Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sainthood in Christ Alone

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.”
Jude 1:24-25

 Last night I was privy to a conversation between my Catholic sister and her daughter that just made me shake my head. Here is how the conversation when:

Lucy asked her mom, “What does it take to be a saint?” To her question, my sister answered, “Well you have to be a really good person.” Then after thinking a while, her daughter retorted, “Did you ever try to become a saint?”

From within the simple questions of my niece, the struggle of mankind can be found. We seek to be restored, but be know instinctively that on our own it is impossible. Even those that the Catholic church can call “saints” were still sinners. And, if we are to look at Peter as just one example, who is considered a saint in the Roman Catholic church, we find a man who was anything but “a really good person when you get down to his inherent nature. For some reason when we look at people who have done great and holy things, our human flaw of forgetfulness kicks in. We tend to forget that Peter was the man that Jesus was speaking towards when He said, “Get behind me Satan.”, and Peter was also the sane man who denied Jesus three times at the time when his Savior needed him most.

In doing some research on he word “saint” in the New Testament, the word used is “hágios” and it defines a person who is set apart and devoted to God – one who “shares in God's purity”. Internally, I have always had a conflict this the word “saint” because I grew up Catholic and a lot of the things my sister was trying to tell my niece about the requirements for becoming a saint, are things the Lord has had to deprogram out of me with His truth. The reality of who can establish “sainthood”, in the eyes of the Lord, Who is the only one whose requirements we should desire to meet, is expressed well in the following verses from Hebrews 10.

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” Hebrews 10:11-14

If all we needed to do is “be a really good person” to be saintly in the eyes of the Lord, then what need would we have for the cross? What need would we have for Jesus? To truly be a saint in the eyes of the Lord we must be covered by the blood of Christ in front of a God who has the nature of goodness, mercy, judgment, and grace just as we talked about over this past week as we have been studying God's attributes.

So, to take the opportunity to answer my niece's question myself, “Lucy, becoming a saint requires you to see your sinful nature, to allow the blood of Jesus to cover you and humble you, to understand that you are never good enough on your own to earn merit with the Lord, and then to keep on going forward as the Lord asks you knowing that in the end it will be the work of the cross alone that will bring you into eternal sainthood.”

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