Saturday, May 6, 2017 – Called to be “Saints”

Daily Bible Reading: 1 Kings 21-22, Luke 23:26-56

Today’s reading in The Story begins on page 432 with these words, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set…” and ends on page 437.  Romans 1:1-4, 7, 16-17; 3:19-28; 4:1-8; 5:1-11; 6:23; 8:1-4, 12-18, 28, 31-39; 12:1-8, 23-29; 15:23-33

Romans 1:7 (NIV) To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Two expressions stand out in the opening words of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians:

“Loved by God” and “called to be saints”

I get the loved part.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son….”  I’m in God’s world, therefore, God loves me.  The evidence of His  love is His Son, crucified and risen for me (and you too!).  I get that and I am grateful for that.

BUT the “called to be saints”, that’s a different story.

You’ve probably never thought of yourself as a “saint”.  I suspect when people think of “saints” they are thinking of people of renown.  People like the beloved apostle Paul, who gave his life as a missionary for the sake of the Gentiles.  Maybe you think of Stephen (Acts 6-7), who was martyred for his faith.  Surely, any and all of the disciples/apostles (minus Judas, of course) come to mind. Martin Luther, the great reformer, who 500  years ago this October 31st, started the great reformation.  In our day and time, Mother Teresa, and many, many others whose names point us to lives they lived for God and others, all in the name of Christ.

But you might be surprised if you look through entire Bible you’d find that the Psalms reference the “saints” of the LORD numerous times.  Here are a few:

Psalm 16:3 (NIV) As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

Psalm 30:4 (NIV) Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.

Psalm 31:23 (NIV) Love the LORD, all his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but the proud he pays back in full.

Psalm 34:9 (NIV) Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

Psalm 149:9 (NIV) “….This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD.

When the Psalmist is writing, he is talking people who are alive, not dead, and they are people just like you and me.

In Paul’s letters, you’ll find them alive, living in the church at Rome…

Romans 1:7 (NIV) To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

You’ll encounter saints at the church in Corinth…

1 Corinthians 14:33 (NIV) For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,

2 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) All the saints send their greetings.

You’ll meet them in Ephesus…

Ephesians 1:1 (NIV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Saints were among the citizens of Philippi…

Philippians 1:1 (NIV) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons:

Among the believers at Colossae…

Colossians 1:12 (NIV) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

And tomorrow, look around the place where you worship and you’ll see them there, too.  In fact, the next time you look in the mirror, don’t be shocked, but you’ll be looking at a saint.  How can this be?  It’s true.  You are a saint, by the grace of God and your faith is evidence of your “sainthood”.  And like the Christians in Rome, you, too, are …

Romans 1:7 (NIV) “…loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you, God my Father for loving me for the sake of Christ Your Son.  I am by grace through faith one of Your saints, a holy one, sanctified by Your Holy Spirit, and now I have peace with You through my Savior Jesus Christ, who loved me and gave Himself for me!  May I never forget or forsake my calling in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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