The word saint has this refreshing thing going for it: It defines a person based on the best of who they are rather than the worst. And who, I ask you, doesn’t want to be known for what we do right instead of what we do wrong?
Despite all the Lutheran talk about grace, we still tend to think about scales and to consider our good deeds as pebbles and our bad ones as boulders.
People typically considered saints—both those who have died and those who are here among us yet—seem to have “done” something to get that designation. The whole point of Martin Luther’s “simultaneously saint and sinner” insight was that there is nothing we can do to be justified. God has deemed that we sinners are saints, and then has called us to steward—with confidence, even—our unique, saintly gifts, despite our sinful proclivities. Saint isn’t a term referring to what we do. Instead, “saint” refers to who God declares us to be.
This message is an excerpt from “Saints and sinners” by Anna Madsen in the November 2020 issue of Gather magazine. Today we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord or the Vigil of Easter.