Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints …
As Paul takes up the pen and plunges it into his inkwell, he likewise plunges at once into the midst of a great and profound truth. Here right in his very preliminary salutation, the apostle cannot even address the Ephesians without an extraordinary description and definition of what it means to be a Christian. Beginning with his own calling by the will of God, Paul addresses the saints of God. What is a saint? We must shed once and for all the false dichotomy that Roman Catholicism has introduced on this matter. In addressing saints, this does not mean that Paul is addressing an exceptionally holy group within the church, but he addresses ordinary church members, calling them “saints.” We must not be afraid of this designation; we are no more and no less than “saints;” this term is the irreducible minimum of what constitutes a Christian. You cannot be a Christian without being a saint, and you cannot be a saint without being a Christian.
In this Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul expresses his longing that the recipients of this letter would grasp deeper and higher truths. So he prays, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance …” (Ephesians 1:17-18). In a word, Paul desires us to know that we are saints, in order that we might live as saints.
The first thing he means by the designation saint, is that we are set apart by God. We are taken out of the world and granted a uniqueness by God; we become His peculiar possession. He is cleansed from the pollution of his sin – that which pollutes his mind, heart and actions. The saint is man like any other man, yet he is very different. Are you truly separated, essentially different from the world? Are you a saint?