All Who Have this Hope in Him
Today we celebrate All Saint’s Day. Have you ever wondered who saints are? Often times we may think of them as miracle workers are healers. This is definitely true for many saints. This has even been true for my ministry, but I must say that this does not qualify me for being a saint. I remember the words of Jesus:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
This tells me that any deeds of power do not qualify us to be saints of God. They do not even guarantee our salvation. In fact, we should never take credit them. They are the works of God. God alone is the healer and miracle worker.
What, then, are the requirements of becoming a saint? Perhaps we could start with today’s psalm:
Fear the Lord, you that are his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good.
The Lord ransoms the life of his servants,
and none will be punished who trust in him. (Psalm 34:9-19, 22)
We are to fear God. We are to respect God. We are to seek God. Then the Lord ransoms our lives. He has done so by the blood of his Son.
What type of lives do saints live? We read from today’s Gospel the beautiful beatitudes from Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-12)
Is this true of me? I have tried to live this way but I have fallen short many times. I need help – lots of help. Perhaps you do too? We live in a difficult age. Christians have always been persecuted. Now that persecution ha come to the forefront, even in America. Our task is to cling to the faith.
The Apostle John was given a vision of the saints of God in heaven:
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13-14)
Only God cleanse us from our sins. We must allow him to do so.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)
Do we have the hope in him to purify ourselves? I do not know about others, but I am going to hand on to the faith for dear life, for life eternal.
Very early in my days of the ordained ministry I was taking communion to parishioners who were dying in a hospice. There was one very elderly gentleman there who was not a parishioners, In talking with him I found out that he had been in the ordained ministry for almost his entire life. Just getting started in ministry I asked him to share what he has learned from his faith and ministry over the years. He said to me: Lord have mercy on me, a sinner. I remember what he said because I had found a true saint of God.