1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Now we leave the addressor and come to the addressee of Ephesians.
To the saints
Paul wrote Ephesians for Christians or, as he called them, saints. A saint is someone who is set apart in God’s eyes. “Saint” means set apart. The New Testament uses the root of the Greek term in a number of ways: saint, sanctify, sanctification, hallow, holy, holiness.
There are two ways a believer is set apart: (1) positionally and (2) experientially. In the first sense, when we become believers God gives us the same status quo in His presence as Jesus has. Then, we progressively become more and more set apart to God as we grow in Christ (the second sense, which we call progressive salvation). Paul used the word “saints” here in the positional sense, not the progressive sense.
The two phrases “in Christ” and “in Ephesus” point to two spheres. Ephesus was the geographical location where the saints at Ephesus lived. This was their earthly address. Saints in this case were people on earth (1 Co 14:33; Eph 4:11-12; 5:3; 6:18; Co 1:4,12; He 6:10; Jude 3). Here the saints located at Ephesus.
The phrase “in Christ” was their spiritual sphere. This was their position (status quo) before God. As God viewed them, they had the same status quo as Jesus Christ has in God’s eyes.
Paul characterized the Ephesians with two descriptions. First, he called them saints. This means that they were set apart as chosen for God. The Ephesians were saints because they were possessed by God in a distinctive way. The blood of Christ bought and paid for them. God acquired them by the death of Christ. Second, he called them faithful.
“Saint” is not a term of morality. It has nothing to do with how we act. It has more to do with who we are. This is not a term of condition but of position. We belong to God. At our point of belief, God claimed us for His own. Therefore, we belong to Him. We are saints by virtue of our position in Christ.
All Christians are saints.
A saint is not a special or holy person to be venerated by the church. God officially designates every believer a saint at the point of his salvation. He or she is someone set apart as God’s very own. A saint is a regenerated person, not a good person. True believers will eventually become saintly.