The big challenge is to live out our sainthood now!

Pope Francis today declared two former popes to be saints — at the same time. How about that? That’s big news even if you’re not Catholic. 

Pope John XXIII is Saint John XXIII and Pope John Paul II is Saint John Paul II.

The pundits are are trying to figure out what this all means.  The canonization of any human being is quite the event and with Pope Francis recognizing two former popes at the same time, well, he’s got people talking.

I’ve got big news for you.  You’re a saint — right now! Declared by God himself.

Here’s how the Apostle Paul writes it in his opening words to the church 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 Cor 1:2).

Scripture is clear that sainthood is not something you earn. It is something given to you by God. It depends fully on God’s grace, not on your behavior.  Nonetheless, you have been set apart, made special, called holy.

Here’s theologian Mark Roberts’ take on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians…

Paul begins by declaring that the Corinthian Christians are saints, along with all other believers. Then, he spends the rest of the letter dealing with the exceptional sinfulness of the Corinthian congregation. In their attitudes and actions, the Corinthians are about as far from ‘saints’ as people could be. But their sainthood has been conferred on them by God because of their response to the Gospel, not because of their exemplary behavior.

The huge challenge is not to one day hope we’ll be declared saints.  The challenge is to live out our sainthood now in a way that honors our Lord.

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