The Bible was written to ordinary people. That’s something that can sometimes get lost in the discussion. We can think of early Christians as fundamentally different from us, but they’re not. Paul writes, in Ephesians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus.” 

We begin with their Status: Paul calls them “saints.” This letter isn’t for super-Christians, as though those even exist. We have a very different understanding of “sainthood” in our day from what the Apostle is talking about. In some churches, to be a saint you must have enough good works to cover yourself and others who will pray through you. It requires a lengthy process. Saint candidates in those traditions are vetted more thoroughly than most political candidates.

On the other hand, others consider saints to be those people who are holier than others based upon their actions. You will sometimes hear someone say, “You’re such a saint!” In fact, it can even be considered an insult to refer to someone as holy or saintly. I remember when I worked in restaurants, some people would apologize for using curse words around me. While Paul will go on to speak of how these saints ought to live, for him it is more a statement about their status than it is about their actions. 

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