“to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7, NASB95)
“To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2, NASB95)
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 1:1, NASB95)
“Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons:” (Philippians 1:1, NASB95)
“To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” (Colossians 1:2, NASB95)
Above are a sampling of Paul’s introductions to his letters. Notice that there is a common term that he uses in order to refer to his readers. He calls them “saints.” This term is not reserved for an elite or arrived group of people, but is used to refer to all of the believers to who Paul wrote. But the term “saints” in itself is not really what Paul calls them. The Greek word is ‘hagios’ which means ‘holy.’ In writing these letters, Paul refers to his readers as God’s holy ones, and this identity has everything to do with who they are in Christ.
Scripture declares there is not a single one of who are righteous (Romans 3:10) and that every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). So how is it that Paul can call holy those who are not righteous and who have fallen short of God’s glory? It’s simple! At the time of our salvation Christ’s righteousness was put on us as a free gift. “For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17, NASB95) This new identity is further expanded in the next several chapters of Romans, along with a consideration of the tension created concerning how we should live in response.
Scripture refers to us as “saints,” as God’s holy ones, and then it calls us to live according to who we are. Following are just some of the verses:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” (1 Peter 1:13–16, NASB95)
“So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind,” … “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:17,20–24, NASB95)
“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:12–17, NASB95)
Paul summed up this response of worship in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1–2, NASB95)
And should we ever get tempted to give up and say that we can’t do it, it is a good reminder to know that we didn’t do it in the first place. God saved us and declared us righteous based upon the righteousness of His own Son. And it is in Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are also enabled to live holy lives.
“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” … “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,” (Romans 8:1-2,5-6, NASB95)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” … “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16,25, NASB95)
Sarah goes on in her devotional reading for today to briefly discuss the meaning and impact of being ‘holy.’
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (12/13)
Take time to be holy. The word holy does not mean goody-goody; it means set apart for sacred use. That is what these quiet moments in My Presence are accomplishing within you. As you focus your mind and heart on Me, you are being transformed: re-created into the one I designed you to be. This process requires blocks of time set aside for communion with Me.
The benefits of this practice are limitless. Emotional and physical healing are enhanced by your soaking in the Light of My Presence. You experience a nearness to Me that strengthens your faith and fills you with Peace. You open yourself up to receive the many blessings that I have prepared for you, You become a cleansed temple of My Holy Spirit, who is able to do in and through you immeasurably more than you ask or imagine. These are just some of the benefits of being in My Presence.
“when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.” (2 Thessalonians 1:10, NASB95)
“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4, NASB95)
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NASB95)
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB95)