When I think of the word saint, certain images flash within the recesses of my mind. I think of an icon like the one to the left. I think of St. Patrick, with his special holiday, and all of the other feast days. I think of people who did fantastical things by faith, whether it be to drive out all the snakes of Ireland (though that probably didn’t happen) or sold all of his belongings upon reading the story of the Rich Man and live as a poor man so he could follow Jesus more closely (St. Francis).
Basically when I hear the word saint, I think of the definition one finds when they type the word into Google, “A saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness, or likeness to God.”
This image of a saint becomes problematic when reading Paul’s epistles because he refers to all of the believers in Corinth as “saints” (at least in the NRSV translation). And yes, these are the same believers he is about to wail into about how they exclude some from the Lord’s Table or how some think they are better than others because they can speak in tongues.
Paul opens his letter to the very same people he is going to correct for acting wrongly, for sinning, by telling them they are called to be saints, to live the life of a sanctified one.
This is because he has a different understanding of what it meant to be a saint or sanctified. For Paul being sanctified meant one was “set apart” for God.
The Corinthians were saints because they were called to be part of God’s people. God set them apart from the rest of the world by claiming those people as her own.
The goal then is to live a life worthy to what God has called us to. And that my friends is where we continue our sermon series,
At The Table, this Sunday.
I hope to see you at 9:00 or 10:45AM for worship at FCC.