Monday, October 26, 2015


When the New Testament (especially Paul) makes reference to the saints I ask three questions.  Who are the saints?  What makes them saints?  How does this apply in my life?

In the movie "Saint Vincent" Bill Murray is an irreverent, cursing, seedy old man who weasels his way through life on the edge of every situation.  He gambles, drinks, chases women and doesn't mind taking money from a single mother in need.  Yet, a little boy in the movie takes the time to see past the warts and finds a war hero who had traits worthy of what the boy called "sainthood."  It was "cute" but in the church we call this works righteousness.  Biblically, the saints are those who are God's redeemed (Revelation 5 calls them "purchased for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.").  So, first clue ... sainthood is not earned, it is conveyed by the work of God.  And the saints are those who have received and acknowledged God's great gift to them.  Sorry Vincent ... you didn't mention God's work or grace a single time so (though my vote doesn't count) I wouldn't grant you sainthood even if your good works outweighed your bad works.  That isn't the point.

What makes people saints is their connection to the God that has purchased them from everywhere for God's good purpose.  The purchase was made at the cross when God's offer of forgiveness and salvation were enabled by the sacrifice of Jesus, the lamb who was slain in Revelation 5.  Again, God's work has enacted the chance for salvation, and sainthood is enabled by our acceptance of this gift.  Saints have realized their fallenness, understood their separation from God, seen God's action and plan on their (and all people's) behalf, accepted God's gift by acknowledgement to God and accepting Jesus' Lordship, repentance that leads to becoming a new creation and submission to God's sanctification (a continual process of God bringing us from who we are today closer and closer to the likeness of Jesus).

How does this apply to me?  There are several clues to this in Revelation 5.  1) There is the expectation of God bringing all things into alignment with His final plan.  John weeps when he thinks God's plan cannot proceed ... 2) There is the vision of John seeing God's work happening in spite of what we perceive from an unreal and untrue world (faith is belief in God's true but often unseen things) ... 3) There is willingness to hear and sing a new song (yep, the ultimate and permanently-appropriate music from the throne of God) ... 4) There is acknowledgement/acceptance/participation of God's sufficiency and authority to get His plan rolling and send my plan packing, ... 5) There is understanding that as God's chosen "kingdom of priests" we must continually be a place where people connect with God (those tribes, peoples and nations meet Jesus through God's saints), ... and 6) We worship (that is the reaction of the 24 elders to what is happening ... submission in worship).  So saints ... what is competing with your following the actions above?  Is it your schedule, your plans, your recreation or just your stubbornness?  For me it can be all of the above, but if I want the fullness of life in God's plan, life in sainthood seems to be a way to that plan.  And all of your movie goers ... Jesus didn't say emulate Bill Murray ... Jesus said "follow Me!"  Randy

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