All Saints’ Day

The Covington News - - Religion -

Nov. 1 on the church cal­en­dar is known as “All Saints Day.” Most of us are more fa­mil­iar with the cel­e­bra­tion of all hallow eve (known to­day as Hal­loween), but we have for­got­ten the true sig­nif­i­cance of th­ese events.

When we think of saints, we think of great men and women of the past, St. Au­gus­tine, St. Fran­cis As­sisi, and the list con­tin­ues with the names of great men and women of the church. In the early Ro­man church the process of be­com­ing a saint was ar­du­ous. I will not go through the process, but one of the re­quire­ments in­cludes at least one ver­i­fi­able mir­a­cle.

The­o­log­i­cally this view also held that only saints were guar­an­teed en­trance into heaven — cer­tainly very bad news for the av­er­age per­son. As a re­sult, the church of be­gan to lose mem­bers at a rapid pace. Most re­al­iz­ing that they would never qual­ify to be a saint gave up on the church. To stem this flow away from the church, the church de­vel­oped the con­cept of pur­ga­tory. The con­cept was sim­ple: if you don’t make heaven in this life, you are not yet lost and have a chance to re­deem your­self (or be re­deemed by an­other) in the next life.

In the New Tes­ta­ment, every­one who ac­cepts Christ is re­ferred to as a saint. Cer­tainly we un­der­stand there are those who are giants of faith. Most as­suredly we agree that there are those whose ser­vice to Christ makes them stand out among men. How­ever we must re­mem­ber that at the foot of the cross every­one stands on equal ground.

The Bib­li­cal con­cept that ad­dresses our topic of dis­cus­sion is the term “jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.” Billy Gra­ham said “Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion means ‘Just as if I’ve never sinned.’” That’s a pretty good def­i­ni­tion of the word. Jus­ti­fi­ca­tion means “God de­clares us righ­teous.” It is a le­gal trans­ac­tion that takes place.

How can Holy God de­clare sin­ful men righ­teous — that is “just as if they never sinned?” He does so on the ba­sis of the will­ing sac­ri­fice of Je­sus on be­half of all who will be­lieve on his name. Let us never for­get that the con­cept of sin in­volves our of­fenses against God that many times re­veals it­self in our of­fenses against men.

If I pur­chase a car, the pur­chase price is due the seller. I can­not go down to the lo­cal deal­er­ship and say, “I’m go­ing to pur­chase this car, but I want to make

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