Taken from the intimation sheet: 26 October 2014
I spoke at the Youth Emphasis service last Sunday evening about our identity as saints in Christ. When we come to faith in Jesus, we are ‘set-apart’ as God’s people; we are cleansed in His eyes, made new, and kept as His holy people for His holy purposes. Saints are not morally perfect people, nor are they super-Christians who died a long time ago. All believers are, by the grace of God, saints. It is a glorious title which ought to offer every Christian comfort and joy.
This was a truth reclaimed by the Church at the time of the Reformation. Our society celebrates Halloween this Friday, but it’s also Reformation Day – the day that Luther is said to have nailed his 95 Theses to the Church door in Wittenberg in 1517.
“The Scripture names the faithful, saints and people of God. It is a sin and shame that we should forget this glorious and comfortable name and title…”
Martin Luther, Tabletalk ‘Of Justification CCXCII
And yet Luther also warned against a false kind of ‘sainthood’ where God’s people feel the need to pretend to be perfect:
“May a merciful God preserve me from a Christian Church in which everyone is a saint! I want to be and remain in the church and little flock of the fainthearted, the feeble and the ailing, who feel and recognize the wretchedness of their sins, who sigh and cry to God incessantly for comfort and help, who believe in the forgiveness of sins.”
Martin Luther, in Luther’s Works (St. Louis, 1957), XXII:55.
We are saints – and we must strive to live in a manner consistent with our new identity, but not at the expense of authenticity. We have not arrived! We are the ‘little flock of the fainthearted, the feeble and the ailing’ we are those who must continue to cry out to God to show his strength in our weakness.
Let’s pray that we would be a people who continue to rejoice in our identity in Christ, a community of saints growing in holiness, and a fellowship which is honest and open about its weakness and need.
Yours in Christ Jesus