What's a Saint?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Davyboy, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. Davyboy

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    There are a great many opinions in answer to the question, "What’s a saint? Many individual Christian-professing people, have a wide variety of interpretations, and I would like to hear those interpretations
     
  2. J. Jump

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    Great question Davyboy. I think the Bible defines a saint as one that has believed in the substitutionary death and shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, Who died and shed His blood on behalf of sinners. Those that believe are saved. So a saint must be saved, but on top of that a saint as the Bible explains it is a person that is eternally saved that is walking in the Spirit as their practice. They are denying self, overcoming the flesh, the world and Satan. They are obedient to Christ's commandments. They are abiding in His Word. They are loving their neighbor as theirself.
     
  3. thjplgvp

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    Scripturally a saint is a holy one. It is the Greek word hagios meaning the holy one, pure, blameless, separated, consecrated etc. Interestingly after Acts 21:16 disciple is not used again in the N.T. believers are always referred to as saint or saints.

    thjplgvp

    :type:
     
  4. Hope of Glory

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    I agree that saints are always believers, but not all believers are saints. As J. Jump said, they are walking in such a way that their lives exhibit things that let people know who they're living for. Not everyone who is saved lives their lives the way they shoud, nor do many even try or care to do so.
     
  5. EdSutton

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    I do not agree, here, with part of this. All saints are believers; all believers are saints. Let's not lose sight of this, merely because some saints don't appear to be 'all that saintly'. That is indeed regrettable, and unfortuantely brings reproach to the name of Christ, but that is still an entirely different issue from who is a saint.

    Ed
     
  6. J. Jump

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    If that statement is true then all believers are a part of the bride of Christ and all believers will rule and reign with Christ in the coming kingdom, so that means I don't have to fear the Lord. I don't have to obey His commandments or anything else and I still get all the benefits the faithful Christians get without having to give up anything now. I can live like the world and everything will end up okay in the end.

    All saints are believers, but the Bible has many contradictions if all believers are saints.
     
  7. EdSutton

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    Not at all. With all due respect, IMO, you are sticking our modern day concept onto the Biblical term. The word " `'αγιος " means one 'set apart unto God' , (Thayer) in the sense I am speaking and in the sense of I Cor. 1:2. Not only are the Corinthians called saints, they are said to be sanctified, which word is also from the same root as saint. And the members of the body of Christ are set apart unto God, regardless of how they behave. The Corinthians, for all their worldliness, and the only church which is expressly and collectively spoken of as carnal, are called saints, exactly as those in Collossae, Phillipi, Ephesus, and Rome.
    Whether or not all believers "are a part of the bride of Christ" or who does or does not "rule and reign with Christ in the coming kingdom or a couple of other points you have expressed are entirely separate issues.

    But just to toss a bit of petrol (West Texas crude, for those west of the Mississippi) on the fire, where does Scripture say that the church is the bride of Christ, to begin with?? In fact, one cannot even find the phrase "the bride of Christ" in any standard English version of which I'm aware of, off the top of my head, including the ASV, Darby, ESV, HCSB, KJV, NASB, NIV, NJKV, WYC, and YLT. One does find mention of the bride, the wife of the Lamb, twice, in Rev. 19:7 and 21:9, but when the angel said unto John that he would show him the bride, he showed John the New Jerusalem, and where does Scripture ever say that the body of Christ is the New Jerusalem? That too is another question, I guess, but Scripture never says this, that I've seen.

    Ed
     
    #7 EdSutton, Sep 13, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 13, 2006
  8. stan the man

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    The meaning of the terms for "saint" in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin is "holy one." Thus the most basic meaning of "saint" is someone who is in some way holy, sanctified, or consecrated. This explanation covers a lot of ground, as does the range of the term "saint" in the Bible-a fact which is normally obscured in English translations and which I shall discuss below.

    In Scripture the term "saint" is used in the following ways:

    to refer (indiscriminately) to Jews

    to refer (indiscriminately) to Christians

    to refer to notably holy people

    to refer to those in heaven

    to refer to holy angels

    to refer to Jesus

    to refer to God

    It thus has a very broad range of meaning. Often this makes it difficult to catch the precise nuance with which it is being used in a given passage, but the above usages can be positively verified in given passages.
     
  9. stan the man

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    By referring to Jews "indiscriminately" I mean that it is referring to any member of the Jewish people—any Jew—as a saint, irrespective of whether or not that Jew behaves in a holy manner. In other words, it is used as a title accorded to the person on account of his membership in God's holy people, irrespective of whether he himself is holy in his conduct.

