Random Blog Clay Feet: Dictionary of Religious Word and Terms
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Dictionary of Religious Word and Terms

Home-Grown Dictionary
Religious Words and Terminology
Useful, More-Understandable English

This list is being compiled and updated from words that in my growing process have confused and baffled me for much of my life. I have been blessed over recent years by insights from various sources that have greatly enlightened my understanding on many of these terms. These insights and revelations have helped to clarify the beauty and congruity of the truths behind these words. As my understanding has progressed my appreciation and affection for God has also grown, many of the subtle but pious sounding lies embedded in many of these terms has been exposed. As I have learned and applied the more accurate and consistent definitions back into passages containing these terms I am amazed at how different and exciting and fresh the Bible has become for me. This is a flexible list of terms and phrases that will grow and change with further understanding. If you have suggestions of clearer explanations or want to see other words included, feel free to leave your comments and ideas.
To speak well of. To reveal one's true identity as designed by the Creator. Empowerment for success. To praise and honor one for their real value.
Condemnation is closely related to shame and unworthiness. Condemnation, contrary to many people's opinion, does not come from God. It originates in the accuser of God's people, Satan. Condemnation is counterfeit conviction. Jesus made it very clear in John 3:17 that He did not come to condemn but to save. Condemnation is rooted in fear and is designed to crush hope out of our hearts and fill us with despair.
Confession is maybe one of the most misunderstood terms in religion. It is important to understand what it is not as well as what it is. It is not groveling in humiliation rehearsing all the bad things one can think of about himself. It is not grudging admission of guilt under duress. That may be a form of confession but is not genuine confession marked by true repentance.
When understood from its original root confession is very simple. It is simply agreeing, that's all. This is linked directly with conviction. When the Holy Spirit impresses us with what is real as opposed to what we believe or feel and we choose to agree with God's view rather than our own we confess. That's all it means – to agree.
That also makes it much easier to understand what it means to confess Jesus before the world or when Jesus said He would confess us before the Father. When we are in agreement with Jesus He can confess (agree with) us before all of heaven. When we agree with the truth about God and Jesus and ourselves that He shows us we confess Him before men. (Matt. 10:32)

True conviction from God is when you are impressed with what really is, what is true about your condition. It is often countered by excuses and diversions but it will still persist to impress us with God's view of ourselves, our surroundings or what is true about God. We can be convicted about something that is wrong, about sin or lies or dysfunctional behavior. We can also be convicted about what is true and beautiful, what is beyond us and transcendent. Conviction of sin comes by contrasting truth with what we are thinking or believing.
Conviction is strictly the work of the Spirit of God and not something humans should attempt to do to someone else. There is a lot of confusion on this point. But since humans cannot see what is in another's heart they can never correctly create redeeming conviction in another person. The closest we can come to convicting another is by living fully under the influence of the Spirit and allowing Him to speak through us when He indicates it is the right time. Even then we must be very careful not to elicit conviction in their heart but stand by while the Holy Spirit uses all means at His disposal to awaken the conscience of the other individual and bring them to accept repentance.
Conviction is based on love as its foundation. Sometimes when we are so conditioned to only give our attention to what we fear God will use fear to get our attention focused on Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. But conviction based on fear is only a transition step to more mature convictions of the beauty and glory of God's overwhelming passion and perfect love for us.
This is a very large and important concept that would take much more space to unpack than what is reasonable here. In short though, a covenant is very different from a contract which is what our Western minds are most familiar. A covenant is unilateral rather than bilateral; a person entering into a covenant is bound by their promises and obligation irregardless of whether the other party in the covenant maintains their obligations. A Blood Covenant is a commitment entered into for life and breaking of that covenant elicits a consequence of death for the violator.
Witnesses to a covenant do not relate to the parties like witnesses or lawyers would to a contract. Rather, witnesses for a covenant are bound to make sure that either party maintains their loyalty to the covenant itself; in other words, the witnesses are looking out for the interest of the covenant, not the parties. As such, the witnesses are bound to enforce the terms of the covenant without bias for either party. They are to hold both parties to the covenant accountable to fulfill the promises they originally made when they entered into the covenant with the other party.

