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Are you a Saint? Part 2

Now that we affirmed our status in Christ that we are saints. One of the signs of our new status is conviction of sins. We feel bad for every wrongdoings and want to quickly make amends. Convictions can be subjective, in other words, what I am convicted about, another person may not be (see Romans 14). It is the effectual work of the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8). Hence, we should be very mindful of the presence of the Holy spirit in our lives, because if he is not present we will not be convicted of wrongdoings.

Repentance is a change of mind which leads to change in direction. It is the admittance of our convictions and the step to make amends. In other words, repentance follows conviction.

True and False Repentance

True repentance is that which comes from contrition — regret for the offence against God’s love. False repentance is that which comes from attrition — regret for sin prompted by a fear for oneself: “Oh, no. I got caught. What will happen to me?”

The two are acceptable by God because of his mercy or to put it bluntly — “with the pure you will show yourself pure and with the devious you will show yourself shrewd” (see 2 Samuel 22:27). They are indicatives of the transformative work of Christ in us. True repentance produces godly sorrow (see 2 Corinthians 7:10), which implies hatred for sin. On the contrary, false repentance is a fear of reprisal rather than hatred for sin. In other words, one leads us to live a holy life, while the other does not.

The Conceit of Self righteousness

Repentance is a choice. We may be convicted personally by the Holy spirit of wrongdoings and refuse to repent. God is so merciful that if we are convicted personally, he also makes sure we are convicted externally such as an unplanned rebuke from a pastor during a sermon who has no clue of our wrongdoings or sometimes by a prophet or sometimes from faithful brethren or even by unbelievers.

Why we do not repent is simply because we rationalise against the Word of God. We form our own righteousness, aside from that of God. That is what is called self righteousness — righteousness birthed by self and not from convictions of the Holy spirit. Having convictions of our sins but not repenting is a sign that we are on a slippery road to destruction (see Exodus 9).

Why should we repent?

Repentance is paramount to Christian living, God will not require us to repent if it is not.

  1. Repentance cultivates the transformative work of christ in us. It is the surgical blade to cut off the cancer of inadequacies and progress towards perfection. It is like driving on a road to a particular destination, we may miss a turn and then reroute to get back on the road to the destination. We may miss it today, but as long as we repent we are sure one day we will not miss it again.
  2. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. A person who does not repent is contagious and his beliefs or rationale for not repenting is capable of contaminating other believers (see 1 Corinthians 5). This I believe is one of the troubles facing Christianity today — unrepentant individuals portrayed as models thereby erecting unholy culture.
  3. Restoration of joy of salvation. Convictions by the Holy spirit comes with restlessness. This is a result of loss of joy of salvation that occurred when we sinned. To restore our right relationship with the Holy spirit we must repent. Then we can have unspeakable joy blooming inside our hearts and the Holy spirit speaking to us again. This is why David wrote in Psalm 51:12 — “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit”.

Weary of repentance?

Unfortunately, many christian culture of today encourages contentment. That we live by grace and cannot progress towards perfection. This motive ensued due to weariness of repentance and this has resulted in contentment with a lifestyle that is not in sync with the nature of God. Well, God commands us “Be holy for I am holy”. Christ echoes the same “Be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect”. Instead of contentment repentance should be our lifestyle as believers. It is the quality that shows our genuine dependence on God’s grace to lift us out of the shackles of sin and God’s mercy to save us from judgement. Therefore we shouldn’t be weary.

But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the hope of righteousness. — Galatians 5:5

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Are you a Saint?

Affirming your status in Christ

Once upon a time I attended a gathering of believers and we were asked about the evidences of a life living in the Spirit. When it came to my turn, my answer was holiness, as soon as I mentioned it the majority in the room echoed “Holiness!!!!” and busted into laughter. Holiness seems a strange word, a quality that cannot be attained in some Christian gathering today. We are approaching a time where holiness preachers are seen as enemies of grace.

The word saint means holy. In the times of the apostles, all believers were referred to as saints. The word appeared 229 times in the Greek New testament.

Why is there a wrong perception about sainthood?

Our judgement of who is a Saint appears to be bleak. This is because its application is relative. Even though we might accept that we become holy when washed by the blood of Christ, when we then compare our lives with others that we admire in the faith we may retard and take a no-Saint stance. This often is a result of inadequacies that does not measure up to what we assert as holiness. We know ourselves.

What is God’s perception of every believer?

Every believer is a result of predestination. God elected us before the foundation of the world (see Ephesians 1:5, 11 NKJV). We existed in the mind of God before realisation through birth and acceptance of Christ as Lord and saviour. He spoke about us: “And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the LORD; And you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.” (see Isaiah 62:12 NKJV). Therefore God’s configuration or initial thoughts about us before we became believers was Sainthood.

We became Saints the moment when washed by the blood of Christ. That moment we Confessed and affirmed Christ to be the Lord of our life, we conferred to partook in his blood which was shed for the remission of sins – a process called sanctification, hence we became saints. Entrance into sainthood at that time does not infer total ejection of past feelings that leads to sin, we will still struggle with them and neither should these struggles disqualify us from sainthood – we are still saints, it is a status we possess as long as we are in Christ (see Hebrews 10:10, 14, 1 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV).

We are not to look back to admissions of our former lives despite the inadequacies that contradicts our present status but to look forward perfecting holiness in the fear of God (see 2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV) until we come to the full nature of Christ. Living gracefully by the help of the Spirit and not succumbing to our fleshly desires that do not please God (see Romans 8). Renewing our minds daily by the word of God (see James 1:21 NKJV).

Why it is important to ascribe the status of saint to self?

There is danger in not possessing our status. It is important for us to ascertain our status as saints because our beliefs shape our perception of reality. When we ascribe sainthood to ourselves, we unconsciously create an environment where we force ourselves to live what we call ourselves even though we are not genuine or not reached perfection. Not ascribing this status to ourselves creates vice versa, slurring of holiness and more so no inclination towards perfection. This leads to undisciplined Christians that gives opportunity to sin.

Therefore Paul’s exhortation is : But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; (see Ephesians 5:3 NKJV).

What is your name again? You are St.<put your name here>.