I was in the middle of a discussion in a Christian Forum, where the Calvinist member say that : "holy man / saint" can only exist only after Jesus died. Before Jesus died, all the OT people are neither holy nor saints, they are sinners - even soon after they died they are not holy/saints because they haven't been freed from their sins and their original sin by Christ's blood.

2 Chronicles 23:6
But let none come into the house of the LORD, save the priests, and they that minister of the Levites; they shall go in, for they are holy: but all the people shall keep the watch of the LORD.

Psalm 34:9
O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.

Deuteronomy 33:3
Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.

Ezra 8:28
And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.

It's the same question which I ask to the Calvinist member in that forum, but I don't get a satisfying answer from them as their reply starts to going around and around, jumping here and there.

So... my question is:
From the verse above - how come they are being said as "holy" or "saints" if according to the Calvinist, OT people are not holy/saint yet because the blood of Christ hasn't cleanse them yet ?

  • 3
    The Calvinist you met is misrepresenting the Calvinist, Reformed understanding of the people in the Old Testament.
    – Birdie
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 20:09
  • I think that in the OT there were holy people and things because God hovered over those thingsb basically. But that it is in the NT that people are made trully saints, because God is within them, and so they are living torches illuminating wherever they go, they themselves not needing to look for light outside of themselves. . Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:20
  • 2
    This is NOT a Calvinist perspective. I would be more curious to see what you have found out about this from your own research... Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 3:46
  • There may be a confusion as to Saints (in heaven) and Consecration (on earth) the Root, Kadosh in hebrew, Hagios in Greek, Sanctos in latin and Holy in English, reflect many different things especially in the OT.
    – Marc
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 14:53
  • They argue, only through Jesus blood that someone can be made holy (sanctified) - so the OT people before Jesus die can not be a holy man (saint).
    – karma
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 15:42

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, the Calvinists in the web forum mentioned are misrepresenting the Calvinist position on Old Testament saints.

Westminster Confession of Faith 11:6 states: "The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament." (Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter XI: Of Justification.)

In context, it refers to the fact that justification is according to God's decrees for all the elect on the basis of Christ's death, with numerous additional clarifications. The point is that Christ's blood was equally efficacious for them.

Occasionally, you will hear Calvinist objections to calling a person, "Saint Such and Such," not because they believe it is incorrect, but because they think it can imply that there are special categories of Christians who qualify to be saints, while others are not. This has more to do with objecting to the Roman Catholic view of granting certain Christians sainthood after they die.

To Calvinists, a person who is in Christ by faith is a saint, and prior to the incarnation, there were Old Testament people who were in Christ.

  • Ben, "Persons who are in Christ by faith are saints, holy/righteous people". For example, Abraham is a holy/righteous man, Paul the apostle is a holy/righteous man. Today, there is Mr.X (not a priest/evangelist) who is in Christ by faith. So Mr.X is also a holy/righteous man. I wonder, in the Calvinist point of view, is there an understanding something like this ---> "Mr.X is not as holy/righteous as Abraham and Paul" (?). continue
    – karma
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 5:49
  • I mean, in Mr.X point of view of himself is something like this ---> "I'm not as holy/righteous as Abraham and Paul". Or is it the same ? ---> "I'm as holy/righteous as Abraham and Paul". Thank you.
    – karma
    Commented Feb 13, 2018 at 5:51
  • Calvinists recognize that every Christian is righteous only through the righteousness of Christ which depends on faith. A Christian is considered perfectly righteous because they possess the righteous life of Christ. Calvinists do recognize that "lived out" holiness is real and it is every Christian's calling to live in accord with their identity in Christ in personal obedience in the power of Christ. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 2:56
  • It is true that different people exhibit different levels of personal holiness and Calvinists do recognize that there are heavenly rewards for good works. The "perfectly holy" component is eschatological. The lived out component is today. We live today in the power of the eschatological truth. Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 2:58
  • Ben, "different levels of personal holiness" ---> I think the "good" situation is that one not to look of himself as more holy/righteous than other, but vice-versa ... one look to somebody else as more holy/righteous than himself (humble ?). But the thing is if the comparison is between a living human, then the final will go to God who is not a human being. (as it will reach a point that no living human is more holy/righteous than other living human). continue
    – karma
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 4:44

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