“The Saints,” and “The Faithful”
This important study below, from Alan Naas, explains how all who are among “the faithful” today were first saved and considered grace “saints” “in Christ.” But the ‘race saved saints’ of Israel, who were saved under Paul’s early Acts “gospel of the grace of God” (Act 20:24) are not to be counted among “the faithful’ who are ‘the elect of God’ in today's "body of Christ” that is destined for "the heavenly places." Israel's believers are destined to reign on earth (cf. Rev. 5:10, 20:6).
In Ephesians, the first of Paul’s post-Acts Prison epistles in the KJV, Paul immediately introduces this difference between “the saints” and “the faithful” from the very first verse, noting the comma after the word “Ephesus.”
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 1:1 (KJV)
It seems obvious from Paul’s seven post-Acts epistles, especially in Ephesians, that the saved “saints” of the early Acts period Pauline grace gospel doctrine includes the Messianic believers. They took John’s baptism unto repentance and believed Jesus’ words of John 3:16 assigning “everlasting life” to “whosoever” believes. This included the proselyte Gentiles in with Israel’s salvation.
Yet none had yet heard, seen, or appreciated the ‘the riches of the inheritance’ that Paul speaks of in Eph. 1:18, nor of “the fellowship of the Mystery [secret]” (Eph, 3:9). They could not since these truths were not revealed by Paul until after the close of the Acts period. Nor is it known to men today until they first hear, read, understand, and believe, these higher (heavenly) truths of the Pauline great “Mystery [Grk. musterion, secret] that is “now revealed” (cf. Eph. 3:1-5) to “you Gentiles” (3:1).
In Ephesians Paul is encouraging all the ‘saints’ who are the saved, sanctified, set-apart ones) to “read” of “the mystery” (Eph. 3:4), to come to know, be enlightened and understand, in order to come into the new higher realm of our Post-Acts calling of “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) as members of the joint “body of Christ” in the “fellowship [dispensation] of the Mystery.”
Thus, Paul encourages all grace-saved believers of today to go beyond the first things of their salvation, justification by grace, sanctification, and identification as seen in Paul’s Romans chapters 3-8. In Paul’s early epistles grace salvation was still focused toward “the Jew First” and the Gentile secondarily. But after Israel’s total “fall” in Acts 28:28, Paul then beckons “ALL men” (Eph, 3:9), Jew and Gentile, as equals to now go unto the fullness of ‘the knowledge’ of “riches of the inheritance” and eternal destiny in “the heavenly places.” This is now based upon the revelation of “THE mystery” of all mysteries, concerning the Gentile “church,” which is “body of Christ” (Eph. 1:22b-23a). Thus, Paul prayed for all men including the saved “Saints” and, “the faithful” of Eph 1:1, 15-23, commending them as seen in Eph 3:14-21.
In the study below, by Alan Naas, I’ve taken the liberty to add emphasis for added clarity of salient points. Alan also wrote:
“Unless we understand what happened at the end of the Book of Acts and the second ministry of Paul, after The Acts period, We will Never Rightly Understand the New Testament, “the Body of Christ,” or God’s unfolding purpose for the ages and how we fit in His plan.”
Thus I pray; “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:” Ephesians 1:17 (KJV)
Arthur J. Licursi
The Saints, and The Faithful
By Alan Naas
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 1:1 (KJV)
In our studies of Ephesians we have come across many interesting and deep questions concerning the meaning of some words and some passages of scripture.
For example; do the terms “the saints” and “the faithful in Christ Jesus” in verse 1:1 (above) refer to one group of people or two different groups of people that Paul is addressing? Are they all the faithful saints or is Paul making a definite distinction as to their respective standing in the truth?
- Charles H. Welch writes on page 30 in his book “In Heavenly Places” that “the ‘saints’ therefore are also ‘the faithful’ and are ‘in Christ.’ The double title suggests the two-foldness of their calling”
- Oscar Baker writes on page 274 in Book 1 of “Truth For Today” “the saints and faithful are the ones who have already believed the gospel of the dispensation of “the mystery”.
- Joseph Watkins writes on page 153 of his book “Making All See” concerning the “faithful”: “so we have the faithing ones, or those saints that have ‘faith’ in this new word of God, this new message out of heaven,” (the) believing believers (emphasis added).
Notice how Paul addresses the three assemblies in his prison epistles: Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians.
In Philippians 1:1 he writes, “To all the saints (40) in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi”. You will notice there is no address to the “faithful” in this epistle. The gospel (good news) of this dispensation was just beginning with the Philippians, but it would continue to “the Day of Christ” when “Christ… shall appear… in glory” (Col 3:4).
In Philippians 1:5 Paul prayed requesting with joy for their fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that “He that began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ Jesus.” And in Verse 4:15 Paul writes “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia….” Therefore, the word “faithful” is not used here (in Philippians) because they were just beginning to hear of “the mystery [secret]” (of Paul’s gospel).
