Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 2

Yesterday we looked at the word saints and how the Lord continually used it to describe each of us that have been redeemed by the blood of His Son.  As you will recall, the word translated saints (hágios) means “holy, with the idea of separation, consecration, sanctification, and devotion to God” and is the standard name in the New Testament God uses to describe believers.  The verse we are using to help focus our prayers is Ephesians 2:19 which reads:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

But for many of us, the idea of being called a saint is unsettling and uncomfortable.  Why?  Because we view sainthood as perfection or something like a title given to someone far closer to the Lord than we are or who has done something for Him much greater than anything we have ever done.  And that is unfortunate.  Not that we haven’t accomplished what some heroes of the faith have accomplished.  What is unfortunate is our faulty view of how the Lord sees us in His Son.  For Him, we are saints, and that should settle the issue once and for all, no matter how uncomfortable we may feel.  But you and I both know that it doesn’t.

So maybe this will help.

If you feel your past sins keep you from ever being called a saint, you are in good company.  Many, if not most, believers today feel being referred to as a saint is something earned or deserved and not something given by grace.  But following the same logic, they would also have to conclude salvation must also be earned.  And if that was the case I, for one, would be in deep water.  Why?  Because all I have ever earned are the wages of my sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23).  But what I received from God was the gift of grace unto salvation.  So it also is with our position as a saint, or literally, a “holy one.”  God sees us as holy even though, by our actions, we prove otherwise.  Daily.  Maybe even hourly.  How can that be?

Let me ask you a question, what about you is holy?  That’s right, nothing.  So why does the Lord call you a saint or a “holy one”?   It is because your sins or unholiness have been imputed or reckoned to His Son and His Son’s holiness and righteousness has been imputed or credited to your account by grace.  As the Scriptures say, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).  So you and I are only considered holy because He is holy and because we are found in Him.  Therefore when we, defiled and unholy, approach our Father whose primary characteristic is pure holiness, He sees His Son’s likeness in us and not our sin.  That part of our life was nailed to His cross many centuries ago (Col. 2:14) and our forgiving Father has chosen not to remember our sins any longer (Isa. 43:25).  And that, my friends, is the definition of grace.


We Have a Choice

So we have a choice.  We can accept what God has deemed to be true in us, even though we don’t fully understand how it all works.  Or we can choose to live by our own standard of justice, rejecting the grace given to us because we feel God must somehow be wrong in how He views us or He has made a colossal mistake.  “After all”, we reason, “if God knew what I was really like He would have nothing to do with me.”  Which is probably true, if God was like you and me.  But thankfully He is not.  God does know exactly what we are like and yet He loves us still.  In fact, He has “made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6)  Remember that verse?  The word translated “accepted” is charitóō which means “grace, divine favor, to be highly honored or greatly favored”.  It literally means to be approved by God.  This passage in Ephesians states God the Father, who knows everything about us— every dirty sin, every broken promise, every sinister thought— has taken it upon Himself and has “made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).  He “made us highly honored or greatly favored” as recipients of the gift of His wondrous grace.  That is why God can call those He redeems saints.  And that is why He sees us as “holy ones” even if our lives are far less than holy.

One last thing before we go.  Do you know the only other place in Scripture where the word charitóō is used?  It was spoken by the angel Gabriel when he visited a young virgin to tell her she would bear the Christ-child.  That’s right, this word was used to describe Mary who was “highly favored” (Luke 1:28) and accepted and approved by God to conceive His Son through the Holy Spirit.  And it appears, according to Ephesians 1:6, He views those He redeems the same way.  That includes you and me and all the other called-out ones throughout history.  So once you come to grips with your unconditional acceptance in the Beloved not being granted to you as something you earned or deserved, then it’s not too far a stretch to see how our Father would also view us as being like His Son, who is also holy.   Hence, He calls us saints or those who are deemed “holy, separated, sanctified, consecrated, and devoted to God.”


Time to Pray

I do hope this glimpse into the heart of our Father for His children will help you in your prayer time with Him today.  Don’t view Him as someone disgusted with you because of all the stuff you’ve done.  He knows all about that yet still chose you “in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3).  Rather, view Him with at least the same amount of love and acceptance you have for your own children.  Then run into His arms and feel Him draw you close.

I pray you will not let the enemy rob you of the intimacy with God that Jesus suffered to provide for you.  After all, only believers, those called saints by God Himself, can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may find mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).  That’s who you are.  So today, live like He sees you.  Be a saint in Him.

Enjoy Him today.

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Prayer:  Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 1

Prayer: Ephesians 2:19 – Saints, Part 1

As we get ready for another Sunday, let me encourage you to prepare your heart this morning to meet with the Lord. Remember, how you worship in church with others is just an extension of how you worship with Him alone.  So begin today with just the Lord and worship Him by prayer and adoration.   And then, come and worship with the rest of the “called-out” ones this morning.

To help focus your prayers we are looking at Ephesians 2:19 and especially this strange description the Holy Spirit calls each of us: saints.  Read it for yourself.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

Note the transition from the many to the few.  We go from “citizens” to members of a “household.”  Note also the description of those who are also citizens with you, the “fellow” part of this verse.  They are called saints or, literally, “holy ones.”


