Repent Like a Saint

If I were to imitate the Apostle Paul when addressing you all, I would begin by calling you saints. Greetings from God our Father and His Lord Jesus Christ to all the saints in Moscow.

This is because you indeed are a saint. But what exactly does it mean to be a saint? The word saint is the same Greek word translated as “holy.” In some traditions, a saint is someone extraordinary who has achieved great things for God. But in the New Testament, every member of Christ is called a saint.

Sainthood is not something obtained by the few, but it is the identity of all Christians. Every single Christian is holy.As the late theologian John Webster wrote, holiness is a gift, not a possession; a grace, not an achievement.[1] It is a gift of the Triune God who is “the Holy One in our midst,” as Isaiah says. The Holy One has graciously brought us into fellowship with Himself, making us partakers of His holiness. His presence is a sanctifying presence and to be in fellowship with the Holy One is to be made holy.

And yet, here we are preparing to confess our sins… We often do not feel very holy, do we? No. We are still growing up in Christ. We are not yet that which we will become one day. The Spirit is still conforming us to the image of Christ, the Holy One

But remember this—every confession of sin is an act of faith. It is a fruit of the holiness of Christ working in your life. In fact, it is bright evidence of your sainthood, it is part of God’s sanctifying work in you.

You have been made holy by Christ. And at the same time you are all growing in holiness—the seed has been planted and now the tree is growing. You are not striving to sainthood. You are learning to walk as a saint.

And so, saints of Moscow, confess your sins in faith, remembering what you are and what you are becoming in Christ—a man or woman perfect like Him.

[1] John Webster, Holiness (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.), 2003.Loc.

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