Mar 21, 2016

Saints and Sinners

Spring 2016 ~ A Season of Renewal

ἁγίοις & ἁμαρτωλῶν (Saints and Sinners)

     Well at least according to my calendar it is Spring already! Perhaps though you can say that we've just finished "the winter that really wasn't a winter at all".  There were few contrasts between finishing and starting these two seasons. Yesterday I returned home with Andrea from a mid-year visit with Ryan and Danae overseas where they are attending school this year. We squeezed in lots of events, hikes and visits in several weeks.  

We visited medieval cities, toured ancient Scottish castles, explored lochs and climbed over mountains on the Isle of Skye and ate too many English breakfasts.  How awesome to be able to spend time with family. 

While flying as a passenger between London and Glasgow, I noticed an amusing article in the London Times.  Well more accurately, I find it only partially amusing, more so greatly concerning as a student of the Word, because of it's erroneous anti-biblical "works" nature yet espoused by that church.  

     The Times header blared "Pope asks why it costs 750,000 Euros ($1.1 million CDN) to become a saint"(Article: Pope asks Why 750,000 Euros? ).  
     The article explains the Roman Catholic Church's dilemma and "process" of achieving sainthood, and exposed some of the downside of it's so-called "saint-factory" system, including the expenses required to conduct research by the "postulators".  A Postulator apparently is the person who guides the church's beatification or canonization process through the various RC judicial steps.  Evidently, the postulator's research must verify two miracles attributed to the candidate that are required to confirm sainthood. If the postulator's finds are positive, the process leads to a new saint, according to their system. 

     The gist of the article is that it seems that the Pope is concerned that lately there have been inflated fees and considerable conflicts of interest in the process. Saintly candidates attracting the most donations were sailing through the process, leaving less well-funded candidates behind, and thus a new system is now being implemented to prevent the sleaze that has been occurring. With such high fees, there have apparently been many hands in the cookie jar and they are attempting to stop it.

     Through our Route 66 bible studies, the ANVIL Newsletter has recently looked at eleven books of the New Testament, from Ephesians thru to James verse by verse thus far.  While this is barely over forty percent of the New Testament books that we've studied, nowhere do we yet see any evidence requiring us to have such a complicated process towards Sainthood.   Instead what I do see when I study is God's "Gospel of Grace, through faith in Jesus Christ".  We find it's really not anything about what I've done that qualifies me for Sainthood....rather we find that it's ALL of what Christ has done on my behalf!   In fact, the greatest way that I figure into God's salvation scheme is that of a Recipient of His benefits towards me!  

"...But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." ~ Romans 5:8

      Paul uses the Greek word "hagioi" (
ἁγίοις), meaning a "saint" or "most holy thing" in his letter when addressing the Christians at Ephesus, and at Corinth.  

"...To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours." 1 Corinthians 1:2

John similarly reminds us in Revelation.  God sees us as having Jesus own righteousness, because Christ became sin for us.  Jesus is my Propitiation, my Sin-Covering.  His blood has figuratively obliterated and obscured my sin.   Yes the bible tells me that despite my sin I am now a Saint because of what Christ did for me!  ...for Me?   ...but can that really be true?   

  • I'm a Saint yet I don't remember going before the beatification panel to conclude several miracles, 
  • I'm a Saint yet I sure didn't have anybody pay my million dollar canonization fees 
  • I'm a Saint yet the donor administration department didn't have to be recommissioned due to excessive fees because of my application.  ...and what's more, 
  • I can even enjoy my Sainthood while I am still very much alive!  This is all true despite the fact that figuratively, I was the one caught with my hand in the cookie-jar so to speak, yet I still get the free pass to Sainthood.  REJOICE!  Yes it's true!  ...if you are in Christ Jesus, YOU are a Saint.
     Sainthood is free for me, but it cost Christ his life through a cruel death on a Roman cross! Christian be in Absolute Awe as you stand to worship this Easter season!  Marvel again at what Christ has done for YOU.  Let the ever-freshness of His Spirit bring His Spring Renewal into your heart and life as you extend your arms in Worship to the One Who has taken you through to Sainthood through His Grace that you really know you don't deserve.  
~ by St. Mark

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