On this day I have heard of the beatification of Pope John Paul II, moving him one step closer to sainthood and its blessing. How marvelous for this man to be so honored even more quickly than those who have passed from this life before him. Are there some who deserve a higher standing than others who are mere mortals? Jesus was speaking against the evil intent of some who accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebub. (Lu. 11:17ff) When He finished His teaching a woman in the crowd raised her voice and declared, "Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed." (vs. 27) Notice then the words of Jesus in response to the woman, "On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (vs. 28) Jesus did not elevate His mother to the place man desired for her, but instead spoke of those who will be lifted up by God Himself.
When Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians he addressed them as saints and faithful brethren. (1:2) The reason for this address shows us the state of those who have been sanctified by God. Through the gospel we are called out of the world as the Colossians were (1:5, 13,14; 2:9ff), and are then added to those who are being saved. (Acts 2:47) Those who are sanctified are in the church, the body of Christ of which Jesus is the head. (Col. 1:18) Paul also relates the mystery of past ages has been manifested, or made known, to the saints who comprise the church, and are recipients of the riches of the glory revealed in the gospel, which is eternal life. (Ro. 6:23; Col. 1:27)
The words Jesus spoke to the woman as recorded by Luke relates to those who hear and obey the gospel. We are blessed because of the wonderful gift of grace and mercy God provides to us, as well as having been sanctified by God, thus making us saints. As we walk according to the word of God in faithful obedience, we find the constant cleansing of the blood of Jesus. (1 Jn. 1:7) It is not what we have done but what has been done for us. We are not elevated above other men but are simply set apart and the Father knows those who are His.
If we are to live as the mirror image of Jesus let us not elevate man higher than he ought to be, but let us hold up the word of God as the standard of life to the world. Sainthood need not wait, it is available now for those who choose to be sanctified by God through the washing of Jesus' blood. Rodger