Keith Wishum: Becoming a saint

Published 7:00 am Sunday, April 16, 2017

Following her death in 1999, Mother Teresa was on the fast track to becoming a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. The beginning of her beatification process in 2003 followed the shortest waiting period for any candidate in modern history. She was recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint in 2016.
How about you? Are you a saint?
One man tried to buy sainthood for his brother. Both men were evil to the core. But they used their considerable wealth to hide their sins from the public, and they regularly attended church and appeared to be model Christians.
Their minister, however, saw through the deception. When the elder sibling died, the younger brother feared that the preacher would tell the truth at the funeral. He privately handed the minister a check for enough money to build a much-needed new church building.
“I have only one condition,” he said.  “At his funeral, you must say my brother was a saint.” After some hesitation, the preacher gave his word and deposited the check.
At the funeral though, the preacher told the truth “He was evil,” he said of the deceased.  “He cheated on his wife and abused his family.” After continuing that way for some time, the preacher finally kept his word to the younger brother by concluding: “But, compared to his brother, he was a saint.”
Not what you had in mind for yourself? I didn’t think so. And you don’t want that long process after you die? I don’t blame you. So, what do you do – give up on being a saint?
I have good news for you. You can be a saint right now! God wants you to be. He’s even taken care of meeting the qualifications for you.
The apostle Paul, writing to ordinary, imperfect Christians addressed them as the “saints in Ephesus” (Ephesians 1:1). They weren’t remarkably good. They were just forgiven (1:7). They had heard Paul’s message about Jesus, believed it, and “were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).
The word “saint” just means “holy one.” It is something granted by God, not decided by a church. It doesn’t suggest superior goodness. It simply refers to one who has been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus – a Christian.
So, how are you coming with your sainthood? If you’ve got it, thank God for it. Live up to it. If you don’t have it, what are you waiting for?

A Word from Williams Road is provided by the Williams Road Church.