    There are many references of this sort in the Old Testament, where the Jews are contrasted as saints to their pagan neighbors, but a good New Testament example is in Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

    "Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Eph. 2:12, 19).
     
  10. stan the man

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    There are many places in the New Testament where the term is used to refer to Christians "indiscriminately"—that is, without reference to whether they are personally holy as individuals, but by virtue of membership in God's holy people.

    This is most obvious in the addresses of Paul's letters, where he applies the term to entire congregations of people, from the least holy member of the congregation to the most holy member. (That there were some whose holiness was deficient is indicated above all in the Corinthian church, to whom he also applies the term.)

    "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia" (2 Cor. 1:1).

    "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 1:1).

    "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons" (Phil. 1:1).

    "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father" (Col. 1:1-2).
     
  11. stan the man

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    One place where I can verify this usage (to refer to notably holy people) is in Matthew's account of the Crucifixion:

    "The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many" (Matt. 27:52-53).

    In this passage, Matthew is not concerned to stress the ethnic identity of the people being raised to life—I can infer that they were Jews since they were buried in the vicinity of Jerusalem. And since they had died before Christ, they were not of the Christian age and hence were not Christians (in the proper sense, anyway).

    As a result, the sanctity to which Matthew wishes to call our attention must not be their membership in God's holy people, but must be a personal holiness.

    This means that, even within a people the Bible describes as "saints," some individuals deserve the title "saint" more than others and have it applied to them in distinction from others in the same group.

    Even though, in one sense, all Jews were saints in the sense that they were all members of God's holy people, some Jews were (and some were not) saints in the sense of being holy individuals in their behavior. In the same way, even though, in one sense, all Christians are saints in the sense that they are all members of God's holy people, some Christians are (and some are not) saints in the sense of being holy individuals in their behavior.

    This validates the modern usage of referring to a specially holy person and saying "So-and-so is a real saint."
     
  12. stan the man

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    There are a number of passages in the Old Testament where the inhabitants of heaven are referred to as saints, and since saved humans were not yet in heaven, this means that they must have been angels. However, this is even more clear in the book of Daniel:

    "I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven" (Dan. 4:13).

    "The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will, and sets over it the lowliest of men" (Dan. 4:17).

    "And whereas the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, 'Hew down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field; and let him be wet with the dew of heaven; and let his lot be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him'" (Dan. 4:23).

    I know in the passages I just cited, I used the term "holy one" instead of "saint." Someone might think "Why did I include these as examples of how the term "saint" is used? Because it is the same term in the original Hebrew or Greek but which is being translated in two different ways in English. In Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and virtually every language except English, there is a single term that gets represented in English as both "saint" and "holy one." When the Hebrew or Greek terms for "saint" appear in the Bible, sometimes the translators render it one way, sometimes the other.
     
  13. stan the man

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    Someone might ask "When is the term "saint" used to refer to Jesus?" The answer is whenever he is referred to as "the Holy One of God."

    "And he [the demoniac] cried out, 'What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God'" (Mark 1:24).

    "Ah! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:34).

    "Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God'" (John 6:67-69).
     
  14. stan the man

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    Some one might question "When is it used to refer to God?" Well, whenever God is referred to as "the Holy One of Israel."

    "I will also praise thee with the harp for thy faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to thee with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel" (Ps. 71:22).

    "They tested him again and again, and provoked the Holy One of Israel" (Ps. 78:41).

    "For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel" (Ps. 89:18).

    "Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged" (Is. 1:4).

    "Summon archers against Babylon, all those who bend the bow. Encamp round about her; let no one escape. Requite her according to her deeds, do to her according to all that she has done; for she has proudly defied the LORD, the Holy One of Israel" (Jer. 50:29).
     
  15. J. Jump

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    Ed I would disagree with you in that I think it is the modern concept to say that everyone is a saint.

    Again I would have to disagree with as the text is written in such a way that it is addressing two separate groups of people. It is written to the church of God at Corinth and then it is also written to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling. Here is the verse in question:

    To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

    It seems to me that two groups are addressed here. Now I will grant you this that it could be addressing the Corinthians as saints because they hadn't come to the point of falling away as yet and we see in II Corinthians that they did start to mature and they were suffering for the cause of Christ, which has to do with the kingdom.

