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Unpublished article February, 2011

Be Proud Of Your Identity As A Saint!

“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called saints” (Rom 1:5). “Unto the Church of God which at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called saints . . .” (I Cor. I Cor. 1:2). Other similar examples can be found in II Cor. 1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2.

According to Young’s Analytical Concordance Of The Bible, the word “saints,” translated “holy ones,” is used a total of 62 times in the New Testament.

The identity of “saint,” so characteristically applied to New Testament believers in Christ, is now considered an anomaly by most easy-believism antinomian church goers of our land today. Needless to say, there is definitely a big cognitive disconnect between the prevailing mentality of what constitutes Christianity in modern times and biblical reality.

If the truth be told, friends, most of we moderns need to learn, or relearn as the case may be, what is the essence of that historic world religion called New Testament Christianity.

First, New Testament Christianity is not attachment to a physical structure called a church building, Physical gathering places for worship were never referred to in the New Testament as “the house of God.” Over use of the house of God rhetoric in reference to our physical gathering places for worship reflects a basic misunderstanding of New Testament theology relative to the difference between the old and the new covenants.

In the Old Testament the dwelling place of God among Israel was local, physical,and temporal--a building of wood and stone. Examples are Moses' tabernacle in the wilderness, Solomon's temple in Jerusalem, and the later post-exilic and Herodian temples, all of which have long since been destroyed.

In New Testament conception, by contrast, the dwelling place of God in redemption among mankind is spiritual, universal, and eternal, that is defused into our separate individual human bodies through the impartation of eternal life through the Holy Spirit. Our physical bodies, as Christian believers, are now "the house (temple, building) of God," not some physical building sitting somewhere misleadingly called a "church."

For the biblical development of this understanding of theology please see II Sam 7:11-13; Ezek. 21:25-27; Zech. 6:12-15; I Sam. 2:35; Heb 3:3-6; Matt. 16:18; Acts 7:46-51; Isa. 65:1-2, 15; Acts 15:13-18; Eph. 2:19-22; II Pet. 2:4-10; I Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20; II Cor. 6:16; 7:1.

Neither does historic biblical Christianity consist of infatuation with recent man-made denominational labels or programs. Why? Because Jesus did not establish a multiplicity of conflicting denominational sects. He established ONE BODY, the universal Church of God, based on His teachings. Unity among believers is a clear doctrine of the New Testament. And there is really only one practical way for us as individual Christians to affirm our commitment to the clear biblical doctrine of the unity of the Christian church--the one body of Christ.

What way is that?

It is for us to disavow the disunity thereof--that is, to repudiate man-made denominational sectarianism. Logically speaking, friends, all is theoretical hypocrisy--a mere mockery of the Word of God--otherwise.

Please think straight, please think long, and please think hard about this, if you will. And please don't "cop out" by deferring to the usual non-helpful "visible" versus "invisible" church paradigm. That notion, too, is based on the dualism of Gnostic philosophy, just like so much of the rest of our dispensationally-infiltrated mind set, and is not a valid response to the biblical revelation and call for unity, as doctrinal substance of the Christian faith.

God has no pleasure in the so-called "visible" church in all its dismaying disunity, nor is such an entity a true or effective witness to, or influence on, an unbelieving world. Let us get our house in order here, friends. Most of the so-called modern conservative Wesleyan Holiness movement has never bothered to do that yet. We may not care what church we belong to, but God does care, and we might be better served if we cared a little more about that, too, seeing as to how we have our full share of the "splits'n-splinterins" going on that are a discredit to the gospel of full salvation--heart purity and perfect love for God and all mankind--that we profess so much to teach. The doctrine of the Bible is still this: "sanctify them, that they all may be one . . . that the world may believe. . . that the world may know" (Jn. 17:15-23).

Most modern denominations are premillennial, or at least have deep premillennial roots. Does the prevalence of the acceptance of this non-biblical theory of premillennialism partly explain our modern deplorable explosion into sectarian divisiveness in recent times? Does the rise and spread of modern premillennialism and the rise and spread of modern denominational sectarianism parallel each other in a direct cause and effect relationship?

It’s worth a shot in thought. Maybe God will call someone to do a masters or a doctoral dissertation on that idea some day. Maybe somebody already has. Regardless, it needs more exploration. What good are doctrinal dissertations if they cannot be translated into practicality for the layman on the street? Christian UNITY (love and brotherhood) is practical. We live with it, or with the lack of it, every day.

P.S. Jesus never told his disciples to "go" to church. They rather "are" the church. The only place Jesus told his disciples to "go" was into all the world and make disciples of all nations. We know very well the church attendance proof-text of Hebrews 10:25, and we take it literally in the light of it's full context. Those who are told to DAILY assemble themselves together for MUTUAL EXHORTATION in Hebrews 10:25 where of "like precious faith" and in extenuating circumstances. The verse has no references to faithful (weekly ONLY) attendance at most modern humanistic liberal "social clubs" that are mistakenly labeled churches.

The fact of the matter is, friends, that we are more than happy to meet together with anyone, anytime, anywhere, who shares our like precious Christian faith, but we have no interest whatever in attendance at gatherings where a multiplicity of false doctrines are being taught by sectarian denominations throughout the land today (except it be to try to make converts from among them, as Paul did when he attended the synagogues of the Jews). This doctrinal confusion, rather, we call "Babylon" and obey the Scriptural injunction to come out of it (Rev. 18:4).

Sometimes we forget, friends, that our founding fathers (many of them) came as religious refugees to the new world in order that they might worship God "according to the dictates of their own conscious." The United States of America is STILL THE GREATEST NATION ON EARTH because it still allows us this most priceless heritage of religious freedom. And, by the grace of God, we fully allow you, the reader, too, this same freedom of conscious, that we ourselves so thoroughly enjoy.

Sectarian denominationalism puts its human idols up on pedestals and canonizes them as "saints." In the New Testament, by contrast, all the saints (holy ones) of God are of a common earthly lot, transformed only by God's sovereign, universal plan of one-way of redemption. Thus, the one who is most important in God's eyes is not the one called "master," but the one who serves. It is does not necessarily follow that only the one who preaches, teaches, or sings in front of the crowd is doing God's work today. The one who truly does God's work, rather, is the one being faithful to tell His truth.

There is a difference, friends, between preaching, teaching, and singing before the crowd, and telling the truth.

ALAS! When will we ever learn that full-time Christian SERVICE is full-time Christian LIFE, and that there is no truly CHRISTIAN life whatever without the presence of the ONE WHO IS HIMSELF THE TRUTH (Jn. 14:6; 6:63).

All of life is sacred when the Holy Ghost abides. If we have Him, we have all we need. Does the Holy Ghost abide in you? Do you have the direct witness thereof?

Friends, let us not stop short until we do.

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