Who Are The New Testament Saints?

By on September 22, 2017

Who Are The New Testament Saints – Bible Research Tools
Have you ever noticed that there always seems to be a distinction between the Saints and the rest of the faithful?  For example:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:” — Eph 1:1 KJV

 

There is also a clear distinction between the saints and the Gentiles in the next chapter:

Now therefore ye [Gentiles] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:” — Eph 2:19-21 KJV

 

In this passage Paul makes a distinction between the saints, and the bishops and deacons:

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi with the bishops and deacons:” — Phi 1:1 KJV

 

Distinctions between the called saints and the “run-of-the-mill” believer, like me, are found in these passages:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” — 1Cor 1:2 KJV

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” — Col 1:2 KJV

 

The scripture also seems to be saying Christ comes with his saints to be glorified in them, and to be admired by other believers:

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” — 2Th 1:10 KJV

 

Even as early as the days when Jude’s book was written it seems the Saints had already been chosen:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” — Jude 1:3 KJV

 

In the Revelation there are distinctions between the prophets, saints, martyrs, and those who fear his name:

And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” — Rev 11:18 KJV

For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” — Rev 16:6 KJV

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” — Rev 17:6 KJV

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” — Rev 18:24 KJV

 

Oddly, Paul considered himself less than the least of the saints, but equal to the chiefest of apostles:

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;” — Eph 3:8 KJV

 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.” — 2Cor 11:4-5 KJV

 

Perhaps the saints are those who were set apart for special things, such as these fellows:

Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” — Ps 50:5 KJV

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” — Dan 7:21-22 KJV

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” — 1Cor 6:2 KJV

 

The disciples may also be saints since they are given judgment:

And Jesus said unto [the disciples], Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” — Mat 19:28 KJV

 

These are most likely those thrones of judgment:

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” — Rev 20:4 KJV

You will note that in the last verse there is a distinction between the judges sitting on the thrones, and with the souls of the martyrs, again implying a separation of the role of the saints from that of the other faithful.

 

We know that Gentiles who accept Christ become fellowcitizens with those saints [Eph 2:12-22]; but there does not appear to be any reference that specifically states a Gentile will ever become a saint. Perhaps that is what Paul meant in this verse:

What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way . . . ” — Rom 3:1-2 KJV

Israel is, after all, God’s chosen people, except for those who apostatized and were cast away:

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” — Acts 3:22-23 KJV

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” — Rom 9:22-23 KJV

 

That last passage also points to Israel. Recall from an earlier passage that the Lord, at his coming, is glorified in his saints [Jude 1:3]. He is also glorified in his disciples, who are also Israelites and judges:

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.” — John 17:9-10 KJV

 

Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that the scripture points to two distinct “classes” of Christians: 1) those who are called by the Lord, and 2) those who call upon his name. Those two “classes” are clearly distinguished in this aforementioned passage:

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:” — 1Cor 1:2 KJV

 

That is also foretold in this passage by Joel, which tends to distinguish between those who call upon the name of the Lord, and the chosen (elected) remnant of Israel who are called:

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” — Joel 2:32 KJV

 

Dan

 
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