Definition: According to Roman Catholic teaching, saints are those who died and are now with Christ in heaven and who have been given recognition by the Church for outstanding holiness and virtue. The Tridentine profession of faith states that the saints are to be invoked as intercessors with God and that both the relics of saints and images of the saints are to be venerated. Other religions, too, invoke the help of saints. Certain religions teach that all of their members are saints and are free from sin. The Bible makes many references to saints, or holy ones. It refers to Christ’s 144,000 spirit-anointed followers as being such.
Does the Bible teach that a person must have attained to heavenly glory before he is recognized as a saint?
The Bible definitely does refer to holy ones, or saints, that are in heaven. Jehovah is spoken of as “the Holy One [Greek, haʹgi·on].” (1 Pet. 1:15, 16; see Leviticus 11:45.) Jesus Christ is described as “the Holy One [haʹgi·os] of God” when on earth and as “holy [haʹgi·os]” in heaven. (Mark 1:24; Rev. 3:7, JB) The angels too are “holy.” (Acts 10:22, JB) The same basic term in the original Greek is applied to a considerable number of persons on earth.
Acts 9:32, 36-41, JB: “Peter visited one place after another and eventually came to the saints [ha·giʹous] living down in Lydda. At Jaffa there was a woman disciple called Tabitha [who died] . . . [Peter] turned to the dead woman and said, ‘Tabitha, stand up’. She opened her eyes, looked at Peter and sat up. Peter helped her to her feet, then he called in the saints and widows and showed them she was alive.” (Clearly, these saints were not yet in heaven, nor was just an outstanding individual such as Peter viewed as a saint.)