Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians while in Ephesus after he heard of some issues plaguing the church. The issues Paul deals with in 1 Corinthians are the same issues we deal with today, which is why this is such a good book for the modern day church to study.
However, before Paul dives into the issues, he reminds the Corinthians, and subsequently us, of who we are in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 1:2 Paul writes:
“To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” (1 Cor. 1:2)
Based on 1 Corinthians 1:2, the second thing we learn is that:
(3) Those who are in Christ are Saints
In the middle of verse 2, Paul says that we are:
“called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Cor. 1:2c)
Paul doesn’t beat around the bush. He flat out says that we are all called to be Saints.
What does it mean to be saint?
The Catholic Church doesn’t have the market cornered on saints. A Saint is someone who is set apart to live for God. Since all Christians are set apart to live for God, all Christians are saints.
Saints because sin no longer holds us back
We are all saints — we all can live for God — because sin no longer holds us back.
When I was in college, I had a passion for rock climbing. We had a nice climbing wall in our Rec Center at the University of Georgia, and we lived within a few hours drive of the best climbing in the Southeast. Needless to say I climbed all the time.
I remember one day I was climbing on a route in Tennessee at Foster Falls. A route that was a too advanced for me, but one I attempted anyways. While working the route, I hurt my shoulder. Not real bad, but I hurt it. Instead of resting my shoulder for a week or so, I decided to climb the next day. When I did, the small shoulder injury I had turned into a major shoulder injury. One that kept me from climbing for a long time.
Just as my shoulder injury once held me back from climbing, our sin once held us back from living for God. No matter how hard we tried, before we turned our lives over to Jesus, we couldn’t live a life that pleased God. It was impossible because our sin held us back.
Set free to live for God
When we became Christians, however, Jesus sets us free from sin, so that now we are able to live for God. That is exactly what God expects from us. He expects us to live for Him, to desire to and strive to become more and more like Christ each and everyday. Which is possible because we are saints who have been freed from the grip of sin.
Questions for Reflection
- Do you think of yourself as a saint?
- Do you believe you can live a holy life?
Post adapted from my sermon Who Are We In Christ?