By Brooke Holt
“To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:7
One of the great joys of the Advent season is receiving mail! I am talking about Christmas cards -- not bills or the plethora of catalogs. So much of the mail we receive these days is impersonal or is only about what we owe to the credit card companies, the government, or on college loans. What a joy it is to get caught up with friends and family members through these cards, to see the beautiful pictures of these beloved people, or to read Christmas greetings. As opposed to the daily burden of going to the mailbox, Christmas cards create daily joy.
As Paul writes to the churches in Rome, he seeks to bless them similarly as our Christmas cards do. He will spend some time greeting them in love, catching up on what he has been doing, and then blessing them through Christian admonishment. What beautiful words we read from the apostle Paul today! Paul reminds his readers of who they are in Christ – saints. When we hear that word “saint” most of us think of Mother Theresa or Saint Augustine. Certainly, that word could not apply to us, or could it?
Paul would dispel our misunderstandings of what it means to be a saint. Instead of one elevated by the Roman Catholic church, Paul’s use of the word saint means one who is set apart, holy. You may laugh and again deflect this definition for yourself. However, Paul would intend for you to receive this identity just as he would his original readers in Rome. A saint is not someone who has done exceptional things for the Lord and has lived an especially holy life. Instead, this calling to be set apart and holy is the work that Jesus has done for you. Through his sacrifice on your behalf, the holiness and righteousness of Jesus become your holiness and your righteousness.
Whether you understand it or not, you are a saint in the Lord’s eyes. You are holy, set apart, and covered in the righteousness of Christ. This is the greatest gift that could ever be given! Will you receive what Christ has done for you and live into your identity as his saint.
Spend some time reflecting on what it means for you to be loved by God and called to be a saint. How does the Lord want to transform your identity? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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