But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:8
Most of my life I've been told I am a saint. Not because I was such a wonderful person or living a great life of service, but because I asked Jesus to be my Savior at an early age. I learned early on that every believer is a saint and has been set apart to be holy. Being set apart for holiness is not the same as being holy.
Paul often addresses his letters to the saints...in Rome (Rom 1:7), in Corinth (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1), in Ephesus (Eph 1:1), in Philippi (Phil 1:1), and Colossae (Col 1:2). He didn't call them saints because they were living such holy lives because some of them were not. Just read 1 Corinthians, and you will see what I'm talking about. There are three aspects to being a saint.
All believers are saints regardless of what their lives were like when they first accepted Christ or what their journey looks like at any given point. God sees anyone who is in Christ as holy. Saints are set apart to live holy lives. You may not yet look like what you think a saint should look like, but if you have trusted Jesus, positionally, you are a saint, and God sees you as holy. You did nothing to earn this standing; it is entirely the grace of God. That doesn't mean you look like Jesus yet.
Being a saint is closely related to the words sanctify and sanctification. Sanctification is the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in your life to transform you into the image of His Son.
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18
Looking more and more like a saint who is holy, is progressive. God doesn't intend for a person to get saved, and that's it. He says I saved you, I justified you, I adopted you, and I set you apart for holy living. He says, "Be holy as I am holy" (1 Pet 1:16). What does it mean to be holy?
Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.
Romans 6:12 says not to let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
1 Peter 1:13-16 tells us to:
prepare our minds for action
look forward to the ultimate salvation that will come when Christ is revealed
live as God's obedient children
don't slip back into old ways of living to satisfy your own desires
Being conformed into the image of Christ is a process, but the Bible has given us clear instructions on what is expected of us in living lives that are different from the world. As we strive to obey and live set-apart lives, the Holy Spirit will do the transformative work in us.
The NLT note on 1 Peter 1:13-16 says:
New birth and the hope of salvation require that Christians live as God's people, separating themselves from the values of the world and emulating the holiness of God, who redeemed them.
At death, we will no longer be in the presence of sin. We will be in the presence of God, where being a perfected saint will be a reality. We look forward to this glorious day, indeed!
GOD IS HOLY
When we say God is holy, what do we mean? Charles Ryrie says in his book, Basic Theology (p.38), "In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others."
No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one
besides you; there is no rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:2
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.
In other words, God is absolute perfection. There is no one else like Him. In this life, we can never be like God in this respect, so when He tells us to be holy, as He is holy, what does God mean? Be separate. Don't try to blend in with the world. He isn't calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct; set apart. We are to live by God's standards and not the world's.
Got Questions: What Does the Bible Say About Holiness?
Jerry Bridges: Who Am I? Identity in Christ