I became a Saint in Christ (Romans 1:7)
Paul knew all about how Christ could change a life. Before becoming a Christian,
he persecuted them. Before coming to faith in Christ, he had no thoughts
of Christ as his Savior. He did not look upon Christ as divine, or of any
worth at all. But upon his repentance his views radically changed and became
exactly the opposite.
His views about Christ changed, and the picture of his conversion is really
the picture of conversion, in general, for all of us. A radical change is
the experience of all Christians in their conversion. In coming to faith
in Christ, we change from being enemies of the kingdom of God, to being Saints
This is often called, in theological traditions, Union with Christ. There
are at least two things that accompany becoming Saints in Christ through
Union with Him.
We become in Covenant with Him. A covenant is an agreement where we promise
to be faithful to Him and He promises to never forsake us. It is mutual.
Christ agrees to fulfill His promises to save, forgive and love us, and we
also agree to be faithful to Him, to have no other Gods, and to obey Him.
It is as if we are branches in His vine. (John 15:1-6) We once were part
of another vine, but now we are part of Christ's vine, a branch on it, as
To be in Covenant with Christ is to be united to Him through faith. This
is the source of our joy and peace in this life. To know Christ as our Savior
is to know real joy and to grasp lasting peace.
Becoming Saints in Christ is not to reform our lives. However, in coming
to Christ our lives become transformed. But we cannot reform our lives to
make ourselves more worthy of being Saints. Rather, we come simply in faith,
and as a consequence of becoming Saints, our lives are transformed. "For
by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it
is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast."
This is the great promise of the gospel. We cannot become Saints in ourselves,
but by falling into the loving arms of Christ and resting in His grace and
mercy, we are saved. And being saved means that He, because of the great
love with which He loves us, makes us Saints in Him.