    But even looking at it that way is in line with what HoG and I have been saying. If you are not walking by the Spirit, not keeping His commandments, not walking in the Light, not being holy as He is holy, not overcoming, but being overcome, not dying to self, but living for self then you are not going to be counted among the set apart, because the set apart in question here is not be set apart from the world, but being set apart unto the kingdom. And only those that are eternally saved are even capable of being set apart unto the kingdom.]

    Hope that better explains where I am coming from and I think HoG would agree, but I certainly don't want to put words in his mouth :)

    Again that is true as far as eternal salvation is concerned, but the context in sainthood is the kingdom not eternal salvation.

    I would agree that they are separate issues in regard to eternal salvation, and unfortunately most people don't see that, but sainthood as Scripture deals with it is dealing exactly in these contexts not eternal salvation contexts.

    Ed it is not possible to address this here on the board with any great detail, but to say that if Christ is not married then a great many OT types are broken and several NT teachings as well. Paul tells us in one of his epistles something to the effect that we ought to be living right because he is going to or has joined us to another. I'm having trouble finding the reference, but I will keep looking.

    If you want a more detailed look at your questions please feel free to email me and I can pass along some study material that is very helpful.

    But in the end again the bottom line is, is if everyone is a saint then there is no motivation to live Godly, becuase there is no need, because in the end everyone is going to end up in the same place and my mansion may not be as big as your's is, but who cares. I can't tell you how many times I've heard that excuse for not living right.

    I think where we might be getting our wires crossed is that you are tying sainthood to eternal salvation and I am tying it to kingdom salvation?
     
  16. EdSutton

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    I am merely saying that all believers are saints, specifically in this thread, as to the church. And I would agree that not all saints are members of the body of Christ, as well. There would even be two or three categories of OT saints (Dan. 12:1-2), as well as two or three more, I believe, in the NT, counting those who were living during the time that Christ was on this earth, still under the old covenants, such as Simeon and Anna. In the OT, there were those who were Israelites, as David and Jacob, and even those two are under two different "economies" with one of these two (David) living under the law, and one, Jacob, from whom the very word Israel comes, living before the law. And Abel, Enoch, and Noah, to name three, all were long before Abraham was even called from Ur, with two of them preceding the flood. There are two more, I believe, groups of saints in the NT- those of the 'Tribulation', and those who are saved during the millenium. so I tend to basicaly agree with Stan, above, that the term is a fairly broad one, with many sub-categories. And I think I could find Scripture that supports most of these, explicitly, with the rest implied.

    And I am not in any way not saying that "The Lamb has a wife", for that is explicitly said in the two Revelation passages. He does, certainly! I'm merely questioning as to who the bride is. And contrary to some of my Baptist brethren's views, there simply ain't no such thing as any "Baptist bride" spoken of, or even implied, in Scripture. And I can find little support for whomever is the bride, that the bride is the church, or even any part of the church, either.

    Oh yeah, one more thing! Even if Corinthians is written to two groups, which I don't think, some other epistles and churches are clearly referred to as one, unless you are claiming that the bishops and deacons, in Phillipi were not saints. Although I grant that in too many of our churches, when one "looks for the saints", they, too often, would probably not start with the bishops and deac... :tear:

    Ed
     
    #16 EdSutton, Sep 14, 2006
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  17. EdSutton

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    J. Jump and Stan - I almost forgot! One more thing. I would assume that an individual the Bible calls "righteous" and/or "just", and directly calls them that, three times (as well as that being implied another five times or so), no less, along with Abel, the only two to ever have this tag directly applied three times, with them being second only to the Lord Jesus Christ in this, as Jesus is described with those words four times, and the only individual ever specifically identified as "Godly", would certainly be considered a saint. In fact, I'd tend to suggest that he or she might even be rightly considered the Biblical "saint of saints", and even my 'Biblical hero'. :praying: :thumbsup: Would you, or would you not agree with this? Just wonderin'!

    Ed
     
    #17 EdSutton, Sep 14, 2006
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  18. Hope of Glory

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    Here are a couple of sermons I did on the subject of "Saints" a while back. It's a long lesson, so I did it in two sermons. You can read it, download the pdf, or download the mp3. Just click on the link:

    Saints part 1

    Saints part 2
     
  19. BobRyan

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    Most Christians would say that this is a dead person that the RCC has
    "certified" as so holy that you can pray to them.

    The Bible says it is anyone who is a child of God - who has chosen to follow Christ.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. EdSutton

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    I'm still wondering about this. Anyone??

    Ed
     

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