What is a “saint”? The Bible declares all who have trusted in the blood of Christ to save them, “A Saint”.
Hagios is the Greek word for saint. It means separated ones; “holy ones”. As believers we have been given a special position. God has made us members of His family. We are separated from sin and separated unto the Lord.
Believers are saints by position not by personal merit. We are not made holy because of what we have accomplished but by what God has accomplished. It is nothing we do to separate ourselves from sin but what the Father does.
1Thesolonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As we look at the question of what is a saint; One of the first things people associate with a saint is righteousness. The church of Corinth was not known as a moral church. They were permissive in their moral conduct and characterized as shallow with many divisions and contentions. Even with all these shortcoming Paul still called these believers saints.
1Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
How could these poor examples of Christians be considered saints when they were living such amoral lives.
They were sanctified in Christ Jesus. Therefore these Corinthians were saints because they were in Christ; they had been “accepted in the beloved.” What is sanctification? It means to separate , to set apart as holy unto God. It is a term that designates ownership. As believers they belong to God. Because they belong to God they are called saints, not because of their actions.
God sees man only two ways. Either as lost sinners or saved saints. Sinners become saints when they place their trust in Christ for salvation, so that God now no longer sees them in their sinful selves, but in Christ. As saints we are separated from that which is common & unclean. God has set us apart from sin so that we may serve and have fellowship with Him.
The Power of a Word
Many words lose their power or true meaning because we use the words differently in the present, then the way the word was originally used, that is why going back to the Greek root word can help us better understand the true meaning of the word.
The word “saint” is a good example of this because in modern day terms we think of a saint as a person characterized by good and moral deeds such as Mother Teresa or someone who has done a deed worth remembering and therefore classified as a “saint”.
If you make a study of the Pauline Epistles, you will see he refers to the saints almost every where he goes. It becomes quite clear; this is not a small group of elite believers but ALL believers.
Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
1Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints