by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
“Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household.” (Philippians 4:21-22)
The apostle Paul typically began and ended most of his church epistles with greetings to and from “the saints.” The context in each case shows that this term was applied to all those who were “in Christ Jesus”—that is, all true Christians. The Greek word hagios meant essentially those people or things that are set aside or consecrated to the Lord. It is frequently translated “holy” and can be applied to objects dedicated to the Lord, as in Hebrews 9:24 (“holy places made with hands”).
The term is applied also to Old Testament believers. At the time of Christ’s resurrection, we are told that “many bodies of the saints which slept arose” (Matthew 27:52).
Although “saints” should be altogether godly and righteous as well as set aside to the Lord, that is not necessarily always how they act. Thus, special men have been called by God (i.e., pastors, teachers, etc.) “for the perfecting of the saints” (Ephesians 4:12).
Some of these latter have been given the supposedly exclusive right to be called saints by the Catholic church. Other than “St. Mary” and “St. Peter,” the best known of these may be “St. Patrick,” the so-called “patron saint” of Ireland. Patrick was certainly a very zealous missionary, largely responsible for the conversion of the Irish from paganism back in the early fifth century, and all we know about him would confirm that he was indeed a “saint” in the true biblical sense.
Since the sole biblical criterion to be classed as “His saints” is “them that believe,” that includes us! That being the case, should we not be zealous to see that our lives are such as “becometh saints” (Ephesians 5:3)? HMM