However, in Colossians and Ephesians Paul addresses them in this way.
Col 1:2 To the saints (Strongs G40) and faithful (StrongsG4103) brethren in Christ which are at Colosse
Eph 1:1 … To the saints (G40) which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful (G4103) in Christ Jesus
“Saint” is the English translation of G40 ‘hagios’: holy, sacred, set apart from the world. G37 hagiazo is the verb to make holy or sanctify. Saint comes from the Latin sanctus and Old French seint.
“Faithful” is the translation of G4103 ‘pistos’: belief, believing, faith (ful), trustworthy.
Both are adjective nouns in the Greek: saintly (ones), faithful (ones).
“SAINTS” are defined in the Scriptures in Acts 9:13 and 1 Cor 1:2.
Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man [Paul], how much evil he hath done to saints at Jerusalem:
1 Cor 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,
I believe the “saints” as presented here are the ‘saved believers’ that were saved during the Acts period. Yet, today there are believers in Christ from John’s gospel of salvation with “everlasting life” (i.e., John 3:16) unto “everlasting life.” Thus, there are many who claim to be “Christians” but show no evidence of salvation.
“FAITHFUL” (Eph. 1:1) defined; of persons who show themselves trustworthy in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties. “Faithful” here (in Eph. and Col.) refers to those ‘saints’ who heard the new post-Acts message (from Paul), who BY FAITH believed, hoped, and were sealed. They are the saints who are given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, whose eyes of their understanding have been enlightened concerning the hid treasure (the knowledge of God) of this good message. (Proverbs 2:1-6). They are the saints who then acknowledged, responded to, and walk accordingly.
By the time Paul wrote Ephesians and Colossians, some were already faithful to its formerly secret message. While in Philippians, they were beginning to hear about “the Body of Christ.”
The only other place in the Bible where “saints” and “faithful” are found together is in Psalm 31:23 and Hosea 11:12.
Psalm 31:23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints (2623 godly man, holy one): for the LORD preserveth the faithful (539 true, steadfast, trustworthy), and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
Hosea 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful (539) among the saints (6918 the holy ones).
Here (above) it can be seen that the “faithful” stand out among the “saints” as of greater value to God.
We are certain that Philippians, Ephesians, and Colossians were not and are not intended for the unsaved, the unbeliever, the lost, or those in Adam. They are written to ‘the sanctified’: the ‘saints.’
So, is Ephesians written only to “the Body of Christ,” or to all saints who each have the potential to be an enlightened chosen member of “the Body of Christ”?
Let us consider all the possibilities. Sadly, even many saints rarely hear about the epistle of Ephesians and never know of its secret (the Mystery). There are saints who have read this epistle many times and still have not seen the sacred secret within it. There are saints who have read it many times and are in the beginning stages of having the eyes of their understanding enlightened. Finally, there are those who are faithful to all its teaching about the dispensation of “the mystery” of the “Body of Christ” and who are able to teach others about it.
Paul’s ministry and the purpose of this epistle, as stated in Eph 3:9. In the KJV it is translated “and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery” (KJV). Note that the word “men” is an inserted word not in the original text, therefore, it is in italic print. I suggest that the word “all saints” should be the appropriate insert in italics to convey the correct context. This (Ephesian) mystery is not for all men to see, but for all Saved men, or ‘all the saints,’ to see. Of course, the word “fellowship” should be correctly translated “stewardship” or “dispensation.” (Thus):
“And to make all saints see the dispensation of the mystery,”
This is confirmed and balanced by Col 1:26.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.
Once the Mystery has been (spiritually) manifested to a saint and he/she acknowledges it and responds accordingly, then he/she becomes ‘faithful’ in Christ Jesus. It is hard to imagine that there are some who see it, but then return to their old ways and are not faithful.
‘Sainthood’ comes from ACKNOWLEDGING THE SAVIOR. While ‘faithfulness’ comes from ACKNOWLEDGING THE CALLING. I believe that every calling has its respective “faithful.” Many are called to ‘sainthood,’ but FEW are Chosen Or Elected who are found FAITHFUL.
Like it is said in 1 Tim 2:4 there is a step beyond salvation that leads to faithfulness in this dispensation. “Who will have all men to be saved AND to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
Even in his epistle to Titus Paul writes in the first verse:
According to the faith of God’s elect, AND the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.
To be (the) elect or chosen of God, faith and acknowledgement are required.
Sometimes it is helpful to step back and consider our own experiences in order to understand the teaching of the Scriptures. This can put things in a perspective that is removed from all the Greek meaning of English words and sentence structures that can tangle our mind.
