“The Saints and the Ain’ts!”
By Pastor Ron Buxton
A family with a four-year old son went on a European vacation. On that trip, which they anticipated for months, the father really wanted to see some of the historical churches from centuries past. For him, as a Christian, this would be the highlight of that entire trip as he walked those beautiful and sacred places with his family.
Little children can be very inquisitive. And that certainly was the case with that four-year old boy. In awe, he kept pointing at those majestic stained glass windows.
“Daddy”, he asked, “Who are those people in the colorful windows?”
Fumbling for words, the father responded: “Those are the saints, son.”
“And who are the saints?”, questioned the boy again.
This left the father stumped for a few minutes. He was unsure how to explain this to his son, nor could he identify each person on those stained glass windows. This was a problem, and so he muttered a quick silent prayer for help.
Suddenly, help from heaven arrived! It was one of those moments when he could have spent hours thinking up the right answer. And yet–in a flash of insight–the words came to him!
“Son”, he announced, “Saints are the people that the light shines through!”
Think about that. Did not Christ call His followers to be the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14? Yes. He certainly did. But—I ask this hard question: Where has the light gone among many modern day church-goers? Where are the true saints of God–who like those encased in stained glass—shine outward into the darkness? Allow me to address that concern today.
Sadly, too many church-goers are “ain’ts” and not saints! The Greek word for saints is <hagios> which literally means “holy ones”. The Apostle Paul would often write to early churches and refer to his readers as “saints” (regardless of their public perception). This contradicts much of what popular culture perceives of that term nowadays. However, simply stated: if you have received salvation through faith in Christ–you are a saint. Period. No church council needs to assemble to determine that.
Nevertheless, what about the people who say that they are Christians, and yet, make no effort to live in accordance with Christ’s commands? What about those people that—despite their profession– have no light emanating from them? Frankly—they are the “ain’ts”! 1st John 2:4 declares– “The man who says, ‘I know Him Christ’, but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” We’re talking willful disobedience here, and not some occasional slip-ups. But let’s be honest. Hypocrisy has been far too common among these mislabeled folks. They are the “ain’ts”—definitely not the saints!
My exhortation is towards professing Christians today. For God’s sake—let your light shine! May the beauty and majesty witnessed INSIDE those older churches be the reality among Christ’s followers OUTSIDE the buildings today!