Can Everyone Be Recognized On All Saint's Sunday?
As part of our "Ask Pastor Dave" blog post series, a parishioner wrote in to ask...
"I have a question about the Saints. Is it just people who are baptized and confirmed, or is God's grace extended to all humans on All Saint's Sunday?"
There are two definitions of Saint. The first has to do with those remarkable Christians, whose lives we remember because it encourages us in our own faithfulness. The second definition is broader. A saint is anyone whose life is washed clean by the righteousness of Christ, received as an undeserved gift. This is why Paul could be angry about the unfaithfulness of the Corinthian Christians and still call them “the Saints at Corinth.” This is why Luther could teach that we are "simil justis et peccator” (which means “simultaneously saint and sinner”).
To push it beyond this (for instance, to say that anyone who desires to know God, and approaches that desire through a faith other than Christianity) wouldn't be Biblical. But I suppose you could make that argument based on your understanding of God. The question would be whether or not the particular religious system had at its center God's desire to grant forgiveness and righteousness to believers. My understanding is that quite a few religious systems don't meet that criteria — and in fact present the opposite message, that some form of obedience is what makes the believer right with God.
Do you have a question for Pastor Dave? Reach out directly and ask. Your message will be kept confidential unless you give us permission to publish the correspondence here on the Saint Peter blog.