Here are 7 reasons why I love the Saints:
1. God’s Grace Shines Through Them.
When we honor the saints we are honoring God who created them, just as when we admire a work of art we are praising the artist. It would be foolish if an artist said, “stop admiring my painting and honor me!” Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” (Luke 1:46) The holy witness of the saints help us see God more clearly, since it is God who created them and God’s grace that is at work in them.
2) “All generations Will Call Me Blessed” (Luke 1:48)
The Jews and Christians throughout history have honored the lives of the saints. This is nothing new and we see it in almost every culture including ours in the US. It is natural and important to revere our family members who have “competed well for the faith” (1 Tim 6:12). Remember them, venerate them, be inspired by them, but NEVER worship them! Worship is for God alone (Luke 4:8) and if we worship anyone or anything apart from God, than we are being led astray.
3) Jesus Has Commissioned Us (Matt 28:19)
Jesus is the one mediator between us and God (1 Tim 2:5) and it is Jesus who connects us to the Father. Jesus is with us and commanding us from the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3) enlisting us to be disciples and evangelize. Our lives may be the only Gospel someone ever reads. Jesus said, “Go make disciples of ALL nations.” When we pray for others we are co-mediators with Christ in the mission He has given. When someone asks for our prayers, it would be foolish to say, “no, go right to Jesus, I won’t be a co-mediator with Christ.” Instead, we gladly pray for others. I am thankful for the host of saints in heaven and on earth that Jesus has enlisted to the mission of bringing about the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are co-workers in God’s service.”
Mary intercedes at the Wedding at Cana (John 2), Job intercedes for his friends ("After Job had prayed for his friends...” - Job 42:10), the apostles intercede for the church (Philippians 1:3, Romans 1:9)
Jesus is the Great High Priest and the Bible tells us that we also “have a royal priesthood and we should offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus” (1 Peter 2:5). “We participate in the sufferings of Christ and He lives in us and works through us” (1 Peter 4:13, Galatians 2:20). You have been commissioned, enlisted and commanded to be a co-mediator or co-worker with Christ (“Pick up your cross and follow Him” - Matt 16:24) - answer that call like the saints do!
4) Our God is the God of the Living. (Mark 12:27)
Those who die in Christ are not really dead, but alive in Heaven and even more alive than we are. When we ask the saints for their prayers, we do not pray to the dead. God hears the prayers of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29) and the prayers of the saints are POWERFUL! (James 5:16). In the popular book and movie, “Heaven is For Real” a father shares the inspirational story of his young son who dies, goes to heaven and returns to tell about it. One of the first thing this boy does in heaven is to pray for his father, his family and loved ones. Of course we are allowed to pray for others when we are in Heaven!
5) Beauty Points to God and Brings Him Glory
God is the Creator of Beauty and honoring Him with art is not objectively wrong. While God commands that we cannot WORSHIP graven images (Leviticus 26:1), He also instructs the building of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings), mounting a bronze serpent on a pole (Numbers 21:9) and having Cherubim and Seraphim (angel statues) accompany the arc of the Covenant (Exodus 25:19). When I see a Nativity in front of someone’s yard around Christmas, or Christian jewelry, or majestic architecture or stained glass or beautiful smells and bells I am reminded of what they are representing and my soul rises to the Heavens because of their beauty. When I see God’s beautiful creation (sunset, mountain range, ocean, etc.) I am inspired to praise Him. The heroic holy witness of God’s saints are just as inspiring and beautiful - some of His greatest work! Being reminded of God’s grace working through them makes my spirit sour!
I know those visiting the Lincoln Memorial aren’t visiting to worship Abraham Lincoln and I know those kneeling before a tombstone aren’t worshiping that stone. In the same way, I am not going to judge the hearts of those honoring the holy witnesses that have gone before us (1 Cor 4:3-6). I don’t know their hearts, but I do know that I am thankful when reminded of the life of a saint since I can relate to them in a specific way, I ask for their prayers, and I am encouraged by their example. When I kneel and pray before a statue I am not worshiping that statue, but am praying to and worshiping God.
The Iconoclast Heresy of the 7th and 8th centuries was the idea that all Christian art should be destroyed since it is distracting us from who God really is. This heresy was greatly influenced by the Muslim practices, and the Church was forced to authoritatively define into doctrine that art can be used to glorify God and is not objectively immoral. Do all things (including art) for the glory of God. (1 Cor 10:31)
6) Utilize the Great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)
The book of Revelation (Revelation 4,5,6,8) tells us how the saints in heaven are worshiping God, hearing our prayers and praying for us. As Christians we are all part of Christ’s body and Christ’s Church (one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism - Ephesians 4:5). We are one family helping, honoring and praying for one another.
7) Their Story Inspires Ours
We can relate to the lives of different saints in unique ways. Their stories inspire us to live for God as they did, just as we get inspired by the testimonies of other brothers and sisters in Christ that we look up to. It is God that makes saints and when we honor them, we are glorifying what God has done in their lives.
The saints are our family and fully alive with Christ in Heaven! They are our biggest fans - they are praying for us and rooting us on towards victory! Venerate the saints; remember the saints; honor the saints; ask the saints to pray for you; let their stories inspire yours; stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before you - don’t do it all on your own; stand on the ceiling, don’t start from the floor. Remember that every saint has a past and through God’s grace we can have a heroic future - there are no ½ saints; God has made saints out of great sinners, but He has never made a saint out of a wimp; Be a warrior; be a witness; be a disciple; be a rebel; be a beast; be a SAINT!!!