Wednesday: The “Saints” in Rome

Here is Paul’s salutation to the church in Rome: “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7). What principles of truth, of theology, and of faith can we take away from these words?

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Beloved of God. While it is true that God loves the world, in a special sense God loves those who have chosen Him, those who have responded to His love.

We see this in the human sphere. We love in a special way those who love us; with them there is a mutual exchange of affection. Love demands response. When the response is not forthcoming, love is limited in its fullest expression.

Called to be saints. In some translations the phrase “to be” is in italics, which means that the translators have supplied the words. But these two words can be left out leaving the meaning intact. When they are omitted we get the expression “called saints”; that is, “designated saints.”

Saints is the translation of the Greek hagioi, which literally means “holy ones”. Holy means “dedicated”. A saint is one who has been “set apart” by God. He or she still may have a long way to go in sanctification, but the fact that this person has chosen Christ as the Lord is what designates him or her as a saint, in the Bible’s meaning of the term.

Paul says that they were “called to be saints.” Does this mean that some people are not called? How does Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 2:9, and 2 Peter 3:9 help us understand what Paul means?

The great news of the gospel is that Christ’s death was universal; it was for all human beings. All have been called to be saved in Him, “called to be saints” even before the foundation of the world. God’s original intention was for all humanity to find salvation in Jesus. The final fire of hell was meant only for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). That some folk don’t avail themselves of that which was offered doesn’t take away from the wonder of the gift any more than someone who goes on a hunger strike in a marketplace takes away from the wonderful bounties found there.

Even before the foundation of the world, God called you to have salvation in Him. Why should you not allow anything, anything at all, to hold you back from heeding that call?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons