Saturday, March 12, 2016

Are you a saint?

The presiding pastor-for-life of the Catholic church had to make an announcement regarding concerns about their half-million-dollar process for determining “sainthood.”  He has assured everyone that the process will now be “overseen.”

Where to begin?

Let’s start with what “sainthood” actually is, according to the Bible, which most ostensibly “Christian” organizations claim as the Authority for beliefs and doctrines.

“Saint” is a 17th century word, found in the King James translation, which is usually rendered as “holy one” in modern revisions.  It’s root is the same as the words “sanctify” and “sanctification,” words which relate to a process of making something, or someone, “holy,” a term most scholars understand to mean “set apart for God.” 

The Word indicates that it is He, alone, who sanctifies.  God is the Authority for holiness, not man, the corrupted creature.  (Ex. 31:13)

The first instance of this recorded is in Genesis, when He sanctified the seventh day—set it apart as a holy day, different from the rest.  (A “Pope” actually decided to change this appointed time, a sin Martin Luther and other “reformers” neglected to address.  Yeah, I can hear the knees jerking.)

The Old (or first) Testament uses the term “saint” (holy one) often to refer to God’s angels--often enough, in fact, to lead many to interpret the term in every OT reference as meaning only the heavenly beings who remained obedient.  This breaks down when we come to the Psalms, where David (“a man after God’s own heart”) repeatedly uses it to refer to God’s people—the chosen nation, as well as obedient believers.   (Ps. 16:3, Ps. 31:23, Ps. 34:9, Ps. 37:28, Ps. 50:5, Ps. 79:2, and Ps. 97:10.)

When we come to the New Testament (and Covenant) we find the term commonly applied to followers (obedient believers) of the Messiah.  Paul explains, in detail, exactly how one is sanctified.  (1 Cor. 1:2, 30, 6:12, 1 Thess. 4:10, Eph. 5:26, Heb. 2:11, 10:10, 14, 13:12)  Jesus made it pretty clear, also. (Jn. 10:36, 17:17, 19)

At no point in the Scriptures is there even a hint that a committee is convened to determine who may be considered sanctified, or holy.
When an early church decided there was a dividing line between “ministers” and “laity”—that some had authority to preach, teach, baptize, and marry, while others did not, Jesus, in His letters to the seven churches, referred to this doctrine TWICE as one He hates.  (Rev. 2:6, 15) Want to be found following that policy?

Since the Holy Spirit had not been seen manifesting many miracles since the deaths of the first disciples, the folks who invented “organized” religion decided that miracles must be the indicator of true holiness.  Since Scripture requires more than one witness to establish truth, more than one miracle must be required, and, since all unholy men are liars, there must be a rigorous investigation to assure the report of any miracle is true.  This is the same spirit which “inspired” the Inquisition.

So, a system was devised whereby admittedly non-saints (unholy ones) formed into committees to determine who was deserving of the title.  Not surprisingly, we now hear reports that this has been developed into a small industry, which the organization’s CEO has had to assure us will at last be supervised.  By saints?  Oh, my, we hope so.

When we believers are exhorted to “pray always for all the saints,” we are not supposed to be praying for those few on whom some committee has bestowed the “title.”  That injunction applies to all those made holy by the blood of Jesus on behalf of all the others. 

Don’t neglect to do it.  All of us saints need it.