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Tag: sainthood

True Sainthood

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The recently deceased journalist, diplomat, and scholar of South East Asia, Phillips Talbot once wrote: “I’ve been a Christian, and in particular a Presbyterian, and yet in Gandhi I saw saintliness…He was a 77-year-old ascetic and the physical ordeal did not worry him. Here, if I ever saw one, is a pilgrimage. Here is the Indian – and the world’s – idea of sainthood: a little old man who has renounced personal possessions, walking with bare feet on cold earth in search of a great human ideal.” His profession to be a Christian notwithstanding, Talbot betrayed a common misunderstanding of the nature of true saintliness. His comments on the Indian statesman Mohandas K. Gandhi depict a saint as a really good man or woman, whose abstemious or extremely religious behavior directs attention towards himself or herself in the pursuit of “a great human ideal.”
Saints: The False & The True
The biblical usage of the term is far different: it depicts bad men and women who have been set apart by the grace of God to receive a life of eternal glory with the Lord Jesus Christ. This eternal life is a gift from the Lord, stemming from His generosity and love – not based on any personal merit in the recipient of this gracious position. It results in a transformed life, that displays the character and reflective glory of Christ Himself as given through the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-26.) The destiny of saints culminates in their being conformed to the image of their Lord through “the redemption of the body” which results in glorification (Rom. 8:17, 23, 28-30; 1 John 3:1-2.)
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