Sunday, November 1, 2020

Today, remembering all the saints, we read the Beatitudes. I want to remind you first about what we understand of saints in our Christian tradition. In the New Testament, the word ‘saint’ is used for ALL Christians. In Ephesus, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1). In the New Testament, the word “saint” is never used to refer to the best, or most faithful Christians. The idea that there is a group of super Christians who are called saints is not how we understand about saints. So, what is a saint? according to the New Testament, a saint is one who has been “sanctified” by baptism into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul writes to the church in Corinth, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). See here that the words “sanctified” and “justified”. Sanctification which means ‘to be made holy’ and justification, meaning ‘to be made just’ are not two separate actions of God but one. A saint is a Christian, one who has been made holy by Christ. So, ALL Christians are saints, every Christian is a saint if we use the term regarding the New Testament. So, it is a day to celebrate that all of us are sanctified in Christ Jesus not by our own merits, but by the free grace of God in Jesus. It is a day to remember those saints who are living now. It is a day to remember those saints who have died in Christ, especially those very dear to us and those who have died in the past year. And very sadly, because of the pandemic, there may be more saints who have died this year than in other years.