REFORMATION RUMBLINGS Interesting Letter— “Buff, I was thinking about the word ‘church’ and how the term doesn’t accurately represent the ekklesia of God. I didn’t realize how much I used it until I tried to stop. As I am working on that word, I wondered what you thought about the word ‘saint.’
BUFF SCOTT, JR.
Saint & Sainthood
“The Greek word, as I’m sure you know, is a derivative of hagios, which is the word ‘holy.’ So a ‘saint’ is a holy one. How does ‘saint’ accurately represent the Greek hagios? I’m starting to think we’ve clearly been given the word ‘saint’ from our Catholic heritage, much like ‘church.’ What do you think?” —Jason
Jason, our English “saint” coincides with the Greek hagios
. It means, literally, “pure ones.” We have been purified from the world’s evils, set apart or separated as God’s chosen. “Saint,” however, does not signify perfection or a flawless life.
Interestingly, “sanctify” is our English term for the Greek hagiazo
, which means to be separated from the world’s evils in that they no longer master us. So, we see that “saint” and “sanctify” are related in both Greek
. “Sanctify” seems to be an outgrown of “saint,” considering we have been separated or set apart from the world as “pure ones.”
The Roman Catholic Hierarchy has distorted the term by relegating it only
to certain dead ones—Catholics, of course. They have yet to explain the letters Paul addressed to live
, not dead
, saints—scriptures such as Romans 1, 1 Corinthians 1, Ephesians 1, and Philippians 1.