Those in heaven aren’t the only saints. The Bible urges living, breathing believers on this earth, “Love the Lord, all his saints … be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:23,24).
One could make the case Biblically that there really aren’t different categories of saints or degrees of sainthood. All saints have this in common: considered by God as perfect and holy through the death of Jesus Christ.
“Save me in your unfailing love,” the Psalm writer prays to God. “You heard my cry for mercy” (Psalm 31:16,22). Saints aren’t perfect by ourselves. We are perfect in the eyes of a just God who demands holiness because he looks on us with mercy. Unfailing love.
Consider this amusing tale:
There were two evil brothers. They were rich, and used their money to keep their sins from the public eye. They even attended the same church, and appeared to be perfect Christians.
Then their pastor retired, and a new one was called. The new pastor could see right through the brothers’ deception. A fund raising campaign was started to build a new church hall. All of a sudden, one of the brothers died. The remaining brother sought out the new pastor the day before the funeral and handed him a check for the amount needed to finish paying for the new building.
“I have only one condition,” he said. “At his funeral, you must say my brother was a saint.”
The pastor gave his word, and deposited the check. The next day, at the funeral, the pastor did not hold back. “He was an evil man,” the pastor said. “He cheated people, told lies, and stole whenever he had the chance, but …”
After going on in this vein for a while, the pastor concluded with, “ … but compared to his brother, he was a saint.”
It’s not that you’re a better saint than he is, or that she’s a better saint than you are, or that some saints have a superior status while others must go to the back of the line. All believers are saints, saved by the perfect work of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: I am no better than anyone else, gracious God, when it comes to my standing before you—but neither am I any worse. Your mercy through Jesus Christ covers us all. Let me find my true worth in you, and not be afraid to be a perfect saint who, on this earth, can always do better. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Romans 7:18-8:39. This is a long section. I want you to settle in, give yourself 20 minutes to meditate as you read, and let God work on your soul over slow, thoughtful, reflective reading. Don’t rush. This might feel like it takes too long. Give it time. It’s the best thing you can do to start this week. God has things he wants to tell you today. Read. Listen. Believe.