1 Cor.1:1,2 – Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
This introductory statement gives us a good idea of the way Paul views the church. He uses two words, ekklesia and hagios, that speak volumes of the way the Lord intends His church to be in this world. Ekklesia is the Greek word for church. This word literally means ‘a calling out’ a community of people who have been called out of one community to form a whole different community. The church is called out of the fellowship of man and called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. We have a different Spirit from the community of this world, we have a different Lord, and we have been given a different purpose in this life. The other word Paul used in this introduction is hagios. This word is unfortunately translated saints in many translations. It actually means to be set apart from the world for the Lord or belonging to the Lord. Here is how William Barclay describes this word.
“A person who is hagios is different from others because he has been separated from the ordinary run in order specially to belong to God. This was the adjective by which the Jews described themselves; they were the hagios, the holy people, the nation which was quite different from other peoples because they in a special way belonged to God and were set apart for his service. When Paul calls the Christian hagios he means that he is different from other men because he specially belongs to God and to God’s service. And that difference is not to be marked by withdrawal from ordinary life, but by showing there a quality which will mark him out.”
What a beautiful phrase Paul uses, “called to be saints”. We are called by God to be His holy people. We are called out of one community to belong to another. What is the point of this calling and separation? The Lord desires for His Spirit, His love, to be put on full display in His church. We are called out for a purpose, to glorify God by enjoying Him and loving one another forever.