Faith springs up and thrives when we focus on the truth about what God is really like, His character and how He really feels about us. Faith is actually a state of mind that grows naturally out of a healthy relationship with someone who is trustworthy. It is not something that we have to work hard at producing, but is the natural kind of trust that is evident in a small child toward a loving, protective emotionally balanced parent.
Luke 17:5-10 is a blueprint for how to experience true faith. Here the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith and Jesus' answer lays out the kind of relationship that will naturally foster dynamic faith. In that context faith occurs – it is not worked up.
Faith is a confident, positive belief in someone. Faithful is to be full of faith. Faithful when applied to God means constancy, reliability, hope and belief in our eventual response to His love and His attractions. Faith on our part is a spontaneous response in kind to the faith that God has in us combined with a growing awareness of His trustworthiness. When we are faithful it shows that we are filled with that responsive kind of faith reflective of the faithfulness and goodness of God.
This word can easily be confused with the kind of fear that we associate with terror or distrust. However, when we are instructed to fear the Lord, it means having a deep appreciation for His awesomeness, majesty and power. Nearly every time God or angels show up in Scripture to talk with someone, they have to be told not to be afraid. God does not want any fear in our relationship with Him, for fear distorts our perceptions about God. God is love and perfect love expels all fear, for fear has to do with torment and God is not into tormenting. (see 1 John 4)
Forgiveness involves a transaction carried out in our heart and mind. Whenever there is a perceived offense, forgiveness will be needed. Offenses create a sense of debt which is usually linked with pain. This pain can lodge deep in the heart and have roots in a memory that will fester over time causing even more pain and producing irritation in many relationships. Attempting to mask over this problem with simplistic forgiveness does not resolve it anymore than putting a band-aid over a deep splinter will cure the wound.
Our hearts tend toward resentment and bitterness as our pain lingers on and we might desire revenge, to inflict at least as much pain if not more, back on the person that wronged us. We may desire this secretly or openly, but it is a natural reaction of human nature when we experience offenses.
Forgiveness involves a decision in the soul to face our inner pain without avoiding or ignoring it. It involves truthfully acknowledging the offense and how it affected us. Then forgiveness moves to the next step – it takes full ownership of that inner pain and lets go of blaming others or holding the offenders responsible for our pain. It is not until one takes full responsibility for their own feelings, decisions and reactions that they can be free to take the steps necessary for healing. As long as we blame others for our pain we are held hostage by it. Unforgiveness empowers offenders with control to manipulate our hearts and block our healing, even if they are long since dead and gone.
When we choose to cease allowing offenders control over our pain by accepting full responsibility for it ourselves, we then can take that pain that and offer it to God, who alone has the power and grace to exchange it for mercy, peace and healing love.
This process is the essence of forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of all animosity toward an offender. It is releases all rights for revenge. It takes ownership of our feelings and empowers us to view reality from a new perspective. It is trusting the God of perfect justice to settle all offenses in His way and in His perfect timing.
One problem in understanding forgiveness is that it is something of a catchall word in English for a number of very different words in the original languages. When this is examined carefully it is seen that God never holds an offense so He does not need to forgive to let it go. His forgiveness as far as His heart is concerned is always a present reality. However, another aspect of forgiveness – the cleansing of our own hearts of the shame, guilt and condemnation resulting from sin is in need of grace from God. When we ask Him to forgive us, we are not asking Him to change His mind about us but seeking Him to cleanse us from our fears and guilt and confusion about Him and how He feels towards us.
When both parties enter into forgiveness, reconciliation can result. This creates a new dynamic in the relationship and healing and bonding can take place.
This is an ever-expanding definition continually increasing and expanding. Glory has to do mainly with character. When Moses asked to see God's glory God focused almost exclusively on descriptions of His character. However, intense exposure to such character has the effect of producing physical exhibitions of light glowing from the body as the Israelites complained about when Moses returned from that experience. Jesus spoke much about glory, particularly as reported by the disciple John. Glory involves love, the very essence of God's nature. Glory is also intimately tied to the perceived worth of something or someone. Worth is what produces trust or faith which in turn can amplify glory or contribute to it. In that sense glory is also defined as a person's reputation.
