SOME CHRISTIAN TERMS YOU MIGHT HEAR
Apostle: handpicked man by Jesus to lead His Church. Important because many of the Apostles (Matthew, John, Peter, Paul) were inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the Scriptures down. Our belief is that the ‘office’ of Apostle died with the first apostles and there are not apostles today.
Baptism: Submersion in water signifying one’s confession of faith that Jesus is the Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Important because baptism is the entrance into the Kingdom of God when we are born again of the water and the Spirit (John 3). It is at baptism we confess Jesus and are forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Bible: The infallible collection of books inspired by God that tell the story of how God saved humanity through history. For Christians, it is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. Important because our faith is not based on the teachings of a human being, but rather on the Word of God and His true dealings with people throughout verifiable history.
Christian: A follower of Jesus Christ who has trusted Jesus as Savior and Lord. Trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior is the only way for salvation (John 3:16, John 14:6, Acts 4:12) and fellowship with God only comes through Jesus.
Christ: The title of Jesus (not His last name) meaning He is the One God promised to send to save us from our sins. Same word as ‘Messiah.’ Important because Jesus was not an accident, but The Plan.
Church Membership: Saying you identify with the church and agree with its teaching and want to join in ministering and helping with that local body. Important to have a group to grow with in your faith in Jesus Christ. Becoming a member means you will volunteer to serve in the church; volunteer in the community seeking to spread the Gospel; tithe to the church on a regular basis; attend services, small groups, and other events regularly; agree with the doctrine and teachings of the church; will not encourage others in the church in sinful lifestyles; and accept the leadership of church leaders. In some churches, members are only baptized believers.
Confess: To admit, to make known about yourself, to declare faith. Important because Christians confess Jesus and confess sin and seek the forgiveness of God through Christ (Psalms 32:3-4, Romans 10:9-10, James 5:16, 1 John 1:6-9).
Cross: Jesus was killed by being nailed and hung on pieces of wood called a cross. Important because the suffering of Jesus and His death on the cross is our means of forgiveness of sin (Romans 5:8, Galatians 2:20, Hebrews 12:1-2)
Doctrine: A teaching, a position in a body of teachings, a fundamental principle. Important to know what you believe and why because the world offers other philosophies and ways that lead to hurt and death. See Colossians 2:8, Titus 2:1 and 1 Timothy 4:16 and 2 Timothy 4:3.
Faith: Allegiance to someone/something, belief and trust, belief in the unseen. Important because it is our faith in Jesus Christ that saves us. (John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8, Hebrews 11:1-6)
God: The only Almighty All-Knowing Eternal Creator of the Universe and Architect of life. Important because we are not the center of the universe and are not accidents of nature. A personal God created us to know Him. See Romans 1:20-21.
Grace: Undeserved divine favor and mercy. Important because we can neither earn our way into a relationship with God nor can we luck into it. It is only because God divinely sets aside wrath for grace that we can be saved. See Romans 5:8 and Ephesians 2:8.
Heaven: God’s home and the place promised to believers after Judgment Day. Important because we are created beings who have the opportunity to be with God forever where He is. The afterlife exists and it is promised to be great beyond imagining. Revelation 21-22 is one such description.
Hell: The place of punishment for eternity where God is not. Important because those who do not accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior will not be in the presence of God. Separation from God is the certainty. Luke 16:19-31 is one such description.
Holy Spirit: God’s Spirit given to believers as a companion in life (some people say Holy Ghost… same thing). Important because Jesus did not leave us alone in life, but promised that God would be with believers. The Holy Spirit guides, connects us with God, rebukes us, enhances our natural conscience, reminds us of Bible verses, helps us understand the Bible, and leads us to truth. He is God. See John 14:15-17.
Justification: The complete forgiveness Jesus offers because of His death on the cross. Important because we need complete forgiveness of our sins from Jesus. We cannot do it on our own. Forgiveness of sins is complete and total. See Romans 5:1, 10:10, Titus 3:7)
Lord: In referring to Jesus… means that He is in control and directs one’s life. Important because obedience shows love and ties us in with the way of living Jesus taught. A believer is not only ‘saved,’ but also lives a particular way under the rule of Jesus. Luke 6:46.
Messiah: The title of Jesus means He is the One God promised to send to save us from our sins. Same word as ‘Christ.’ Important because Jesus was not an accident, but The Plan.
Repent: Turning from sin, a choice not to sin the next time one is tempted. Important because we must recognize that we have sinned (missed the mark) and have been separated from God. Through sin we alienate ourselves from God and from other people. We have disobeyed God. We confess this freely and vow to turn from sin. See Matthew 3:2 and Acts 2:38.
Righteousness: Acting in accord with God’s will, being good. Important because it really does matter how you live. Your attitudes are important. Your thought life is important. We identify with Jesus and live His way and not any ‘ol way we want. Righteousness is our complete goal and motivation. See Psalm 1, 119:7, Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 14:17, 2 Timothy 2:22, 1 John 3:10.
Salvation: State of being saved, eternal promise of Heaven forever with God. Important because the natural state of a human being is sinful, lost, and doomed to destruction away from God (Genesis 3:22, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10-18, 5:12, 1 John 1:8-10). Everyone sins and is in need of the salvation of their soul. The eternal promise comes by way of Jesus Christ.
Sanctification: The life-long process of becoming less sinful and more Christ-like. Important because becoming a believer in Jesus is not a one-time decision or event. Walking with Jesus daily and discipleship (other words for sanctification) are a constant process of becoming more righteous as patterns of Christ’s teachings are adopted. It is not automatic. See 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Galatians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:2)
Saved: Accepting that all sins are forgiven and paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. Important because the natural state of a human being is sinful, lost, and doomed to destruction away from God (Genesis 3:22, Psalm 51:5, Romans 3:10-18, 5:12, 1 John 1:8-10). Everyone sins and is in need of salvation of their soul. The eternal promise comes by way of Jesus Christ.
Savior: Jesus Christ… is the Savior by taking all humans’ place on the cross. Important because believing that Jesus of Nazareth is Who He said He is and did what He said He would do is the basis of saving faith. He Himself did the penalty paying for sin and offers the full payment to people who accept Him in faith. See Titus 3:3-8.
Sin: All wrongdoing either against God or against others. Important because Adam and Eve (the first people) used free will to do what they wanted against what God had said was right. They did wrong. They erred. Sin separated human beings from God. We ruined everything. Sinful people could no longer interact with the Holy God. Sickness happened. Thorns and storms and disasters happened. See Genesis 1-3, Romans 3:23, Galatians 5:13-26, and James 1:4.
Soul: The eternal part of a person that will live on after death. Important because human beings are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and part of that image is the soul. People are created, but have the opportunity to spend eternity with God or away from God.
Testimony: The story of how a person came to believe in Jesus. Important because the real life experience of a person of how they came to know Jesus Christ is the manner in which faith is passed from one person to another. Sharing faith is essential so that others know about Jesus. Related to the words ‘witness,’ ‘witnessing,’ and ‘evangelism.’ Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8.
Washed in the Blood: a symbolic phrase meaning that a person has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and His blood pays for their sins. Important because only the blood of Jesus covers over sin. This is a metaphor for the forgiveness of sins used often in the Bible. See Romans 3:25, Ephesians 2:13, Hebrews 9:14.