Christian Vocabulary 101

Sep 17, 13 Christian Vocabulary 101

This is how it happened to me: My Conversion/Justification  😎

I was quite literally “on my face”.  I’d FINALLY recognized that there is a separate and Holy God and that He had made a mighty production of wooing me to him.  His holy spirit “convicted” me; I felt guilty when I’d NEVER felt guilty before.  And through this feeling of “laying me low”, I felt real sorrow for the previous distance I had placed between myself and the Creator of the universe.  Thankfully, by a step of faith (that He gave me), I allowed Him “me”, my permission granted, so that He was now able to “take me up in his arms” and His righteousness became mine.  I had been saved! Bought and paid for by Jesus for Jesus. Thank you, Jesus!  🙂

There is a vocabulary in Christianity.  I wasn’t raised in a church so those words conveyed nothing, even when I attended church, it didn’t make much sense and to tell you the truth, I was in church because I had to be (I married into a Christian family), so I wasn’t really that interested in what was being taught anyhow.  After becoming a Christian, it was a huge help to find out the definitions, to learn what those words mean.  Now it all makes sense: the Bible, preacher’s sermons and the writings of Christians. Those rich words convey so much. I LOVE & revel in the very vocabulary of Christianity:

(So,,, in alpha order)


Convicted: – It’s the prickling of your conscience.  Or as stated in Romans 2:15, “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them”.

It’s to realize your sin and to hate it.  This is not however ‘Justification’.  It just means that the Holy Spirit is doing His job on you, the unbeliever as in John 16:4-15 (esv): (I’ve highlighted pertinent part)

“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Conversion: – the state of no longer being a Non-Christian.  The Holy Spirit now indwells you.  Romans 8:9 esv “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”

Faith:this is not positive thinking, i.e. the Law of Attraction (new-age philosophy); this is trusting in God no matter what, recognizing His goodness, recognizing that He knows best no matter how things may appear.  “…but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4b.  The notes on this verse from the Crossway ESV Study bible state: “Quoted in the New Testament (NT) to emphasize that people are saved by grace through faith (Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11; cf. Eph. 2:8) and that Christians should live by faith (Heb.10:38-39).  The kind of faith that Habakkuk describes, and the that the NT authors promote, is continuing trust in God and clinging to God’s promises, even in the darkest days.”  “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.” And Habakkuk 3:19 ESV Notes: “Habakkuk can have sure-footed confidence in God and can live on the heights even amid extreme circumstances.”

Grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9.  The standard definition of Grace is unmerited favor/clemency.  God extends to us a Pardon from the consequences/”wages” of our sin; a pardon, which we definitely do not deserve. 

Judgment: – The best judgment definition I’ve found is this, when we don’t, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) 1, we have a consequence, which is another word for Judgment. The Fall of Adam and Eve broke creation and we continue that; it is innate.  Everything we do has a ramification.  Thankfully, God loves us so much that He has withheld his Judgment from us.  God stays His wrath for a time, gathering as many people as He can woo to Him.  There will be a time when the Judgment will come though but only God knows exactly when.

Justification: – the doctrine of being declared righteous in Christ – all claims of the “law” are satisfied, so we are free from penalty of sin; justification occurs by faith.  It is not related to personal merit or anything you have done or will do. You are no longer under the penalty or consequences or judgment of sin. Justification doesn’t change anything in the sinner’s nature or character but it makes way for the Sanctification process, which cannot take place without Justification.  It now allows us access to God and it allows his Holy Spirit access to indwell in you. 

Propitiation: – (Greek: hilasterion) incredibly rich word in meaning and just to roll around in your mouth  😉 It means Jesus’ gift of sacrifice (the price paid) & if we desire to receive it, it allows us to become consistent with God’s character, so that he can pardon our sin and even bless us, the sinner so that when Jesus said, “It is finished”, it means: Paid in full. 1 John 2:2, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Regeneration: – spiritual rebirth.  The Greek is: palingenesia – which is a combination of two words, which translate as Birth Again or Born-again 😀

Redemption: – a ransom or price paid (Greek: apolutrosis); ‘Money’ words again but we humans understand this.  Redemption is someone else paying for your debt.  In the case of Jesus dying to pay for our sins; this was necessary, because unholy man cannot pay for his own sin, changing him into Holy man.  Jesus becomes our holiness.  Now we can have a relationship again with our Holy Father!

