The final Sundays of the church year traditionally focus on the final judgment. In more recent years, this particular Sunday in the church year is also called “Saints Triumphant.” We think of moving hymn verses such as:
For all the saints who from their labors rest,
All who their faith before the world confessed,
Your name, O Jesus, be forever blessed, Alleluia!
But then there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way. Alleluia!
“Saints” is a word the Bible uses to refer to believers in Christ.
Another name for “the Holy, Christian Church” in the Apostles’ Creed is “the communion of saints.”
A “saint” is someone set apart by grace, drawn inside the circle of God’s undeserved love through faith in Christ Jesus. The holiness that we have is not our own, but that which was earned for us by the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son. Washed in His blood and robed in His righteousness, we ultimately triumph through Christ as Revelation 7 puts it:
9 After these things I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing in front of the throne and of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. 10 They called out with a loud voice and said:
Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb…
13 One of the elders spoke to me and said, “These people dressed in white robes, who are they and where did they come from?”
And I answered him, “Sir, you know.”
14 And he said to me:
These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Because of this they are in front of the throne of God,
and they serve him day and night in his temple.
He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.
16 They will never be hungry or thirsty ever again.
The sun will never beat upon them, nor will any scorching heat,
17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7 (EHV)
“These are the saints of glorious fame, who from the great affliction came,” says one hymn. “Saints who set their world ablaze,” says still another.
By faith we are given to see and to finally join Abraham, David, Paul and numberless others in heaven above as Saints Triumphant!