Dear Saints of First Lutheran,
The popular image of a “saint” is quite varied. We laud Jesus’ apostles as “saints.” These witnesses to all Jesus said and did while He lived among us led Saints Matthew, Mark, and Luke to write the gospels … Saint Paul also witnessed our Lord’s work firsthand. Some hold up other men and women of outstanding Christian character as “saints.” Saints Augustine, Jerome, and Cyprian are often called out in the Book of Concord for their work in the early church. Today, we celebrate another group of “saints.” Those who have gone before us in faith and now live in eternity with God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven. All of these people are truly “saints.” However, we don’t often think of ourselves as “saints.” Yet, that is exactly what we are … we are “living saints!”
Each of us are “saints” in Christ’s Holy Church. What makes us saints? Martin Luther writes, “Not on account of the external work, but on account of the Word that makes us all saints.” In our baptisms, God our Father declares each of us righteous in His sight on account of Jesus Christ’s work on our behalf. St. John reminds us, “Beloved, we are God’s Children NOW.” (1 John 3:2) As God’s Children, the Holy Spirit, dwells within us. He calls us to Him. He enables us to believe in God’s Word and His promises. He makes us holy as we live out our lives in His grace and mercy as a gift from Him.
As saints, living in the world, we are also still sinners – simultaneously saint and sinner. John finishes his statement on being “God’s Children now” saying, “What we will be has not yet appeared, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2) While we are God’s Children, we don’t look any different than those around who aren’t. We may not feel any different either. But, we know we are different. We are forgiven … washed clean by the blood of Christ. We are also being made holy (sanctified) … by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when Christ returns to bring us into His Kingdom, the Holy Spirit will have finished His work on us. We will be holy. We will be like Jesus. And, we will see Jesus face-to-face, in the flesh, as He truly is. We will be part of the “… great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb … crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” (Revelation 7:9, 10)
In this vision we see “all the saints” … all who believe, including our loved ones who’ve gone before us and ourselves. All of us will be gathered as God’s people to Him, living in eternity as He intended … fully saints. Believing this promise in faith gives us hope … in this hope we are blessed … now, tomorrow, and for eternity.
In God’s Peace,