What is a Saint?
The word for saint can be used of both men and angels in a general sense. It means holy ones or sacred, the context will bear out who the subject is. Saint in Hebrew is qadowsh or qadosh- meaning sacred, holy, the Holy One, a saint, set apart (also chacidh, and hagioi.). It also carries the meaning of being righteous.
These words are commonly used in the Old Testament as it is in the New. We do not have to wait for a vote of approval from a church to bestow on us the title of saint as the bible calls the believers that are in Christ saints. Being a saint has more to do with our position (“in Christ”) than personal character that would set us apart from others.
In this Scripture we may have both angels and men called saints.
Deut. 33:2-3: “And he said: “The LORD came from Sinai, and dawned on them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints; from His right hand came a fiery law for them. Yes, He loves the people; all His saints are in Your hand; they sit down at Your feet; everyone receives Your words.”
Deut. 33 is past tense but a similar passage in the New Testament is not, Jude 1:14: “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,” For it says in Ps 68:17: “ The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord [has come] from Sinai into his sanctuary”.
Zech 14:5: “Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.” 1 Thessalonians 3:13 “that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” Jesus is coming back with all his saints-both men and angels, “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels” ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
The Lord God almighty is called the “King of the saints” (Revelation 15:3)
The Saints are commonly mentioned as the people of Israel in the Old Testament.
Ps 106:16 “When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the LORD”
Ps 148:14: “And He has exalted the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints-- of the children of Israel, a people near to Him. Praise the LORD!”
Then there were those priests who ministered on behalf of the people that were specifically mentioned.
2 Chron. 6:41 “Let Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness.”
Ps. 16:3 “As for the saints who are on the earth, “They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
Ps. 50:5-6 “Gather My saints together to Me, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.” Let the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is Judge. Selah”
Ps. 97:10: “You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; he delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.”
1 Sam.2:9: “He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. “For by strength no man shall prevail.”
As God protects his saints there is a time they die and he says of them “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints”( Ps. 116:15).
During the Great Tribulation Daniel 7:25 tells us of the antichrist “He shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time.” Revelation 13:7 says of the same event, “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” Revelation 16:6 po9ints out “For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets.”
God has promised Dan. 7:18: “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever”
These are God’s servants, those who are saved by the lamb on earth and serve him while living. Hey will be given special positions in his Kingdom reign.
The only time the word saint is used before the epistles is and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Matthew 27:52)
This term “Saint” was first used in the New Testament after the resurrection (Mt.27:52), four times in the book of Acts-Annanias said Saul did many evil things to the Saints in Jerusalem Acts 9:13 (as when he put the saint’s in prison, and put many to death Acts 26:10). After the book of Acts the Church members are often identified as saints by Paul’s letters. The word Saint shows ones new position in Christ as they are set aside for his service as they are saved, the word disciple shows one is a learner and may or may not be saved.
Phil. 4:21-22: “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you”
Paul’s meaning is clear, those who worked with him and those he knew were saints. They are consecrated, holy and godly.
1 Corinthians 1:2 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:
Paul calls the believers saints in every church, this becomes a general greeting to those in Christ.
Eph 1:1 “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Cor 1:1 “with all the saints who are in all Achaia:
Rom 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:
Phil 1:1 “To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi”
Col 1:2 “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Eph. 5:3: “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as it is fitting for saints” A holy character is to be exhibited by those who have been translated into the kingdom of the Son.
A Saint in the New Testament is one who is saved by the gospel and in service to God.
Jude 1:3 tells us the faith- “which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Each believer is in possession of it. All who are in the faith (in Christ) are Saints. The New Testament does not support the idea of a special class of “saints.” Although some believers can be more “holy” than others in their living, because of their maturity – all believers position before God are the same, Justified and being “sanctified,” because they are “in Christ.” The Christian’s position is from justification, while we are all at different points of sanctification.
We are sanctified by reading the word showing we are his disciples. We are conformed daily to his image that is Holy by reading and daily practicing His word.