For my first thirty years, the Roman Catholic Church never mentioned Ephesians or Colossians, yet they (the RCC) claim to be the rightful “Body of Christ.” In their practice the “Body of Christ” was the wafer they placed on my tongue at communion: the “Eucharist.” What deceitfulness!
For the next 20 years I read this epistle as one who believed in Christ as the Son of God and my Saviour. I was a saint who was forgiven for my sins with the promise of eternal life and a hope of going to heaven. But I was still “the old man” and “in darkness.” I identified with a church rather than identifying with Christ alone. Although I read this epistle many times and heard sermons on “salvation by grace”, and “putting on the full armor of God”, and “husbands love your wives”. I was never told the glorious message of this epistle and therefore could NOT acknowledge it’s truth.
As a believer under the traditional teaching of Protestant Christianity, it seemed like I was stuck in the Gospels and the Acts as though that period has been extended to the present day. The religion of Christianity holds the saints of God in bondage to the kingdom doctrine of the Gospels and the Book of Acts and does not allow them to learn all of God’s truth from the Holy Spirit of the truth. In fact, they don’t even need the seven post-Acts epistles of Paul for their traditional doctrine.
When I was a saint in the darkness, I still tried to claim the position of being “in heaven” with Christ. I tried to claim the salvation, and the sealing, and the unsearchable riches as my inheritance. I tried to make these holy things (to) fit my covenant theology which was still connected to Israel. But for the grace of God, I would still be there leading the way to perdition.
But, then I was given “’the spirit of wisdom and the revelation in the acknowledgement of Him, the eyes of my understanding were enlightened to know what is the hope of His calling to a heavenly hope in the Body of Christ.’ Having believed this as a “new good message” for me I was sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise as a faithful saint in Christ Jesus, with whom now I identify solely as a member of “His body.”
Even though I was dead “to” trespasses and sins, I was given the gift of grace of a new salvation, a new conversion, being now quickened, raised and seated with Christ in the Far Above (All) Heavens. I was not previously in this position as a “saint.” This definitely was a new good message for me.
Now as a “faithful” saint, I now understand the deceit that I was under. Being “complete in Him (Christ),” I no longer see a reason to “go to church” or partake in “ordinances” or “holidays” or “religion”.
It is my opinion that (in Ephesians) Paul is addressing (three) different groups (of believers) of different levels of understanding.
- To one group, who may read and never see the “mystery [secret].”
- For another group, so that they understand it for the first time and
- to another group who understands it and BELIEVES it, so that they can mature in their understanding and teach others or each other (as I am doing now in the Spirit).
At some point in time, I have (as some of you have) been translated from the first group to the second group; from a saint to a faithful saint, from the old man to the new man; from the authority of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love, from darkness to the light.
The same power that raised Jesus from the grave and set Him at the right hand of the Father in the above heavens is the same power that brings an Acts believer to (be) a post-Acts believer, a workman from being ashamed before God to unashamed; from being called-out to being chosen out, from the beginning of salvation to a working salvation with a view to the finished salvation. That same power enables the saint to hear, to believe, to see, to acknowledge, and to walk in a new position and a with new portion of a special inheritance that includes unsearchable riches of glory and every blessing that is spiritual in glory.
The power in Paul’s post-Acts message can transform one from an adoption to the promises of the seed of Abraham to … the adoption ‘into Christ Himself.’ This changes the inheritance. We now not only have a new inheritance, but we also BECOME God’s inheritance (cf. Eph. 1:18).
All throughout these two epistles Paul seems to be writing to two parties simultaneously in a back-and-forth pattern.
In Eph 1:12 “who before hoped in Christ” would be our former status as a “saint.”
- That we should be to the praise of his glory, who
first trustedbefore hoped in Christ.
Then verse 1:13 shows the transformation to a “faithful one.” This conversion is our second salvation.
- In Whom
yealso trusted, after that ye heard(you having heard) the word of (the) truth, the gospel(good news) of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believedbelieving (believing What? the musterion Mystery truth), yewere (spiritually) sealed (as an initiate) with that(of the) Spirit of promisethe one promised of the Holy One.
In Colossians chapter 2 Paul goes back to our status as a (saved) saint being dead to trespasses and sins in verses 13. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” (Colossians 2:13 (KJV)
Then, back in Eph. 2:4-10 Paul speaks of the saint being transformed to a “faithful saint” by being quickened, raised, and seated together with Christ (v6) having received the salvation-by-grace- through-faith gift of God. This is our second conversion and salvation.
Paul’s prayer starting in verse 1:17 (below) is addressing the (already saved) saints because, for ‘the faithful in Christ,’ this prayer has already been answered and acknowledged.
The prayer in Eph 3:14-21 is addressed to ‘the faithful saints.’
- For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom
the wholeevery family in heaven and earth is named,
- 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
- 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the
churchcalled-out assembly by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without endunto all generations of the age of the ages. Amen.
