pause before rushing to judgement. And look for ways to extend grace.
Knowing Jesus is the perfect example of humility we should imitate.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Involves Prayer
Prayer is more than presenting your list of wants to God. It’s entering His presence to both speak and listen. Seek His will. And obey. Which also counters the natural tendency to demand our rights.
It includes personal confession and intercession. Recognizes that God is sovereign. And that prayer engages God’s power in ways that are both mysterious and miraculous.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Requires Repentance
The people of Israel had a history of falling away from and returning to God. Repentance was the key difference between national prosperity and bondage. When Israel turned their backs on God, hard times followed. When they acknowledged their sin and turned back to God He restored them as a nation.
In the Greek, repentance means to turn from and turn to. In other words, a change of direction. Away from sin and towards God. More than an emotion, it’s an act of will. Done individually. But with a profound, spiritual impact when many people turn towards God together.
The good news is that God forgives. And change is possible. When we individually own our part. And collectively turn back to God. Perhaps then, we’ll be heading in a new and better direction.
There is life renewing power in Biblical repentance. No matter what you’ve done. Haven’t done. How good or bad you are. Or think you are. Biblical repentance starts a whole new life.
Wow! Why then doesn’t everyone repent? Maybe because Biblical repentance is misunderstood. So let’s look at what Biblical repentance is and the life renewing opportunity it presents.
The Life Renewing Power In Biblical Repentance Begins With A Decision
There’s a popular sterotype of red-faced preachers, worked up in an angry frenzy, pounding on pulpits and demanding congregants to repent from sin. It’s an image that promotes condemnation and fear. And often turns people away from the Christian faith.
While Jesus never condemned people for their sin, he clearly called them to repent. And his message holds true today. So what did he mean?
The Greek word for repent that Jesus used is Metanoeo, which means to change one’s mind. But even more, it’s a change in direction. A spiritual U-turn that turns away from sin and turns to God.
You may experience emotions when you repent. The Apostle Paul discusses a Godly sorrow that leads to repentance. But emotion is not a requirement.
What IS required is to engage your will. For you to willingly profess and actively follow Jesus Christ.
The Life Renewing Power In Biblical Repentance Involves A Life Long Practice
Also, repentance is not one and done. Yes, there is an initial change of mind. A decision to turn from sin and turn to God. Declare your willingness to follow Jesus as the Son of God. And in that moment you are spiritually renewed and transformed from the inside out.
But you’re not done. You will have to repent on a regular basis for the rest of your life. Because your past doesn’t simply dissolve. There are experiences, pain, emotions and scars that remain. And perhaps consequences of behavior.
Yes, you are new and transformed. But old patterns of behaviors and habits will present themselves. Along with the temptations of a real, spiritual enemy who wants you to fail. And while God’s Spirit now resides in you, so does your sin nature. So you won’t win every battle over sin.
But you will experience ultimate victory. Because God’s forgiveness and mercy are overflowing. So repenting on a regular basis becomes an important practice in ongoing spiritual renewal.
The Life Renewing Power In Biblical Repentance Is A Spiritual Partnership
The Prodigal Son Bible parable pictures God as a loving father who desires a relationship with you. Who waits eagerly for your homecoming, rushes to meet you and celebrates your return.
It confirms that repentance is not just one way event. But the start of a dynamic relationship. Where God is an active agent. Who calls you to repent. Might even be calling you now. Are you listening?
And beyond repentance, God’s Spirit empowers you. Intercedes on your behalf. And guides you on a spiritual journey of discovering and following His will.
There will still be hardships, challenges and setbacks. Jesus warned that discipleship has costs. But at the same time, it’s a forward moving journey. One with a promise and a prize.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fiery furnace teaches about Biblical integrity. Here are three lessons from this Bible story in the book of Daniel.
The Story Of Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego Teaches That Biblical Integrity Is Uncompromising
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were three Jewish young men taken captive when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem in 587 B.C. As the brightest among Jewish young men, they were educated and assigned jobs within the Babylonian empire.
But as faithful Jews, they also obeyed the ten commandments given by Moses. And the first was to worship no other gods before the God of Israel.
So when King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone in Babylon worship a golden image, they refused. Because it compromised their moral integrity to God’s command.
