God makes holy those who trust Him. He sets them apart for Himself so that they are no longer condemned because their sins are forgiven. They are now called saints, an English word for ‘holy ones’. Contrary to popular belief, a saint is not someone who lived an exceptionally holy life and died. No church can make anyone a saint. In 2 Thessalonians, saints are described as ‘them that believed.’ All the redeemed are called ‘saints’ (Jude 1:14). If by faith you have trusted Christ as your Saviour you are a saint.
Saints Are Holy
Those who are saints positionally are expected to live a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). New believers quickly find that, although they desire to live a holy life, godly living is very difficult to put into practice, because they still have sinful attitudes. Thankfully, at conversion the Holy Spirit takes up residence in each believer to help the new life (1 Corinthians 6:19). Additionally, God is not only interested in forgiving sins, He is also concerned to deliver us from the power of sinning, and deal with the wrong attitudes of heart from which sinful actions spring. God is in the process of making us practically holy in our day to day walk, a process which is called sanctification.
Paul informed Titus that salvation involves a ‘washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit’ (Titus 3:5-6). A once-for-all-time complete ‘cleansing’, a bathing all over, took place at the moment of salvation. Jesus illustrated this in the upper room when washing the disciple’s feet. In reply to Peter’s request to be bathed all over, He said, ‘He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean’ (John 13:10). There is only one bathing all over (or washing of regeneration), which takes place at conversion and never needs to be repeated. Thereafter saints need only to wash their feet. Because in this unholy world every believer picks up dirt, has unholy thoughts, he needs daily to have his feet cleansed by the word of God and prayer. ‘Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God’ (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Saints are called to shine like lights in a dark unholy world, living holy lives empowered by the Holy Spirit, prayer and the word of God. When the Lord Jesus returns, God will cleanse the world of wickedness and judge every man according to his works. ‘Anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Revelation 20:15). The current universe having passed away, there will be a new heaven and earth where God will presence Himself with men. In that future day, all God’s people and the earth will be filled with His holiness.