May 15, 1991
Ordering in a restaurant is risky -- if the menu is in a foreign language. Shopping is confusing -- if the price tags are in currency other than dollars. Finding an address is perplexing -- if the streets have unpronounceable names. Culture shock happens, even on vacation!
Culture shock happens in the church too. Even exploring the Christian faith can be frustrating -- if the terminology is bewildering. Anyone who is new might be afraid to ask the meaning of some words that older Christians use all the time. Here are some examples:
LOVE OF GOD: not an emotion but a love that has no conditions or strings attached. It is expressed by sacrificial giving. God loves people because He is love, not because we are loveable. His love is an “everlasting love” that cannot be earned or deserved, only rejected. We reject it when we sin...
SIN: any thought, words, or deeds that violate the laws of God or His holy nature. (Holy means free from sin and without fault.) The Bible says: “There is not a just man upon earth, that does good and sins not (Ecclesiastes 7:20). That is, everyone is guilty...
GUILTY: the condition before God of anyone who sins, regardless of whether or not they know it, or feel bad about it. “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet offends in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Romans 3:19 says everyone is “guilty before God.”
CONDEMNATION: God’s justice demands that sin be punished. “The wages of sin is death...” (Romans 6:23) God cannot be holy and still allow sin... but He still loves us and wants us to be in a right relationship with Him.
GRACE: The love of God expressed through unconditional kindness towards sinners. It can be rejected or received through faith. Both grace and faith are gifts freely given by God. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). This faith is in Him and in His Son, Jesus Christ: “...looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...” (Hebrews 12:2).
FAITH: Trusting, relying on, believing in -- all to the point of acting according to what is believed and trusted. That is, faith is not a static “I know so” thinking but an active “because-I-believe-I-will-obey-God” lifestyle. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). When such faith is placed in Jesus Christ, believing He died for their sins, was buried and rose again from the dead, the sinner discovers he has been redeemed...
REDEMPTION: The activity of buying or redeeming, such as a slave from its master. In the Bible, it means the action of God that sets people free from the power of sin that controls them and their destinies. This purchase was made by God with the blood of His Son. In other words, freedom from sin’s power comes at a high cost. His blood also purchased our justification...
JUSTIFIED: The action whereby God declares a person free from sin before Him. He can pronounce the sinner NOT GUILTY (even though he is guilty) because the penalty has been paid. Then He works to remove the sin so it no longer governs the sinner’s life.
BORN AGAIN: When a person has FAITH in Jesus Christ and is redeemed and justified, they also have been given new life. They are spiritually re-born. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
SAVED: Sinners who receive the life of Christ are rescued from sin’s condemnation. Christ took the punishment we deserved when He died on the cross, setting us free so we can enjoy a forever-friendship with God.
This is only a basic dictionary of “Christenese” but it gives enough to know what is necessary to become a child of God and a citizen of His Kingdom.