Look at Eph 4:11-12
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors, and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Who is doing the perfecting, or re-adjusting, of the saints? In Eph 4:12 it is the ministry of the “faithful” to assist in the “perfecting” or re-adjusting of the “saints” as a work of ministry and the building up (edifying) of the Body. So, the “faithful” are “readjusting” the “saints.” (In my life, it was those who have already embraced the ‘dispensation of the Mystery’ of “the Body of Christ” (the faithful) who were instrumental in readjusting me from a “saint” to a “faithful saint.”)
In verse 4:14 it is the immature and unfaithful saints who are the “children tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
What does Paul mean in 4:17 as “other Gentiles”?
Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Could “other Gentiles” be unfaithful saints?
Compare this verse to 1:17-18.
Eph1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the most holy place,
And consider Eph 5:8, 11.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
- And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Don’t forget Col 1:12-13
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in (the) light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
These “other Gentiles” could be the saints who are “otherwise minded” who choose to follow another path. Like it is said in Phil 3:15 there are the ‘perfect’ and the ‘otherwise minded’.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
I am sure that we all were once “otherwise minded” as saints in the darkness.
In our former state as a “saint”, we were “the old man” in Eph 4:22 and Col 3:9.
Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation [manner of living] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Col 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
The “new man” is the ‘faithful saint.’
Eph 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Col 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.
In Col 3:12 the “faithful” are called “the elect of God.”
Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God…
In Col 4:5 the unfaithful saint is referred to as “them that are without” (outside the fellowship).
Col 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
These are only a few examples of the many references to “the saints” and “the faithful.”
It appears to me that the warnings and “beware” references that Paul is giving in Ephesians and Colossians are in reference to saints who are not faithful to the proper understanding of the dispensation of the mystery of “the Body of Christ.” I believe these were the saints who became the founders of the ‘religion of Christianity’ we see today, such as the so-called Apostolic Fathers. (They are often heard wanting to ‘go back to Pentecost’ and the so-called ‘early church’) Their writings included references to some verses in Ephesians and Colossians, but never mention “the mystery” of “the Body of Christ.”
I once heard a saying “Those who are given spiritual eyes do not have to spiritualIZE (the Bible) by telling spiritual lies.”
A word of caution is needed here to point out that some places where the English translation of a Greek form hagios is “saint” may be better translated with a different word(s). In Eph 1:18 “His inheritance in the saints” should read “His inheritance in the most holy (place).”
This also true in Col 1:12 “hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” should read “of the inheritance in the holiest place in the light.”
In Eph 2:19 “but fellowcitizens (with) the saints and of the household of God” should read “but fellowcitizens (in) the holiest place and the household of God.” (There is no preposition in the Greek before hagios.
A “saint” is a believer in Christ who does not yet “see” the dispensation of the mystery of the Body of Christ that Paul expounds in Ephesians and Colossians. A “saint” is referred to by Paul as “children of disobedience,” “the old man”, “other Gentiles”, “darkness”, otherwise minded”, or “them that are without.”
The “faithful” are saints who have been given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, the eyes of their understanding being enlightened, also called “saints in the light”, “adopted sons”, “elect”, “chosen”, “accepted in the beloved”, “perfect” and the “called out assembly,” which is “His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:23)
The two men who delivered Paul’s epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians and to Philemon were called “faithful” by Paul.
Eph 6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:
Col 4:7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord:
Col 4:9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.
Paul also calls Epaphras a faithful minister.
Col 1:7 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 stewards of mysteries are required to found faithful.
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
In the four Prison Epistles, the word “saints” is found twice in Philippians, but not once in 2 Timothy. The word “faithful” is not found in Philippians but in 2 Timothy three times with one that applies to this topic in 2:2.
2 Tim 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
In the final chapter of his final Epistle Paul writes, “I have kept the faith”. Paul remained faithful through two significant changes in his life: two conversions in his doctrine. Blessed are those who can and will do the same in their lives. You are truly special in the eyes of God.
A faithful saint shows evidence by his walk (Col 1:10) and good works (Eph 2:10) and fruits of the Spirit (Eph 5:9). There are several verses on these.
Oh, what an honor it is to be called “faithful” in this dispensation; the dispensation that is called “the fullness of the times [seasons]” (Eph 1:10) and “the age of the ages” (Eph 3:21). There is no greater calling than to be called out of the religion of Christianity and into the Body of Christ. There is no greater blessing than to be transformed from a “saint” to a “faithful saint” considering most of the occurrences of the word “faithful” in the Scriptures refer to either the God or to the Christ.
That means we are in awesome company. Think about it! If we are going to occupy a seat next to the Father and the Son in the above heavens, we are charged with much more than the other saints. We must be called “faithful” to qualify for such a position.
After all, we are members of “the body.”