This week’s devotions are based on the Week 7 “Explore God” – Can I Know God Personally? (WATCH HERE)
How do you become a saint?
Today in the historic Christian church year is “All Saints Day.” In the 1500s when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Catholic Church in Wittenberg, Germany, he did so on October 31, 1517, knowing people would come to church on November 1 in observance of All Saints Day. This was a day where the saints of the church were honored and the relics connected to them were put on display.
The saints that were honored and recognized were ones that had “earned” the title by a great performance in life, a miracle attributed to them, and recognition by the Pope of the supernumerary works. In essence the saints were individuals who got a straight pass to heaven (do not go to purgatory) because the amount of their good works were determined to give them life in heaven AND they actually had extra works that the church could assign to you or a loved one if you paid the right price. Their status was revered and their performance was one to emulate.
But the very thing that people came to church to honor is what Luther was challenging on November 1, 1517. The question was if the status of “saint” was one that was earned through life of good works or if it was one that was given by the grace of God. As we looked at yesterday, Luther was becoming convinced that a saint was not one that the church deemed a perfect person by their life of performance, but one that God gave the title of saints because he applied to them, by faith, the perfect life of Jesus Christ.
The church at the time of Luther was encouraging and challenging every sinner to strive for sainthood. If they didn’t quite get there in this life, they could keep working at it in purgatory.
Sadly this mindset is still around…even in our own hearts. We find ourselves more in “control” when we can determine our destiny by our performance. It happens in sports. It happens at work. It happens in the classroom. The harder you work, the higher status you achieve. Wouldn’t it make sense that God would operate this way? To us, yes, it would make sense.
But reason doesn’t always drive the will of God. God’s love for sinners does. God knows that there is no one perfect, not even one. He does not lower the standard of perfection, but rather upholds it and then chooses to do something no one could have determined. He gives perfection to those who believe in him. He MAKES us a saint, in spite of our performance. This status is one that is graciously and legally ours.
Heb 10:12–14 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Romans 4:4-5 Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5 However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.
So, today as we observe “All Saints Day” we can joyfully realize that our status before God is one of “SAINT”! This title is evidence of the gracious goodness of God that was willing to embark on the task of a perfect life so we could be given the status of sainthood.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Enjoy your relationship with God today. You are a saint because of Jesus!
Apply: What makes it hard to embrace the status God has given you as “saint”?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for making me a saint through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection! AMEN.