Repentance: – a sorrow for your sins which is necessary for salvation & in the Bible, always in the order: repent and believe (Greek: metanoia – 3 forms used in the NT) Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25.

Righteousness: – it is your legal standing as innocent before God.  If we accept Jesus as our personal savior, Jesus covers us with his right standing before God.

Salvation: – “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  

Our world will not recognize this but unless a person allows himself to be saved by Jesus, God’s only Son, his destination is preset to Hell.  Salvation is what Jesus only can offer to us because of what only He could do; He offers us LIFE with God and an alternative to Hell, which is an existence without God.

Sin: – translated directly from the ancient Greek-language, it means to “miss the mark”. God created us to function in a certain way, a Holy way, but when our will supersedes our desire for His perfect will, we break creation and we don’t see the ramifications like He does.  He IS a better God than we ever could be.  In reality, Sin is when we do wrong against God and oftentimes “our neighbor”.  We have, in essence, placed ourselves as more important than anyone else, especially God.  Sinning results in Judgment.

Sanctification or Transformation: – the work of the Holy Spirit bringing a believer’s whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration after you have been justified; the process by which God brings the Christian to be the person God created him or her to be.

This is how it happens.  First comes repentance because you feel conviction (thank you, Holy Spirit! Job well done!), then you are regenerated, justified, then comes a lifetime of Sanctification.  You CANNOT be sanctified without first, being justified.

“Wages of Sin”: – This means that there is a result/ramification of sin; the bible often uses “money” or currency terms when it states that.  The result or ‘wage’ of sin is death.  God did not create us to suffer a death but we all eventually die now.  Such an irony because satan promised our fore-parents, Adam and Eve, eternal life and knowledge but what it got them and us was spiritual death; we lost our relationship with God and eventually each person suffers a physical death.   This is why Jesus says of satan, “You were a liar from the very beginning.”

Works: – This can be a problem if not properly put in context because to BE a Christian, one of the main points is to recognize that Jesus sacrifice on our behalf WAS sufficient, which means that it was enough to satisfy the wages of our sin.  We can do NOTHING to add to it, absolutely nothing.  However, we should be doing good Works.  James, Jesus’ half-brother, expounds on this in his awesome letter, in the portion which I’ve noted below but be careful here and remember, Good works or deeds are in no way a bad thing (and honestly, its how other Christians can tell if you are indwelled or not) but again, Works need to be placed in proper context, which is as James wrote as evidence of our faith in Him that lives in us and in response to the love we have for Him who saves us.

James 2:18-26:

“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

“Wrath of God”: – God loves us so much that he has withheld his Wrath from us but why does He have to exhibit it in the first place?  He’s God, after all, so can’t He decide to use it or not; to be “mad” or not?  When I was first becoming a Christian, a book that was tremendously helpful was, “The Book of Romans – the Smart Guide to the Bible series”, Gib Martin and Larry Richards, general editors (published through Thomas Nelson publishing house, © 2007 by GRQ, Inc.) – Okay – this is straight from that book (page 18), and it helped me wrap my mind around God’s reaction and NEED to react to our Sin:

“The “wrath of God” stands in obvious contrast to the “righteousness of God.” Wrath speaks of holy revulsion; God’s being stands against that which in any manner contradicts his holiness-any abomination to Truth, yes any, are ultimately deeds (works) of perversity.  God’s wrath is man’s guarantee that “heaven” will be a safe place, a godly place to live.  Paul says, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18 NKJV).  The cross was the ultimate expression of the Father’s wrath.  His own Son bore man’s sin in his body on that tree the innocent for the guilty!

Paul told the church at Corinth, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV).  The brings light to this matter of God’s wrath.  Wrath is a pure exercise of God’s holy nature against all that pollutes man and who in turn pollutes God’s revealed order and will.  All sin carries consequences and sin’s consequences often affect innocent victims as well as the guilty purveyor.”


Drop me a comment if you would like me to add any more.  I hope that this brief Christian vocabulary lesson has helped in some way.

God bless you!


1 as in “love your neighbor as yourself” which Jesus commanded.  It is recorded in the New Testament part of the bible under Mark 12:30-31 and Matthew 22: 36-40 –  this is noted in The Book of Romans, the Smart Guide to the Bible series by Gib Martin & Larry Richards page 30.





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