Tonight at my small group study, someone asked about churches that use the term "saints" when referring to the congregation (not as in saints like St. Francis, etc.)
I think the term has to do with the doctrine of sanctification. What is sanctification? It's a setting apart process. This made the group think of legalistic rules. "Holiness." A song popped into my head. "Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true..." I pointed out sometims in the discussion that what sanctifies me may not be the same thing that sanctifies another person because we all struggle in different areas. Generally, we are all set apart; but we are cleansed uniquely from our personal areas of sin.
We got off talking about the concept of having a dual identity: saint and servant. I'll write on this another day in detail--it's very deep. The discussion went over into the question of works and salvation vs. salvation and evidence, which made me have some thoughts about salvation.
We have made the salvation experience our goal, preaching and urging people toward it and then leaving them to grow or seek mpirosj,emt in a local church while the evangelist moves on; but the real goal is something different entirely.
I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. (Philippians 3:13-14)
What we experience "at the cross" is certainly worth celebrating; but it is only a spiritual birth! No wonder our flames can die so quickly! We must set our eyes so much higher, live our lives with the wonder and joy that befit us as babes and children in Christ!
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Mark 10:14-15)