On occasion, when discussing the atonement, Paul carefully differentiates between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians, calling the former saints and the latter believers. It was the saints, the holy people of God in the Old Testament, who brought the Messiah and redemption into the world, eventually extending the blessings to the Gentiles.
This usage may be seen in 1 Corinthians 1:2, which is addressed to “those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy [saints—Jewish Christians], together with all those [Gentiles] everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—Lord and ours.” The same distinction is made in Ephesians 1:1: “to the saints [Jewish Christians] in Ephesus and the faithful [Gentiles] in Christ Jesus.” Colossians is also addressed to “the holy and faithful brothers” in Christ.
Paul addresses the letter to all the Christians in Rome as saints (Rom. 1:7, because Gentiles who, as wild olive branches have been grafted into the stem of Judaism, now share in the full relationship to that plant and are also saints), but the Jewish Christians in Rome, who are to be recipients of a special contribution Paul collected among Gentile churches, are called “the saints” in distinction (Rom. 15:25–33).
It is informative in this regard that Paul refers to this same collection in 2 Corinthians 8:1–4 as a sharing by the Macedonian churches with “the saints,” not with the “other” saints. Paul’s apprehension over whether the Jerusalem saints would accept such a contribution was based on the fact that Jewish Christians were being asked to accept the offering from Gentile Christians. The entire discussion of the issue in Acts 21 when Paul arrived in Jerusalem makes this clear.
Thus, although Gentile Christians are saints, too, because they were given access to the faith of Abraham and the people of the Old Testament, when redemptive history is discussed the Jews are specially designated the “saints” while the Gentiles are considered believers who were later admitted into this “holy” Jewish nucleus.
Do you feel what this author has said is true and that Paul is referring to 2 separate groups of people?
Thank you for that light snack. I'll be honest, I didn't even know the word was used in the Bible though I never looked into it. I knew believers was used for the most part.
I looked at the 3 Scriptures where it is used & the first one is the one you posted & it says they were 'called' that as if someone had put that name on them. Then Agrippa asked Paul how to be one. That doesn't necessarily mean that Paul called himself that. Then, the last verse is in Peter where he does call believers as Christians. Maybe it was just kind of a way for the world to distinguish those weird people coming around who followed that crazy Man & the name stuck.
Like today, they have become attached to names like Calvinists, Baptists, Catholics.
Thank you. I thought he was stretching a tad.