Wednesday, June 28
Earlier editions of the KJV entitled the gospels St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. This reflects the early Church’s practice of honoring godly people, a practice not authorized by God. On the contrary, the N.T. teaches that no one can please God apart from grace. All glory is to go to God. Man elevating another man to “sainthood” doesn’t do that. It not only promotes pride in the one chosen, it implies superior honor on the one who does the choosing. This, in turn, spawned the practice of accumulated merit that can then be given to those that are lacking it. All this is contrary to N.T. teaching about humility. Encouraging pride caters to the sin nature. We don’t need any more motivation in that direction. The goal is to get rid of the sin nature, which is only accomplished by the sanctification process, which is also a work of God’s grace. That will only be completed when this life is over—as described in 1 Cor. 15. Opposite of pride is humility. Paul deals with this in Philippians 2. He cites Jesus’ humility in leaving behind his position of glory to become a servant. Christ as our role model; we are to follow his example. Now, back to the sainthood issue. Those who have progressed in overcoming pride and have become more humble should be recognized for that achievement, but it should only be in terms of glorifying God. And, by the way, the N.T. refers to all the redeemed as “saints.” In that sense, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John can legitimately be called saints. But that was not the intent in the old KJV. A personal addendum: We are celebrating my wife’s 87th birthday today. Elizabeth doesn’t have an official title of “Saint,” but she is one. The Bible says so, and I say so. I married a saint!