As we enter the time of the year that most of the world celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I (Darin) felt it best to have a blog devoted to defining and listening many of the words and phrases we use to describe these historical events. So, below, find some of the major words and a helpful link to learn a bit more. Enjoy!
1. Adoption: God brings a wayward stranger into His house as a son.
The New Testament message can be summed up in three words: “Adoption through propitiation.” (J.I. Packer, in Knowing God)
Adoption is the work of the Father (Eph. 1:5; 1 John 3:1), the Son (John 1:12-13; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 2:11-13), the Spirit (Rom. 8:14-19)—and will entail the salvation of the physical universe, not just our souls (Rom. 8:19-25).
From slave to son by redemption:
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son . . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5).
“God predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:5–6).
The ultimate aim of our adoption is the glorifying of adopting grace. This IS the inheritance. From eternity to eternity, God’s goal is the praise of the glory of his grace.
2. Expiation: God removes our sin and guilt.
The good news of the cross is that Christ both takes away guilt (expiation) and turns away wrath (propitiation).
For a great article on this, check out Adam Mabry’s post on expiation:
3. Propitiation: God satisfies his justice & turns away his wrath.
Every corner of Scripture is washed with the doctrine of propitiation.
Propitiation is the work of the Father (Romans 3:25), the basis for the intercession of Christ (1 John 2:1-2), and of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-34).
Every sin... past, present, and future... in word, thought and deed, Jesus has taken care of as our propitiation and our righteousness. Deliverance from God is the foundation of deliverance from Satan. Propitiation nullifies accusation.
Because God is holy, he requires propitiation for his wrath against us for our sin against him. And because God is love, he propitiated his wrath against us in Jesus Christ who took our sin and nailed it to the cross.
4. Reconciliation: God makes his enemies his friends.
There is forgiveness of sin and reconciliation to God exclusively by your faith in the sin-bearing death of Jesus Christ upon the cross.
Jesus said in John 15:13-14: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
The greatest promise of the Gospel is reconciliation and fellowship with God. Every other benefit pales in comparison to this one thing.
On a practical level, remember: Heaven is not the goal of the gospel—reconciliation with God is. Heaven is a benefit of the gospel. Frame your evangelism accordingly.
5. Redemption: God pays the price for our pardon
If we are truly Christian, it will not take us long to come to a profound realization that our security and assurance of salvation rest upon two great columns:
God’s covenant faithfulness (Malachi 3:6) & his perfect work of redemption on our behalf (John 19:30).
Although you and I are mutable and prone to failure, we have been saved by an unchanging God, who has accomplished a perfect work of redemption on our behalf, and who is steadfast in all His promises toward us. There is only one hero in the gospel story — "But God...." (Eph. 2:4)
And, so, a church or person that has an uncertain faith in an undefined Christ and a vague work of redemption is dangerously immature.
6. Justification: God makes a sinner stand in his Son’s righteousness.
"The doctrine of justification cannot be beaten into our ears too much." – Martin Luther
The doctrine of justification (by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) is the secret of the universe. It is not a thing to yawn at.
“Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." –Romans 5:1
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." –Romans 8:1
Jesus. Faith. Justification. No condemnation. Peace with God. Now. Joy!
7. Resurrection: God brings dead people back to life.
An unconverted sinner is not merely sitting in a walk-in medical clinic, needing prescription medicine. Truth: he is spiritually dead, lying in a morgue, needing a resurrection to life.
As Lazarus was dead and raised, so spiritually dead sinners must be resurrected in order to believe in Christ. Thus, Jesus’ death & resurrection are the permanent placeholders for the sinner’s right standing before the holy God.
8. Regeneration: God gives us a heart that loves Him.
Prior to regeneration and conversion, the sinner is a lover of self and pleasure, and a hater of God and good (2 Tim. 3:2-4). However, in the titanic work of conversion, God regenerates or recreates the heart after His likeness in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” – Titus 3:4-5