This came to me again this morning, as it has many times over the years, while I was reading Romans 1:
“To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints…” Romans 1:7a MEV
Saint is one of those terms most commonly musunderstood. It is the title of any true believer, coming from the word holy in the Greek. It means holy one. We are all called to be holy ones. The following is an edited portion of the intro to Writing in Holiness.
How does holiness apply to me as an author?
The church has been confused about this for many decades. If you ask most strongly believing Christians what is meant by holiness or sanctification (both use the same word in the Greek), they will say, “Set apart.” If you ask them what that means you often get puzzled looks.
Holiness (in Strong’s Concordance): hagioasmos; means 1. consecration, purification
( hagios ): Sacred (physically pure, morally blameless, ceremonially consecrated)
Vine’s Expository Dictionary puts it this way: Sanctification is about the separation of the believer from evil things and ways… it must be learned from God… and it must be pursued by the believer, earnestly and undeviatingly… it is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as the result of obedience to the Word of God…
So, we are called to be physically pure and morally blameless. That is holiness. This is the end result of sanctification. This is what the Lord is focused on as we go through our trials and tribulations—the discipline talked about in Hebrews 12. That act of love from a loving father designed to make us righteous and holy…resulting in the peaceful fruit of righteousness, as we are told at the end of the passage about that discipline just mentioned.
We are holy because of His presence within each one of us
Jesus is the Word of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit as we study the scriptures after thoughtful prayer for wisdom and guidance. But we must never forget that Jesus is the core of it all. As we are obedient to Him, we learn holiness. As Peter quoted, “You shall be holy, for I am Holy.” He was quoting something the Lord said through Moses centuries earlier. What Moses had not foreseen was the mystery of the Church. Especially the part where we are made holy by His Holiness residing within us, in our spirits. He works His way out through our soul as we allow it and eventually shows us how to purify our flesh.