Luke Part Two Deep Dive
SALVATION LINGO | RYAN KERRISON
This week we’re going to explore the biblical history and concepts of salvation, which, when examined at a basic level, begins with the justification of humanity.
We’re going to look at some key terminologies and concepts within scripture, bearing in mind that the entire progressive narrative of scripture is a prelude and overture, culminating magnificently in the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Unfortunately, this subject defies simplistic definitions, as it encompasses spiritual, individual, corporate, physical, objective, and subjective experiences, historical and eternal dimensions. However, this should not dissuade our pursuit of knowing Him and His Word, rather, it should excite us, and call us to go from glory to glory and develop in wisdom and understanding.
Let’s jump into this meaty topic with some terminologies and definitions! These will often require diving into the Biblical (Koine) Greek & Ancient (Classical) Hebrew, and occasionally (Biblical) Aramaic.
σῴζω - sozo– With one hundred and eight occurrences, meaning ‘to save, to keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction’. In its most basic sense, this is the work Christ was sent to Earth to complete. Its mechanisms are defined below.
δικαιόω - dikaioō – ‘to render righteous’. Justification, in the Pauline context, may be defined as that legal act of God, by which He declares the sinner righteous on the basis of the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.
παλιγγενεσία - paliggenesia – We see this only twice in the whole bible, Grenz defines it as ‘the theological significance of the word, therefore arises from the metaphor contained within it. Regeneration refers to the spiritual birth, the transaction that brings us into intimate relationship with God as his children’.
ἁγιασμός - hagiasmos - “the continued transformation of moral and spiritual character so that the life of the believer actually comes to mirror the standing which he or she already has in God’s sight.”
ἐνδοξάζομαι – endoxazomai – “the final step in the application of redemption. it will happen when christ returns and raises from the dead the bodies of all believers for all time who have died, and reunites them with their souls, and changes the bodies of all believers who remain alive, thereby giving all believers at the same time perfect resurrection bodies like his own.”
This term hold two important definitions, one in the Greek, and one in the Hebrew. I’ll give you both, so you’re able to see the relationship between the two testaments: Hebrew: כָּפַר – kaphar – to ‘cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch’.
Greek: καταλλαγή - katallagē – meaning ‘exchange, or adjustment of a difference’.
ἱλασμός - hilasmos – This means that Jesus bore the wrath and anger of God, that was due to us for sin.
λογίζομαι – logizomai – ‘to reckon’, turning to Grudem once again, ‘God thinks of Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, or regards it as belonging to us. He “reckons” it to our account’.
δίκαιος – dikaios – Frame presents it like this, ‘Christ is a revelation of God’s righteousness, not only of his goodness, grace and love. The gospel tells us what God has done so that he can declare us righteous, not because of our works, but because of the sacrifice of Christ’.
So, with these key terminologies, we can begin to look within scripture for themes, motifs, and expressions, and see how they relate to Humankind, Israel, Jesus, the nature of God and our own lives. It is so important that we attempt to wrap our minds around the concept of salvation, it is complex in its consequences and function, yet simple and comprehensible to all. Just because it has many parts to it, some of them new and foreign, doesn’t mean we cannot try! After all, in the words of St Anslem, ‘faith seeking understanding’. We can never hope to know everything there is to know about Him, but it is for our purpose and His glory to pursue Him.
Jesus is the access point, it is through His work, and His work alone, that humanity receives salvation, embarks on the journey of sanctification, and ultimately glorification.
For Further Reading:
A broad, yet thorough overview of Christian Doctrine - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
A comprehensive, insightful, and well-written text, encompassing numerous views on various doctrines of the Christian faith. - John Frame, Systematic Theology An Introduction to Christian Belief.
An exposition of Romans 5:1, the Christian basis for justification by faith. – See Douglas Moo – The Epistle to the Romans.