1 Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…
The term "saint" is, in common use, limited to certain classes of holy men. It is applied to the inspired evangelists and apostles; to the great doctors and martyrs of the early Church, especially to such as were "canonized;" and to the glorified in heaven. But the New Testament usage is more general. In the Acts and in the Epistles, Christians generally, otherwise designated "disciples" and "brethren," are also called "saints." In all except two of St. Paul's Epistles, the Christians to whom he writes are thus designated in the opening salutations. The appellation is one very significant and very instructive.
I. THIS DESIGINATION REMINDS CHRISTIANS OF WHAT THEY EITHER ONCE WERE OR WOULD HAVE BEEN BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD. Properly and literally, a saint is one separated and consecrated, made holy by being called out of a sinful society and set apart and dedicated to God. In the case of most of those first thus addressed, it was literally the case that they had been "plucked as brands from the burning." Inhabitants of one of the most luxurious, voluptuous, and debased cities of the ancient world, these members of the Corinthian Church had been rescued and saved by the gospel of God's grace. If the case seems different with hearers of Divine truth in our own land and in our own day, still it must be borne in mind that Christianity alone has brought about such a result that God alone has made us differ.
II. THIS DESIGNATION REMINDS CHRISTIANS OF WHAT THEY ARE.
1. They are the creation, the "new creation" of God's Holy Spirit. His cleansing and regenerating power, symbolized in the purifying waters of baptism, has effected this great change.
2. They are accordingly consecrated unto God. In the Corinthian temple of Aphrodite, a thousand priestesses were "consecrated" as prostitutes, to the impure worship of the goddess of lust. In the Christian Church all members are devoted to the holy service of a holy God.
3. They are sanctified in character. Negatively, Christians are represented by this language as being freed from the bondage and service of sin. Positively, they are arrayed in the white garments of spiritual purity. Outward, ceremonial purity is insufficient; for Christ looks for and values the purity of the heart.
4. They are associated with a holy fellowship. The Church is a holy body, and an unholy member would be out of sympathy with the body to which it professedly belongs. Holiness is a "note" of the spiritual brotherhood.
III. THIS DESIGNATION REMINDS CHRISTIANS OF WHAT THEY WILL BE. They are inheritors of a holy kingdom. They look forward to immortal citizenship in that city into Which entereth nothing that defileth, where holiness reigns perfectly and for ever, whose occupations of service and of praise are suited to holy beings and to a holy place. A prospect such as this is inspiring as well as delightful. The future casts its influence upon the present. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as Christ is pure." - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
WEB: to the assembly of God which is at Corinth; those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours: