What is the Bible definition of a saint?

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A saint (Gr. Hagioi), literally means a “holy one.” The term is common in the NT to describe Christians (Acts 9:32, 41; 26:10; Eph. 1:1; etc.). It does not necessarily denote persons who are already perfect in holiness (1 Cor. 1:2; cf. 1 Cor. 1:11), but rather those who by their faith and baptism may be assumed to be separate from the world and consecrated their life to God  “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). In spite of the many problems the Church of God in Corinth had, the members were by God’s grace aiming for perfection.

The basic idea of a saint is “separated from a common to a sacred use.” This word was used of the Jewish people as a nation (Ex. 19:5, 6; Deut. 7:6), not that they were individually perfect and holy, but that they were separate from other nations and set apart to the service of the true God, whereas other nations were devoted to the worship of idols. Thus it is used here of the Christians, who have been called to be separated from other men and other ways of life and consecrated to the service of God.

God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16) and commands us to become holy as He is. He is the ultimate example and source of holiness. Holiness means being pure and right—acting and thinking like God. So, any Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ in heart and deed and filled with His Holy Spirit, by biblical definition, is a saint.

The Bible in Revelation 14:12 gives the description of the saints “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). The saints will keep the commandments of God (Exodus 20) by the grace of God and have the faith of Jesus (Hebrews 11) that will give them the victory over sin.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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