Saints!  Really?

The word translated saints (hágios) means “holy, with the idea of separation, consecration, sanctification, and devotion to God.”  It is the go-to name in the New Testament for believers.  And that also makes it the go-to term that describes you and me.  The Scriptures teach we are saints, those redeemed and set-apart for God and God alone.  I know, it seems the terms saints is reserved for people who lived long ago and whose images now adorn stained-glass church windows.  But that’s not how the Lord sees it. In fact, you are a saint in His eyes. Let me explain.

Watch, for example, how Paul describes those in the various churches to whom he writes:

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints – Romans 1:7.

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours – 1 Corinthians 1:2

To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia – 2 Corinthians 1:1.

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus – Ephesians 1:1.

To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons – Philippians 1:1.

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse – Colossians 1:1.

Get the point?  He calls fellow believers, fellow “citizens” and “members of the household of God” saints.  But there is more.

Just in Ephesians, look at how the Lord inspired Paul to use the term saints to again refer to believers like you and me.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints – Ephesians 1:15.

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints – Ephesians 1:18

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God – Ephesians 2:19.

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ – Ephesians 3:8.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God – Ephesians 3:17-19.

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ – Ephesians 4:11-12.

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints – Ephesians 5:3.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints – Ephesians 6:17-18.

That’s who you are.  You are a saint.  Not the way we define that word today, which usually means someone of impeccable character that God used in a mighty way.  Although that’s a pretty good description of a Christian.  But God calls you to be a saint, a member of His body, the church, and one in which the Holy Spirit now resides.  That’s you.


Time to Pray

But there is one more thing before we pray.  As we have noted, the word saint literally means “holy ones”.  In essence, holiness is their nature, their primary characteristic, just like it is for our Lord.  But if you are like most believers today, your behavior is often anything but holy.  Ok, maybe a bit holy on your best day.  But on most days, would you describe your life as holy?  Or would you use terms like “not too bad” or “could be better” or “better than I used to be” or “pretty good” or something like that?  I know that sounds good to us, but still falls short of holy.

What can we do about that?  How can we live up the standard of the name the Lord calls us everyday?  How is that possible?

Tomorrow, we’ll look at that very issue.  But for today, thank Him for seeing you through His eyes, as holy and beloved and as a saint, and not through yours.  Because that is one of the greatest blessings of all.

Until tomorrow,

PS: Go through these verses above and, as you read them, every time you see the word saint, replace it with “holy ones”.  If you do, it will forever change your perception of what the church is all about.

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344:  Steps to Freedom in Christ

344: Steps to Freedom in Christ

In closing his letter to the church at Colossae, Paul said the following to one of his “fellow laborers” in the faith, a man named Archippus.

Colossians 4:17 – And say to (who) Archippus, “Take heed (or, consider, discern, to see with the eye, to watch carefully) to the ministry (or, service) which you have received (how) in the Lord, (why) that you may fulfill (or, to render full, to complete, to bring to effect) it.”

Archippus probably struggled, much like Timothy, with insecurity, timidity, and a lack of boldness.  Paul reminded him that his ministry was from the Lord and his calling and purpose in life was to fulfill what God had created him to do. And nothing more.

Do you ever struggle with the same thing?  Do you ever wonder why you have such a hard time getting beyond your past and present failures?  Do you sometimes feel God had a plan for your life but now, because of your disobedience, He has passed on by never wanting to use you again?  If it was possible to move beyond that crippling thought, would you be interested in finding out how?

If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 4:16-18.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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339:  Being Vigilant in Prayer

339: Being Vigilant in Prayer

One of the most convicting statements about prayer is found in the last chapter of Colossians.  Here the Lord, in Colossians 4:2, says:

Continue (or, to persevere and not faint, to endure, to wait or tarry, to be in constant readiness) earnestly (or, to adhere to one, to be devoted to one, to be steadfastly attentive) in prayer, (how) being vigilant (or, to arise, arouse, to watch, to refrain from sleep, to remain fully awake) in it (in prayer) with thanksgiving (or, thankfulness, gratefulness, profound gratitude).

Which raises a few questions:

How is your prayer life?  Do you continue earnestly in prayer?  Are you devoted to prayer?  Vigilant in prayer?  Does your prayer life show you are “redeeming the time” given you by the Lord?  Or does it show just the opposite?  And, if so, what are you prepared to do about it?

Want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Colossians 4:2-6.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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337:  What is the Prayer of Faith?

337: What is the Prayer of Faith?

Some of the most wonderful yet confusing verses in the entire New Testament are found in the last chapter of the book of James.  Do you know what these verses mean:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much – James 5:13-16

Are you suffering?  Do you know those who are sick?  Do you know what the prayer of faith is and what is involved in calling for the elders and having them anoint you with oil?  Are these verses somewhat confusing to you?

If so, then keep listening.

The following is a study on James 5:13-16.

To download the slides for this message, click – HERE

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