Today, CNN reported on a statement made by Pope Benedict XVI concerning the future beautification of John Paul II:
“Benedict, standing next to John Paul’s former secretary, Krakow’s Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, said, ‘Your Cardinal Stanislaw expresses the hope, as do I, that in the short future we will be to enjoy the beatification and canonization of John Paul II.'”
In other words, it is expected that the former Pope John Paul II will be declared a saint, thereby joining the official list of “saints” from the “Mother Church.” Whenever I hear Rome pontificating in this fashion, it disturbs me to no end. Here are men who hold to a form of godliness, but they deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5) – Paul warned Timothy to “avoid such men as these.” This sainthood debauchery is…debauchery. Being declared a saint by mere men is about as meaningful as my telling you that I will give you the title and deed to the Orion Nebula – and that’s a problem, because…
…what I don’t own, I can’t actually give away!
A sinner becoming a saint is the work and gift of God alone. Missing this point means forsaking the core truths of the Gospel itself. In fact, unless John Paul II became a redeemed saint through faith in Christ sometime before his death, then it is simply too late for him to become a saint at all. The word hagios is frequently used as a descriptive name for believers in Christ. How often do we read the epistles and see the expression “to the saints at…” thereby seeing that the children of God are deemed as saints in view of their position in Christ.
Consider that thought for a moment..our position in Christ – that’s the heart of the meaning of this term. This term hagios simply means to be set apart or consecrated unto God. Conceptually, this term’s emphasis is locative – that is, it emphasizes the position of the one referred to. In the LXX, hagios is principally used for the Hebrew term qadosh [holy] – the main concept of which is [as it is used of men]: to divide, separate, set apart. This single term wipes out much of Rome’s apostate doctrine since it is not the Christian’s hope to become saints someday (if they have been good enough in this life, as deemed by their peers), rather they are saints for the simple and wonderful truth that they are in Christ, now and forevermore. In fact the “nowness” of the saint’s position and communion with Christ is a wonderfully repeated theme in Scripture, for example:
To the Saints at Ephesus, Paul said: “In Him we have [echomen] redemption…” [Ephesians 1:7]. echomen [1pp present active indicative] – literally, we presently and continually have redemption. An indicative verb is one that communicates reality rather than mere potential.
To the Saints at Philippi, Paul said: “For our citizenship is [huparchei] in heaven…” [Philippians 3:20]. huparchei [3ps present active indicative] – literally, we presently and continually are the citizens of heaven.
To the Saints at Rome, Paul said: “Therefore, having been justified [dikaiothentes] by faith, we have [echomen] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” [Romans 5:1]. dikaiothentes [aorist passive participle, masculine plural nominative], echomen [1pp present active indicative]. Point: The Christian presently and actively has peace with God, having already been declared righteous by God’s doing [passive participle].
The child of God is declared to be a saint by God’s choice and work, not by any man’s – pope or otherwise. As saints, we have been separated unto God since we are now and forevermore in Christ Jesus our Lord. That position can and will never change, for nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:26-39).
The importance of upholding the actual meanings of biblical words cannot be emphasized enough here. Failure to do this is one way in which false doctrine creeps in unnoticed over time. Therefore, those who desire to represent Christ at all ought to use the Lord’s words and meanings, rather than some creative variation invented by men. The former procedure will be a preservative for sound doctrine; the latter one is a sure recipe for error, and in the worst of all cases, it is how one starts and maintains an apostate religion.