The definition of a saint: A young boy went with his parents touring around Europe one summer. Part of their tour included visits to the great old cathedrals of the past. As he visited cathedral after cathedral, he was impressed with the massive stained glass portraits of the disciples and of other saints as he stood in their great empty halls looking through the beautiful stained glass windows.
Upon returning home, he was asked by his Sunday School teacher about holiday on the continent and what he liked the most. He thought for a moment of those great churches and their grand windows and he said, “I loved the sense of awe and the hugeness of who God must be, and I loved the stained glass windows with their images of the saints.”
“And what is a saint?” his teacher asked. His mind went back to those beautiful windows and he said, “A saint is a person the light shines through.”
That is a good definition of what a saint of God is supposed to be. We have no light of our own, but like the moon, we are to reflect the light of Jesus to a lost and dying world. (From a sermon by David Moore, It’s Better To Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness, 6/9/2010)
The Bible talks often of saints. We even venerate people who have gone over and above in their faith with that title. But what is a saint and how does one become one?
As young people often do, the boy in our above illustration got it right. A saint is someone who let’s the light shine through. Specifically, of course, we’re talking about the light of Christ. A saint is one who boldly lives a life in Christ, who people can’t help but to notice for their faith and commitment to God.
Saints are those called by Christ to make a kingdom difference in the world, you and I should we take up the call. When Paul started his letter to the believers in Rome, he addressed it “To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). He was speaking to all of those who had chosen Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Who, even under threat of persecution, allowed Christ’s light to shine through them to others.
Saints are also defined by their determination. God calls His saints to be steadfast in faith even in times of trial. In a world that preaches a very different gospel, He expects His saints to stand up for truth and doggedly follow Him no matter the pressure to bow to ungodly passions, “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus Christ” (Revelation 14:12).
“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name” (Psalm 30:4). The saints are those in relationship with Christ who understand His place in their lives and who praise Him for all He has done. They understand the sacrifice he made so that we could be free. They appreciate the commitment shown to us in His humiliation and they rejoice in His promises to us.
Saints are a special breed who believe in only the one true God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). Saints live in the world but are not of the world, they are a new creation in Christ Jesus appointed for good works and willing to go the extra mile for Him, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Saints refuse to be conformed by the world, rather they are transformed by the renewal of their minds that they might know the will of God (Romans 12:2). They are constantly searching for ways to glorify God in their words and actions and they find peace in knowing that He will never leave them or forsake them.
So, now that you know what a saint is, how is your saint training going? Have you taken the steps to sainthood or are you content with other titles? If you struggle in your journey, know that God believes in you and His calling stands. He has called you to greater things and he will wait with open arms for you.
The road to sainthood is hard for all of us in a world that rallies against it, but God has given us all we need to commit. May today be the day you decide to be a saint full time in the service of your Creator. May God’s Holy Spirit show you the way to true peace and unending grace. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help us along our path to sainthood. Instill in us everything we need to make our commitment to you. May your light shine through us so much that it lights the path for others. Amen.