Mars Hill Staff Devotional
from Fred Carpenter
This week’s staff devotional is a sequel to the one from last week. If you recall, last week we observed that in the epistles of the New Testament, Christians are referred to as saints 56 times and as sinners only 3. Yet, as I shared from my experience, I hear frequently from pulpits that we (Christians) are sinners, and very infrequently that we are saints. I proposed one big reason for this. We live in a world that focuses on performance over identity. I also posted a response that expands on this thought.
Next week we’ll move on to a different topic, but today we’re taking our thoughts from last week one step further. We’ll begin with a question that could cause you to recoil, but please, hang with me. Here it comes. Did you know that you won’t be any holier in heaven than you are now? Now before you tune me out, please hear this. I am not in any way promoting the heretical doctrine of sinless perfection. As Christians, the power of sin still lurks in us (1 John 1:8). However, if you recoiled from that question, then you might be more focused on your performance than your identity. If you need more background regarding this, then visit or revisit last week’s devotional.
The words, saint, sanctified and holy are translated in the New Testament from Greek words (hagios and/or hagiazo) which come from the same root and literally mean “set apart.” When God gave you the understanding and the faith to appropriate His work on the cross, you were changed. You became a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), and because of this, you became “set apart.” By virtue of His life in you, you became a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). You became like Him, and different than the world around you. You may not always act like it, but that doesn’t change what He did in you. Notice from 1 Corinthians 1:2 and Hebrews 10:10, you “have been sanctified”. This phrase is in the perfect tense which conveys the idea of completed past action. Notice from Colossians 3:12 and Hebrews 3:1, the word holy is used to describe a present condition. Continue reading