Me, a saint? Seriously?


1 Corinthians 1:1–3 (NRSV): Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Growing up, my church involvement came through the Roman Catholic tradition. In that tradition a “saint” is someone very special. It’s a believer who exhibits extraordinary faith, including documented acts of supernatural power. There is even a special process called “canonization” by which someone is designated a “saint”.

When I came into a Protestant church, the Lutheran church, I was taught that all believers are “called to be saints” (v.2). This was a mind-bender for me. How can any old Christian be a saint? More importantly, how could I possibly be considered a saint? I mean, there is nothing special about my faith. I have good days and bad as it relates to faith.

But then I came to embrace a Protestant understanding of “saint”. A saint is one made holy, not by one’s own actions or faithfulness or supernatural ability, but by our identity as children of God via baptism in the name of Jesus. My faith may waver, but Jesus’ holiness does not. It is forever and always. And so each day we have life we are “saints” through Jesus.

If our sainthood, then, is bound up in Jesus and not my questionable actions/inactions, different questions emerge. How will we live today as saints, as those called to love others as Jesus loves us? How will our sainthood be manifest in the world God loves?

Lord empower us to be saints today, for the sake of the world you love, in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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