The Reading: Ephesians 1:1, 15-23
“To all the saints …” (v. 1) RSV
Not all people are saints, though of course many people are very good. Maybe we tend to think that only first class Christians are saints, those who have lived exceptionally good or generous lives, and in particular those who have died for their faith.
We may also call people saints even if they make no specific claim to be Christians and yet their lives are exceptionally good and ‘saintly’.
But in the Bible there is not a single saint! I use the word advisedly, for the word is never used in the singular. In fact it uses the word ‘saints’ in a very particular way. It does not use it to describe people of virtue, but people of faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul writes to many churches and always refers to the believers as ‘saints’. Yet so often he is writing because the churches and the people in them are in a mess or falling short of their high calling. They are all therefore regarded as ‘saints’ whether good ones or bad ones. The reason they are called ‘saints’ is because that is how God views them. He sees them not a sinners or merely humans, but as his children, clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Galations 3:26-27).
We too need to adopt a positive attitude towards ourselves. Let’s see ourselves as God sees us, rather than being depressed by our weaknesses and failures. A great sculptor once said that when faced by a large lump of rock or marble he did not see a shapeless and rough mass, but he saw the object to be carved already inside; it was his job to set it free through hammer and chisel. God also sees who we are in Christ and he will bring that potential to the light of day.
Dear Lord, you have such faith in me, more than I have myself. Help me to let you have your way in me and make me into the saint that in Christ I already am. Amen.
1 What should our attitude be to ALL believers?
2 Were there ‘saints’ in the Old Testament?