Who is a Saint?

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Lutheran Christians observe All Saints Day for the purpose of remembering those saints who have departed from this life and joined the Church triumphant. Heaven and earth, strife and victory, are in our thoughts as we sing:

"For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confest,
Thy name, o Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!" L.H. 463:1,4

Who are these saints? Are they a rare class of people, extraordinarily blameless, whose good works the world applauds? They may be a rare group, for there is little faith to be found. Among them may be exemplary people, who with God?given strength aspired to do good. But the world very rarely thanks such people. Many benevolent people, who have been highly esteemed by the world, have been self?righteous and have denied God's Son.

What then is it, that makes a person a saint?

Paul addresses the recipients of his epistle to the Corinthians as "the church of God which is at Corinth, those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling" (1 Cor. 1:2). In the eyes of men they were often despised. Many of them were slaves. There weren't many people of noble birth in the congregations at that time. Their past life was of such a nature that it caused them shame after they came to faith. Even as believers their nature had its flaws, and there was much about them that had to be tolerated and forgiven, even though they no longer were of the world.

Yet despite all this, they were saints. As baptized believers in Jesus Christ they possessed His holiness. The blood of Jesus, God's Son cleansed them from all sin.

So we too, although corrupt by nature, are holy in God's sight and acceptable to Him through faith being baptized into Christ.

Faith in Jesus produces good works that are acceptable to God. These good works are not extraordinary works such as pilgrimages, or contributions given to some charity to appease the conscience. Faith in Jesus results in a life continually lived in conformity to our faith, during the week as well as on Sunday, at work or when relaxing, as husband and wife, child and parent, as long as each one sanctifies all this with faith and prayer.