SEPARATED UNTO GOD
" ... every saint in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:21)
The word used in this verse for "every saint" was used by the apostle Paul in a number of his letters. It has a particular meaning. It is derived from the Greek word which fundamentally means "separated, set apart [to God]...". The saints are the separated ones, the ones set apart (to God)." (Rom. 1:2, footnote 3, NTRV).
The apostle Paul used this word in reference to the believers, the members of the Body of Christ meeting as the church in Jerusalem (Rom. 15:25, 26, 31); the colony in Rome (Rom. 1:7) the colony in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:2); the overseers, the deacons and the believers in the church in Philippi (Phil. 1:1); and the colony in Colossae (Col. 1:2).
He also used the term "all the saints" in reference to all the believers in their practice of the truth in all the churches (1 Cor. 14:33); the Spirit's intercession for all the saints in general (Rom. 8:27); the glory of God's inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:18); his (the apostle Paul's) and our fellowship and citizenship with all the saints (Eph. 2:19); his (Paul) being least among all the saints (Eph. 3:8); all the saints' apprehension of the breadth and length and height and depth and the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ (Eph. 3:18, 19); the teaching, training and perfecting needed by all the saints (Eph. 4:12); his (Paul's) prayer for all saints everywhere (Eph. 6:18); the believers in Colossae's love toward all saints everywhere (Col. 1:4); and the coming of Christ with all the saints (1 Thes. 3:13).
Reading these verses, one cannot help but see two very striking things:
First, the believers in the New Testament were known by their being separated, not from one another, but as one entity separated unto God from the world and everything in it. In the apostle's words, and in their own consideration, they were nothing more and nothing less than the members of Christ, the Body of Christ, the church. In reference to the beleivers, the apostle Paul gave them no particular name, designation or "grouping" -- he simply called them the saints or "set-apart ones".
Second, Paul did not make or recognize any distinctions or divisions among the believers -- to the contrary, he rebuked and warned them about such divisions (1 Cor. 1:10-13; Rom 16:17) . In Paul's eyes and in God's eyes they were the saints, the "ekklesia" (Greek), the "called out assembly", the church, which is the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). They all together, as God's inheritance, loved one another, practiced the same truth, enjoyed the same fellowship, took the same teaching, had the same status, and received the same intercession of the Spirit, while waiting together for the Lord's return.
We cannot speak for others, but as for ourselves, we strongly feel that as believers we have no choice: we must continue -- as they continued -- steadfastly in the apostle's teaching and fellowship (Acts 2:42), standing together, being identified together, wherever we live, with all the brothers and sisters in Christ, as members of the church, the Body of Christ. We have no peace from the Lord to take any other way.
We absolutely believe that this kind of stand for the one Body brings in the Lord's commanded blessing of life upon us all (Psalm 133). And how we desperately need it.
New Testament verses are taken from the Recovery Version (Living Stream Ministry). Old Testament verses are from the New American Standard.
Phil. 4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you.
Rom. 1:2 Which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
Rom. 15:25-26 But now I am going to Jerusalem, ministering to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.
Rom. 15:31 That I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
Rom. 1:7 To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, the called saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 1:2 To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, the called saints, with all those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in every place, who is theirs and ours;
Phil. 1:1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
Col. 1:2 To the saints in Colossae and faithful brothers in Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
1 Cor. 14:33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,
Rom. 8:27 But He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to God.
Eph. 1:18 The eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.
Eph. 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, buy you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Eph. 3:8 To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel
Eph. 3:18-19 May be full of strength to apprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are And to know the knowledge-surpassing love of Christ that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.
Eph. 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ,
Eph. 6:18 By means of all prayer and petition, praying at every time in sirit and watching unto this in all perseverance and petition concerning all the saints,
Col. 1:4 Because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have unto all the saints
1 Thes. 3:13 So that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.
1 Cor. 1:10-13 Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion. For it has been made clear to me concerning you, my brothers, by those of the household of Chloe, that there are strifes among you. Now I mean this, that each of you says, I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?
Rom. 16:17 Now I exhort you, brothers, to mark those who make divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them.
Eph. 1:22-23 And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church,
Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the teaching and the fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.
This page was created on 12 April 1998
Last updated on 12 April 1998
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