We Are Saints- Hebrews 10:10

As we continue in our study of Hebrews 10, we now come to the verse which serves as the climax of the first section of this chapter. Verse 10 is translated (in NIV) as “And by that will we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. This post will focus upon the first half of this verse, on the teaching here that all believers are “holy”. The Greek word holy here is the perfect passive participle of the verb hagiazo. This Greek word can be translated into English in three ways: it is rendered as “sanctify” in its verbal form, “holy” in its adjectival form, and “saint” in its noun form. The Greek participle is a very flexible kind of word, and can be used in many different ways, which is part of its beauty, but also of its difficulty. The participle is a verbal substantive, which basically means it is a verb which is used as a noun or adjective, or sometimes as an adverb. It is primarily and most frequently used as an adjective, which modify nouns. We can tell which noun they modify based on the case form they are written in, and here hagaizo is in the nominative case. The difficulty here is that the sentence has no noun in the nominative, so the participle here functions more as a noun, and it may be more proper to translate it as “saints” (it is plural here) rather than as “holy”. The verb in the sentence is the verb eimi, the equivalent of the English verb “to be”, and it is used here in the present active indicative, first person plural, or in English “we are”. The indicative mood is used to express a statement of fact, to tell us the way things are. So, what all of the grammar above ultimately means is that we could very properly translate the Greek here as “and by that will, we are saints”. The use of the verb to be here is crucial to note, because the verb to be tells us what someone or something actually is, what its nature is. We, as believers, are saints by nature, it is what and who we are, and the writer states it here as a matter of fact. Through the use of the participle here, the writer points to something very important to understand. Since the participle is a verb used here as a noun, it retains some of its verbal characteristics, this is done here in order that the writer may communicate the Biblical concept of being producing doing. What this means is that, according to Scripture, our behavior flows out of our being, our being produces our doing, what we are determines what we do, rather than what we do determining what we are. God here makes us “saints”, and this being made saints results in “saintly” behavior, God makes us righteous in order that we will begin to live righteously. In the Biblical way of seeing things, we do not become righteous by living righteously, but we are made righteous so that we will live righteously. God here makes us saints in Christ Jesus, and it is this making us saints which results in saintly behavior, and it is by the use of the participle here that the writer brings this thought to our minds in this passage. All believers are “saints”, and we are so that we may begin to live lives in the manner in which the writer tells us Jesus did in verses 5-9, lives in which we “have dug out our ears” and “have come to do your will, O God”.

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