How to become a saint

Recently two former popes have been canonized as saints by the Catholic church.  According to the book Saints for Dummies these are the requirements a person must meet before before being considered a saint by the church.

To become canonized as a saint, a perfect track record isn’t required (or possible). Hence, being sinless isn’t on the list. So, what is required for sainthood?

Two verifiable postmortem miracles.

Evidence of having led an exemplary life of goodness and virtue worthy of imitation, having died a heroic death (martyrdom), or having undergone a major conversion of heart where a previous immoral life is abandoned and replaced by one of outstanding holiness.

In the Bible followers of Christ are called saints.  How well do they meet these qualifications?

A saint must perform two postmortem miracles.   Therefore a saint can only be someone who has died.

Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.
Acts 9:32

Clearly the New Testament saints were still alive so they wouldn’t qualify.

What about the requirement that a saint must have lived a virtuous life?  A look at 1 Corinthians shows how well they fulfilled this requirement.

The members of the church at Corinth were saints.

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 

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:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3

There were divisions and conflicts among them.

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
1 Corinthians 3:1-4

They tolerated immorality among their membership.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2

Some of them even denied the resurrection of the dead.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1 Corinthians 15:12

The reason Paul wrote the letter was to correct their false practices and beliefs.  And yet these people were already saints!

To be canonized by the Catholic church you first need to die; to become a Biblical saint you must first be made alive.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1-6

Becoming a saint does require a kind of death but not physical death.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

A Catholic saint must perform miracles; a Biblical saint is the beneficiary of a miracle performed by God, the resurrection of Christ.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Living a good life is a requirement for becoming a Catholic saint; living a good life is one of the results of being a Biblical saint.

We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

The popular concept of a saint is someone of outstanding morality.  Sometimes the word “saint” is used as a title, as in St. Peter or St. Paul.  A Biblical saint is a sinner who has been forgiven through faith in Christ.

When someone is canonized by the church the event is announced world wide.  When someone becomes a real saint by putting his faith in Jesus his act isn’t noticed on earth but is widely known in Heaven.

There is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.
Luke 15:10

How do you become a saint?  If you want to be canonized your chances of achieving sainthood are almost nonexistent.  But the method of becoming a Biblical saint is very simple.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Romans 10:9

If you have done this you already are a saint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on May 10, 2014, in Bible study, salvation and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I wanted to thank you for the like on the following posts on my blog:

    Christmas at the Gas Station
    Signs of the Time
    The Church
    God knows Where You Are
    The Quilt
    The Fallen Judge
    Noah in the 21st Century

    I trust that the Lord has been good to you. Have a great week-end.

    Mikey

    Like

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