In Greek, the word “Saint” is translated as “Hagios”.
In normal Greek of New Testament times, the word hagios was used in the meaning “devoted to the gods“, but in the Greek text of the NT, hagios mostly referred to those people who had been devoted (separated, set apart) to (or for) the true God who is in Heaven and his son Jesus.
Even the verb hagiazô (hagizô) and the noun hagiasmos were used in that connection, the meaning being the same, “setting apart”. The temple in Jerusalem was in Greek called hagion, “the holy (place)”. There were also the nouns hagiôsunê and hagiotês which can be translated as “holiness”.
Originally, the New Testament definition of a saint, or rather the meaning of the Greek word hagios which many “translate” as “saint”, was that God had separated a number of people from this world, for himself and for his son Jesus. Those who were alive and abide in His will.
But as times progressed, the word “saint” came into use in the English language in the 1100s, as an adjective used of those who had been “canonised” or “beatified” by the Catholic Church. And from that time, the influence of the dominant Roman Catholic Church changed the meaning.
The canonization of saints and posthoumosly conferring the title to a person gave an impression that those persons that bear the title went to Heaven and had an open audience with God. Thus, started the movement that intercessory prayer to dead saints is a way to get a person’s prayer heard by God. This tradition goes against what Jesus taught on how a person should pray.
In truth, Paul’s letters were addressed specifically to the men and women who were alive and followers of God’s word and His Son Jesus’ teachings. Saints are believers who are alive right now, on this earth. And that is what Paul knows and what meant.
Paul understood that holiness is being separate from the worldly influences. So holiness entails a separation from the world. If you read the Bible, specifically the Letters of Paul and Revelations, the word “Saint” pertains to Christians who were alive during those days. And there is not even a hint nor a verse that says that a “saint” means a person in heaven.
A saint refers to a living person that follows Christ. A group set apart from the world that “abides” in His words. And if you are a Christian, then you are a Saint.
So if someone you know asks you, if you are a saint? If you follow the teachings of Christ, more than the tradition imposed by men, then by all means, answer a big “YES”.
May the Lord Bless You! Maranatha!