Christian theology in a Sudanese context. How God saves His people from their sins.
I have chosen the definitions that follow from several given for each word in a current English dictionary. The ‘salvation’ words are listed here in alphabetical order. I also give Bible references, in which the actual word is used in the NIV text. Any of the statements in chapter 44 should be read with these meanings
taken where the words are used. I have italicised the word, and my chosen definition, which I believe is the closest dictionary definition to the Bible’s meaning for that word. adoption – to bring a person into a specific relationship. “…we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons” (Romans 8:23); “In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons” (Ephesians 1:5). assurance – freedom from doubt, certainty.. “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart, in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22); “ stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured” (Colossians 4:12). Assurance can be developed by positive Christian discipleship. atonement – the reconciliation of man with God through the life, sufferings and sacrificial death of Christ. “God presented Him (Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement” (Romans3:25); “He had to be made like His brothers that He might make atonement for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).
calling (effectual calling)– strong, inner urge to follow. “… for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39); “for God’s gift and His call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29); “The One Who calls you is faithful and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). Calling is God’s gracious act in which He invites sinners to accept salvation offered through Jesus Christ.
conversion – transformation. “they told how the Gentiles had been converted” (Acts 15:3); “you know the household of Stephanus were the first converts in Achaia” (1 Corinthians 16:15). Conversion is the superintending act of God upon a person’s repentance and faith. damnation – the act or state of being condemned to hell. Not in the NIV, which uses ‘condemnation’. “The judgement followed one sin and brought condemnation” (Romans 5:16); “the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men” (Romans 5:18); and “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). elect – chosen by God to receive salvation. “that God’s purpose in election might stand” (Romans 9:11); “to God’s elect, strangers in the world” (1 Peter 1:1); “be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). faith (saving faith) – trust in God and His actions and promises. “A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16); “not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is by faith in Christ” (Philippians 3:9); “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Faith is a positive conviction given by the Holy Spirit, to a person who begins believing in the work of God in Jesus Christ.
grace – the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and sanctification. “saw evidence of the grace of God” (Acts 11:23); “urged them to continue in the grace of God” (Acts 13:43); “for it is by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace is undeserved and unearned. God freely gives it. impute – to attribute or ascribe something (usually dishonest or dishonourable) to a person. (Note: the negative meaning of the word ‘impute’ in English usage today, suggests to me it should not be used if another word can take its place). Not in the NIV, which uses the words ‘credit’ and ‘count against’. “The man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works” (Romans4:6); “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” (Romans 4:8).
justification – the act and process of being accounted or declared righteous, by the attributing of Christ’s merits to the sinner. “He was delivered over to death for our sins, and was raised to life for our justification” (Romans 4:25); “one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18); “it is God who justifies” (Romans 8:33). Justification is a legal act of God in which he declares a sinner righteous on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
new birth – the moment or process of being born again. This phrase is not in the English dictionary. “no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3); “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
pardon – to release from punishment for an offence. “let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). perseverance (of the saints)– persistence in remaining in a state of grace until death. “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised” (Hebrews 10:36); “the testing of your faith develops perseverance (which) must finish its work” (James 1:3-4). Perseverance is the continuous operation of God the Holy Spirit upon the human heart, bringing the work once begun to ultimate completion.
predestination – the act of God foreordaining every event from eternity. “Those God foreknew He also predestined, those He predestined He also called” (Romans 8:29-30); “He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5); “in Him we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan” (Ephesians 1:11). preservation – keeping safe from danger or harm. “The Lord preserves the faithful” (Psalm31:23); “whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33). redemption – deliverance from sin through the incarnation, sufferings and death of Christ. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7); “a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Ephesians 1:14); “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). regeneration – the act or process of moral, spiritual or physical renewal or invigoration. (Note: the idea in current English usage, that regeneration of anything is something that we do, or buy, for ourselves, makes it a word we should be very careful of using). The word is not in the NIV, which uses ‘gives birth to’ and ‘born again’ in its place. “the Spirit gives birth to Spirit” (John 3:5-6); “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth” (James 1:18); “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable”
(1 Peter 1:23); “He saved us by the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus3:5).
Regeneration is the act of God implanting the principle of new life in a person, changing the person’s frame of mind and heart.
repentance – a sense of contrition, intensely hating past sins and resolving to make amends. (Note: again, current English usage implies the idea of giving compensation oneself, for wrongdoing. This is not the biblical idea, in which the repentant person knows there is nothing that they can do themselves). Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32); “let us leave the elementary teachings … the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death” (Hebrews 6:1); “if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance” (Hebrews 6:6).
Repentance is the change brought about in cooperation with the Holy Spirit in which a person sees themselves as God sees them, and turns from themselves and their sin, and turns to God.
righteousness – just and upright. (Note: current English usage often understands ‘righteousness’ as ‘self- righteousness’, righteous in one’s own eyes, not necessarily in the eyes of others. Again, this means that if we use the word, we must carefully define it. Christian righteousness is God-given. “through the obedience of one Man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19); “Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18).
sacrament – an outward sign combined with a prescribed form of words and regarded as conferring some specific grace upon those who receive it. In the Protestant churches the sacraments are baptism and the Lord’s Supper. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches they are baptism, penance, confirmation, the Eucharist, holy orders, matrimony and the anointing of the sick, (formerly ‘extreme unction’). Sacrament is a church word, not a Bible word.
sacrifice – the ritual killing of a person or animal with the intention of pleasing God. “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord” (Exodus 12:21-28); “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7); “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people” (Hebrews 9:27-28).
salvation – deliverance by redemption from the power of sin and the penalties following on from it. “My eyes have seen Your Salvation” (Luke 2:30); “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); “The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). sanctification – being made holy, free from sin, purified. Jesus prayed to God the Father, “Sanctify them by the truth …For them I sanctify Myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:17-19); “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thessalonians 4:3);“May God Himself sanctify you through and through” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Sanctification is a continuing work of God the Holy Spirit with a person’s willing cooperation, in renewing the whole of their life into the image of Jesus Christ.
security (eternal security) – the state of being free from danger, able to be relied on. Not in the NIV which uses the word ‘keep’. “To Him Who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord”
(Jude 24-25). supererogation – the performance of work in excess of that required or expected. Not a biblical word. Used especially in the Roman Catholic church of merit-earning extra acts of devotion. Finally, as an example of how we can read and understand any statement of faith, notice what happens when I exchange the meanings for the words used in my own church – Khartoum International Church – statement of faith: “We believe in deliverance by redemption from the power and penalty of sin
(salvation), by the divine assistance and power given to man in spiritual rebirth and
sanctification (grace), through trust in God and His actions and promises (faith), in the
shed blood and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord”. Thinking it through. (a). Give another Scripture verse (not the ones in this chapter) for every one of the
twenty-six ‘salvation word’ definitions given in chapter forty-five above.
(b). Explain how the verse you have given helps to define the ‘salvation word’?