To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours, (1 Cor. 1:2)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:1)
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints (Rom. 1:7)
My pastor pointed out something quite wonderful during Sunday school this past week. He raised the point that when Paul is writing letters to the different churches, he addresses them to the “saints”.
Not the “sinners”.
Not heathen, back-sliding, undeserving, low-down, miserable and failing sinners.
I think that’s pretty significant, don’t you? We certainly don’t see ourselves as saints. I don’t, anyway. When I look at myself, I see the accumulation of every sin I’ve ever committed. I see the shortcomings and failures. I would never be comfortable with someone calling me a “saint”. But that is what Paul calls us, and that is how God sees us.
Because we have been sanctified.
We are covered in Christ.
When God looks at us, He sees the perfection of Jesus. Christ’s blood has blotted out all our transgression, and we stand before God blameless and clean.
“…but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Cor. 6:11)
The same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead has transformed us, too. If we believe that Jesus was resurrected, then we must also believe that we are DIFFERENT. We’ve been altered, changed into a completely new thing. We were buried with Him, and raised again into something NEW. We are saints, not because we are good, but because we are His, and because of what He did.
Anyway, that was such a refreshing reminder for me. It doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with sin and temptation. It doesn’t mean we won’t stumble. But when God looks at us, He isn’t tallying up all our imperfections and shortcomings. He isn’t tsk, tsk’ing at us, shaking His head in disapproval and disappointment all day long. He isn’t frustrated and annoyed and wondering why He even bothers with us. He’s seeing His Son. He’s seeing the sacrifice, the love, the perfection- we wear Christ in His eyes.
So, we are saints.
Even though we aren’t saintly.
Paul knew we would need to be reminded to see ourselves as God sees us. Paul says a lot of other things about sin and being holy and all that, but he also realized the importance of embracing the fact that we’ve been SANCTIFIED. It’s the first thing he says in his letters,
to the saints.
So today, instead of letting the burden of our sins define us, lay them down. Listen to Paul. Live today in the freedom and mercy He bought at the cross. Nothing we did could earn that gift, and nothing we do can take it away.
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)