To those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
–1 Corinthians 1:2-3
Had I written 1 Corinthians, I would have lit into those Corinthians right away for all the things they were doing. For example, they were tolerating one of their own congregation who was living in fornication with his stepmother, and many at the church were getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper. I would have rebuked them right away. But Paul was much wiser. He began his letter by discussing their position in Christ: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1:2-3).
Notice that Paul addressed the Corinthians as “those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling” (v. 2). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been sanctified. That word means you have been set apart for a special purpose. You see, a “saint” is not somebody who has been voted on by some ecclesiastical body and whose image we hang on the rearview mirror for good luck. A saint is somebody who has been set apart by God for a unique purpose. If you are a Christian, you are a saint. Have you ever thought of yourself that way? It is important to understand that you have not only been saved by God, but you have also been selected by God for a unique purpose.
Paul had a method to using the term “saint.” He was hoping that by reminding the Corinthians of their position in Christ, he could encourage them to start acting in a way that was consistent with who they were in Christ. I remember reading about a pastor’s son who had been caught shoplifting. The pastor was playing golf with some of his buddies when he got the call, so he asked his friends to go with him down to the police station to visit his son. Years later, the son said, “What made the greatest impression on me that afternoon was what my father’s friends said to me: ‘Having a father like you have, how could you have done what you did?’” Paul was saying we ought to keep in mind who our heavenly Father is. And when we understand who our heavenly Father is, it helps us to know how to behave.
In fact, that leads to the theme of 1 Corinthians: our position in Christ should motivate us to live like Christ. We are saints of the almighty God. We ought to live in that same way.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Answers to Tough Questions” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.