Rev. George Borghardt
The Lord is קֹדֶשׁ (qadosh). He is “holy.” He alone is qadosh. He alone is holy.
The Lord’s “holy ones” are His “saints.” They are qadosh because He is qadosh. They are not holy in and of themselves. They certainly aren’t made of better stuff than other people. They’re holy because He sets them apart. He separates them for Himself in the death of His Son. He makes them His own in the waters of Holy Baptism. He marks each one and says, “This one is mine.”
The saints receive His holiness by faith in Christ and Christ alone. Christ lived the life they should live—qadosh before God. Then, Christ suffered the death they deserve on the Cross.
His saints are washed, they are sanctified, consecrated, marked, and holied in the waters of Baptism. They are enlivened by the Lord’s Words. They are fed His Body and Blood in the Supper.
You don’t become a saint when you die. No, you are a saint right now. You are His qadosh one. You are forgiven. You are holy. You are His own. Your saint-ness, your qadosh-ness, has splashed on you by Jesus’ cross. Your holiness is received by faith alone.
All Saints’ Day is the day in the Church year when we remember the saints who have already fallen asleep in Christ. They aren’t really dead. They haven’t become angels. Nor do they only exist in the past tense, or cease to exist entirely.
No, they sleep. Their hearts may have stopped, and they may be physically dead, but they aren’t really dead in Christ. They died with Christ in Holy Baptism when they. He now lives and they live in Him. He is the resurrection. He is the life. On the Last Day, He will raise them from the their naps to be with Him forever.
That’s why the saints don’t need our prayers anymore! They are Jesus-died-and-rose-for-me-fine. For them, there is no more pain. There is no more sickness. There is no more persecution or hurt. There is no more sin, temptation, or devil to torment them. There is only rest—finally—from the work of serving others.
When, at last, the trumpet sounds, and the Lord returns, they will be raised to stand before Him robed in the qadosh-Calvary-earned white robe that they received in Holy Baptism. The Lord will raise them up and they will live forever in Him.
We’ll see them again soon, on the Last Day. As surely as the Jesus who made them qadosh has made us qadosh, we will see them again. We’ll know them, recognize them, as well as we are known by our Lord Jesus. We will live with them and reign with them in Jesus to all eternity.
But you don’t even have to wait for the Last Day to be near them. At the Lord’s Supper, His Supper, the Holy Communion, you will eat with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven. Right there, that’s the saints! Those are the Lord’s holy ones. You sing, pray, and commune with them every week practicing or foretasting the marriage feast in His Kingdom which shall have no end.
A blessed All Saints’ Day to you, as you remember and thank God for His sleeping holy ones. They touched our lives, changed us, made us who we are.
The Lord is קֹדֶשׁ (qadosh). He is holy. He, alone, is qadosh. He alone is holy. His saints are qadosh. He has made them His holy ones. They are forgiven. They live forever in Him.
Rev. George Borghardt is Pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in McHenry, IL and president of Higher Things.