Can a person do enough good deeds to be considered a saint? Can a person be a saint but still sin? Can a person be considered a Christian but not be considered a saint? Should saints be prayed to? Who decides whether or not a person should be called a saint? Is the only saint you can think of a player for the New Orleans football team? Do you know the answer to these questions? Within this relatively short article it is my aim to answer the above questions clearly and scripturally…except for maybe that New Orleans one.
Can a person do enough good deeds to be considered a saint? No. A person does not earn the title of saint like they earn a merit badge. A person can no more earn his or her “sainthood” than he or she earns their salvation. Saints make good deeds a part of life; good deeds in life, in and of themselves, do not make saints and that includes “working miracles” (Romans 12:13; 16:1,2; Hebrews 6:9,10).
Can a person be a saint and still sin? Yes. Being a saint does not mean being perfect! Saints are not perfect people – saints are people being perfected through the work of God (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:8-17). Was Peter, Paul, Barnabas, Silas or any of the other apostles perfect? Who (biblically speaking) would dare not to call them a saint? (Ephesians 3:7,8) Saints are not sinners, but saints are not sinless through their own actions (1 John 3).
Can a person be considered a Christian but not be considered a saint? Ever heard someone say, “They were a good Christian…but they were no saint”? The idea that places a distinction between someone being a Christian and a saint is foreign to the New Testament scriptures. The Biblical definition of saint according to Strong’s is, “sacred, blameless, consecrated, and holy.” It comes from two different words which meant, “clean, innocent, modest, chaste, pure” and “to foster, cherish.” Read that definition again and answer these questions:
Are Christians not told to live blamelessly? (2 Peter 3:14)
Do Christians not follow a consecrated way? (Hebrews 10:20)
Are Christians not holy? (1 Peter 1:16)
Are Christians not cleansed? (Acts 22:16; 1st Corinthians 6:9-11)
Get the point? Saints are not an elevated class of Christians. Saints are Christians and Christians are saints one in the same.
Should saints be prayed to? Many people with good intentions and sincerity have been taught that “the saints” can and should be prayed to as mediators. This is a case where sincerity can lead a person to be sincerely wrong. There is one Mediator in prayers to Almighty God and it is not Mary or any other person than Jesus the Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). The Bible teaches that saints are to pray through a Mediator, not to be prayed to as a mediator. I firmly believe that a saint of God goes to be with God after this life is over, but the scriptures nowhere teach that saints who have passed on act as mediators to God. When Paul said one I believe he meant one.
Finally, who decides whether or not a person gets to wear the name saint? Is it a council of some manmade church “hierarchy” that uses their own checklist of manmade doctrines that decides whether or not a person should be considered a saint? Read the New Testament! Look at the number of times the word saint is used. The Bible teaches the Lord will return with ten thousands of His saints! (Jude 14) Who voted to make them saints? Where was the deciding council then? It was in the same place then that it is today – Heaven! The blood of Christ gives someone the right to wear the name saint. The blood of Christ cleanses souls. Jesus’ blood joins a person to God’s kingdom as citizens of Heaven, as Christians, and as saints (Ephesians 2:8-22; Philippians 3:20).
With these things in mind now can you name a saint that does not play professional football? Can you look in the mirror and see a saint staring back? If you are a Christian you can! You may not have a book in the New Testament named after you, but if the blood of Christ has been applied to your sins then your name is in the book of life (Acts 2:36-47). EA