Today, the Bible is our guide for the Christian faith. It is God’s absolute truth for right living. Of course, we still sin, so perfection isn’t achieved. But Biblical integrity strives to live uncompromisingly according to its moral standards.
The Story Of Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego Teaches That Biblical Integrity Stands By Its Word
King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the young men brought to him and gave them a last chance. Bow before the gold image or burn in a fiery furnace. It was the ultimate test in character. Were they willing to die for their commitment to God? Yes. The three young men stood by their word. Why?
Because God stood by His word. They even audaciously claimed God could deliver them from the furnace. But even if not, they wouldn’t worship the idol.
An interesting disclaimer. What does it mean? God can deliver us, but just in case, we won’t comply because we’re religiously stubborn?
No, the point is God’s rewards aren’t always claimed in this life. But always promised in eternity. So they would stand firm. Standing by our word is still God’s expectation for us. One Jesus also consistently taught.
Such impudence made King Nebuchadnezzar really hot. Emotionally speaking that is. How dare they defy him! He ordered the furnace heated up seven times hotter than normal, the three men tied up and thrown in.
But they didn’t burn! In fact, when Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the furnace, not a hair on their head was singed. They didn’t even smell like smoke.
The Story Of Shadrach, Meshach And Abednego Teaches That Biblical Integrity Magnifies God
King Nebuchadnezzar was amazed. And perhaps a little fearful. He praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Decreed that no one in the kingdom speak against their God. And gave the three young men job promotions.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could have strutted their stuff. Proudly proclaimed, “I told you so” or present false humility–a form of pride. But they didn’t.
Instead, their integrity was based on the word and character of God. Rather than elevate themselves, they elevated the name of God.
And that is what Biblical integrity does. Rather than herald your accomplishments or abilities, it proclaims the glory of God. It honors and magnifies His name.
The uncompromising integrity of these three young Jewish men influenced an entire Babylonian nation. And in today’s world of moral ambiguity, the integrity of God’s people influences the culture today.
It’s hard for many people to make sense of Biblical redemption. The idea of redemption seems strange. Redeemed? From what?
So here are three understandings to help you make sense of redemption from a Biblical perspective.
To Make Sense of Biblical Redemption You Must Understand The World Is Broken
Wow! News flash, right? Like you can’t figure that out yourself?
Countries fighting. Political parties fighting. Deadly diseases. Name calling. Finger pointing. Road rage. And everywhere you look, people are uptight, fearful and disconnected.
Yep. The world is broken. People are broken. You and I are broken.
The Bible says that sin causes the brokenness. We’re all guilty of it. And there’s nothing any of us can do to fix it.
The good news is…God could and did.
To Make Sense Of Biblical Redemption You Must Understand It Has A Cost
God fixed the problem with sin. And He offers salvation as a free gift. But it cost something. I’m sure you understand that. Nothing is ever completely free. Somehow…some way…someone picks up the tab.
And in the case of Biblical redemption, it’s God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
Because the penalty for sin is spiritual death. Which is separation from God. And since God’s standard is perfection, the sacrifice must be perfect. And Jesus Christ–the only one to live a perfect life–is the only one who qualifies.
You Must Understand That Biblical Redemption Involves A Transaction
So to make sense of Biblical redemption you must understand the general meaning of redemption. It is the payment that secures a release.
For example, when you shop with a product coupon, the store cashier takes the coupon in exchange for the product. In other words, The cashier redeems the coupon.
And Biblical redemption works the same way. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself…died in my place…to redeem me. And you too.
At the same time, many people believe in Jesus. That he’s the Son of God. And he died for our sins. But belief alone is not enough.
You must complete a spiritual transaction.
Isn’t that how you redeem a coupon? You don’t tell the cashier, “I believe I can redeem this coupon for that product, but I’m keeping it instead.”
No, in order to receive the product you must make a transaction. Exchange the coupon for the product.
Biblical redemption requires the same thing. Thus, you make a transaction with Jesus. Receive his gift. And commit to following him.
That’s when you are redeemed. And your life changes forever.
Join my list and I'll notify you of new blog posts and send you a monthly newsletter. It features inspirational thoughts, writing tips, and a peek into writing projects. I'll also include my article: Exaggerate to Make Your Presentations Funny. It shows you how to punch up presentations with humor and make them more compelling.