by Pastor Tim Burt
May I ask you a question that would require an honest answer? Have you ever had the thought, even if just once, I wonder how people tolerate me? Hopefully, no one thinks that way of us, but let’s face it, we all know we’ve had our moments where we’ve not been at our best. Sometimes we’ve been a pain in someone’s rear end! We usually know when that is. And so we wonder…
How do you think that might look to God? He is holy. He is blameless. He is majesty. He is perfect in every way imaginable. No wonder the Bible tells us that even on our very best day, our own righteousness is like filthy rags compared to the Lord. Isaiah 64:6 NKJV says, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are like filthy rags…”
If this is true, and it is, then how do we stand a chance before the Lord? If we are like an unclean thing, why would He love us, listen to us, or hear and answer our prayers? The answer is simple and has everything to do with the incomparable and incomprehensible love of God toward us. The Bible says that through our belief and faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as our Savior who died to take the punishment for our sins, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Because of our faith in Jesus, the sacrifice of His blood acts like the perfect laundry detergent that washes or the ultimate paint brush that covers every sin and all our filthiness, and instead makes us “white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18 (NIV) says it like this: “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Because of this incomprehensible truth, God’s inspired word, the Bible, doesn’t condemn us or belittle us reminding us that we might look like filthy rags. No, instead God prepared another name for those who make Jesus their Savior. He called us saints. The Apostle Paul and others use this term throughout the New Testament referring to those who have become believers—to those who have become followers of Jesus Christ. I know that in some religious circles that term is reserved for people like Mother Teresa or a person that seems to have lived holier than anyone else. But the truth is, God doesn’t reserve it for just a few. His amazing love honors us as His children with this undeserved title. Remember when the father covered the prodigal son with a robe and put sandals and a ring on his finger? That’s the image of what God did for us! He calls you and I saints and it’s not based on our own righteousness but upon what Jesus did for us! We see that in Ephesians 1:18 (NIV) when Paul was praying for the believers in Ephesus! He wrote them, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…”
The word saint in the Bible comes from a Greek word that means to have been consecrated or set apart as belonging to the Lord as His children. It also means to have been made blameless or without sin before God! That is God’s doing, not ours.
God reveals to us in His word, that as Christians, He wants us to become transformed in godly character and integrity through His Word. But, we are fully aware that trying to be holy is a lifetime effort and the process of transformation comes with more stumbles and failures than we care to admit. I promise you that the holiest appearing man on the planet today has still fallen short! Our short comings and stumbling does not make us intolerable to God. Holiness is God’s gift to us through Jesus Christ. It is what makes us more than tolerable in His eyes. It makes us blameless in His sight! And that is precisely why He calls us saints. We are those who have been sanctified by Jesus’ blood and sacrifice and made right and blameless in God’s eyes. It’s also why He does hear and answer our prayers—because we have been made His children and His saints through faith in Jesus Christ! This is what is revealed in Colossians 1:22. (NLT) “Yet now God has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” Can you see the power and depth of God’s love in order that He did this for you? This is the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Do you know what the revelation of this truth should do for each of us? It should make us thankful beyond words! It should make us ever-aware of God’s grace and kindness and love toward us. When we are aware of just how kind God is and thankful for it, it helps strengthen and encourage us in the very behaviors that would simulate holiness. And that is how the transformation of our heart, our attitude, and our life happens. The power of His love creates a transforming love, and a desire from within to live for Him!
And so saints, God confirms this precious truth and gift to encourage us by saying: 1 Corinthians 1:2, 8-9 NKJV/NLT. “I am writing to God’s church… to you who have been called by God to be His saints – His own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours… who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Look in the mirror today and say, Hi Saint _____. Do so not to promote pride or humor. Do so to realize the reality and working of God’s love, and to encourage your heart that He is working mightily in you so that you don’t feel disgusted with yourself when you’re failing or falling short. Let His love make you thankful and desirous to repent and try again. That in itself is an empowering force! And also to fill your heart with thanksgiving for Jesus’ great sacrifice to make us holy and blameless so that we might be called the children and saints of God.
Hebrews 6:10 (NKJV) “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints (His people,) and do minister.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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