Salvation: Scripture Vocabulary

SALVATION: Scripture Vocabulary

Segment Two, Part One 

In this segment, we will cover several key vocabulary words that are commonly used when discussing salvation. Those new to reading scripture may find these words used but not know the biblical definitions. We will now discuss some of these words and their meanings.

Two phrases commonly used in discussions about salvation are 1) new birth; and 2) born again. These two phrases are similar in meaning and use but are dependent upon the context in which they are used. We will use a couple of scriptures for both to see how they are used.

The term “new birth” is not used in scripture, but is a phrase that indicates a life re-direction event.  John refers to Jesus ministry in this way: “But as many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12-13) Those who believed in Jesus experienced a life-changing event. Peter also refers to this life-changing event in 1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever. But in Peter’s reference, it is called “born again.” However, both passages (and others) refer to an event that redirects a person’s life into a new spiritual path. That is the end result of both “new birth” and “born again.” This is the true thrust of what salvation means.

Segment Two, Part Two

Two more phrases commonly used in discussions about salvation are 1) repentance; and 2) grace. These two phrases are dissimilar in meaning and use but are somewhat related. When we first believe, we must repent of our sins which are an offense against a Holy and righteous God. By our repentance, we then are given grace. We will use a couple of scriptures for both to see how they are used.

In Acts, Paul is telling his listeners how things were by their sinful actions. Then he reveals how God truly feels: “and the times of this ignorance God winked at; by now commands all men everywhere to repent:” (Acts 17:30)  This echoes Jesus’ teaching in Luke: “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Peter also teaches this same action in 2 Peter, where he says “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Repentance then is an important part of our salvation.

Because of our sinful state, we deserve punishment. But when we repent, we receive grace instead of punishment. Grace is to receive the unmerited favor of God when we really deserve punishment. The Apostle John tells us: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:7) Paul tells his listeners in Acts this: “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” (Acts 15:11) Again, Paul writing to the Ephesians says to them: “For grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) When we believe on our Lord Jesus, God gives us grace even though we rightly deserve punishment. Grace to believers is given to us even when we have no right to it!

Segment Two, Part Three 

We will now cover two more phrases commonly used when discussing salvation: 1) blood, 2) propitiation. Many Pastors and teachers will cover the term “blood” as it is commonly used in teaching about the O. T. Laws. (See Leviticus 17:11) Blood sacrifice was required to “cover” or remove sinful actions. This shedding of blood was required by God’s command. Blood was the “sin” cleansing agent required by the O.T. Law. However, as we entered the New Testament period, and through the teaching of Jesus, we see a new emphasis on blood sacrifice, but the Messiah was the one by whom the sinless sacrifice would be offered, and it would be his blood that would “cover” or remove sin.

However, we see the disciples of Jesus also use a new word when explaining the sinless sacrifice of the Messiah. This word is propitiation. This word means atoning sacrifice. What Jesus did when He went to the cross was to provide for sinful man, an atoning sinless sacrifice of His own blood. (Hebrews 9:22-and almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.)

John also explains as follows: “and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Because we as sinners have violated God’s covenant and commandments, we have incurred His wrath and it must be appeased. Jesus’ death on the Cross of Calvary is the atoning sacrifice [propitiation] to appease God’s wrath. By accepting Jesus, we are covered by His atoning sacrifice and appease God’s wrath.

Segment Two, Part Four

Two more phrases commonly used in discussions about salvation are 1) hope and 2) eternal security. These two phrases are important concepts that believers should know and understand. As before, we will use a couple of scriptures for both to see how they are used and what they mean.

As believers, we have hope that God has for us all that He promised. 1) That we will live eternally with Him in heaven, 2) that death is but a momentary event because we are given new bodies at that moment, 3) that in heaven, we will see many amazing things, and 4) that we will never again experience suffering, want, or need. Paul in writing to the Thessalonians told them: “but let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) In Hebrews, we read this promise: “wherein God, …, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,…” (Hebrews 6:17) It is impossible for God to lie and because of that, we can be sure that what His Word tells us is true and reliable. That is hope defined for believers.

Not only do we as believers have hope, but we have eternal security. In the following verse, Jesus is reassuring Martha at the death of her brother Lazarus. Jesus says to her: “and whosoever lives and believeth in me shall never die. Believe thou this?” (John 11:26) In an earlier conversation Jesus is telling the Jewish leaders why he is teaching and who has given him the authority to do so. They are plotting to catch him in a lie, but he finishes his response to them with this statement: “verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hears my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) He has told the Jewish leaders that if they believe that God the Father has sent him, that they will have everlasting life (eternal security). Again and again, Jesus and his disciples teach this principle that believers will have everlasting life and that your eternal future is secure!  That thought is awesome to hold on to because God has promised it.