The word Grace for many has become so heavy with religious weight and confusing emotional baggage and legal implications that it may be easier to define it using the term graciousness. When we think of a person who is extremely gracious, we think of someone who is welcoming, polite, considerate, thoughtful, looking out for the interests of everyone else, making sure people are taken care of, their needs are met and their happiness is enhanced as much as possible. The more we begin to see God in this light the closer we come to perceiving the true meaning of His grace.
At the most basic level of explanation, guilt is a dis-congruity between the intellectual, information-based left brain and the experience, emotion, spirit-based right brain. The real problem can be on either side. If the heart simply knows something has to be true but the intellectual belief system has something contradictory on file that is not really true, the mind will experience some level of discomfort and uneasiness that we know as guilt. Similar feelings will result when our emotions or experience does not align with what in our mind we know to be true.
There are two kinds of guilt commonly known as real guilt and false guilt. Real guilt occurs when we are not aligned or synchronized with what is really true, with the unchangeable principles the govern the universe. This guilt can prompt us to accept conviction from the Holy Spirit and be reconciled or realigned with reality.
False guilt usually occurs when our habits of thinking, feeling or emotions are so ingrained by culture and conditioning that they refuse to release us into peace when we choose to believe what is real and true in spite of them. John referred to this problem between our heart and mind in this passage.
We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God. (1 John 3:19-21 NAS95) see condemnation
The heart is a very slippery, evasive part of our make up that is very difficult to describe clearly in words since words involve primarily a left brain function. The heart may reside mostly in the right brain though it is most likely more extensive than that. The heart is largely where our emotions reside along with many of our deepest experiential beliefs and longings. It is the core of our identity and uniqueness. It is the gem that lies at the center around which God created all the rest of our being to protect, contain and nurture. Since religion has for the most part evolved into mostly an intellectual information oriented system of beliefs, the heart has become eclipsed and mostly forgotten except for a lot of loose but powerless jargon thrown around in religious circles.
Teaching us to live transparently and honestly from our heart is one of the primary goals of the gospel and the plan of salvation. Many who have grown weary of the hypocrisy of those in organized religion who profess to represent God but do not live from their heart have left religion and rejected the church to embrace lifestyles that more freely allow them to be honest about what they feel on the inside. They are the ones that Jesus liked to hang out with and was roundly criticized for doing so. But Jesus connects easier to people who are real wherever they are found than with those who have great pride in their piety but refuse to acknowledge the emptiness and pain stuffed under many layers of deception. Both groups need His healing love to restore them to wholeness but the first group are more often likely to respond to His grace than the second.
An almost completely unattended truth is the existence and condition of God's heart. We are designed with hearts to synchronize with God's heart and with each others. This is where we find our greatest joy and satisfaction.
This word has been used to translate different original words that mean different things. Sheol is the word in Hebrew that is usually translated as Hell. In the Greek the two words, Ge-henna and Hades are both used. Sheol and Hades both mean basically the same thing and care must be taken that tradition should not unduly influence the interpretation of these words. What they mean quite simply is “the grave” or the place of death where all life and consciousness cease.
Gehenna on the other hand was an actual place outside of Jerusalem where people took their trash and garbage to burn very much like our “landfills” today except they didn't take so much pains to cover it with dirt like we often do today. They simply kept fires burning continuously for years on end as they added daily to the refuse to be burned. Of course, as one could easily imagine, this created quite a revolting odor and created an environment that was most unpleasant to linger near.
Given the radical difference between these two meanings one must be very careful to know which original word lies behind the reference to Hell in any particular text to properly understand the meaning it is conveying to us. And contrary to the biases of the translators, none of these carry the implication of a time-eternal torturing of conscious souls of lost sinners by an angry God. That is a doctrine straight from the wicked mind of Satan himself and has been most successful in destroying the reputation of the true God of love and compassion.
This is another one of the most misunderstood words in religion. Leaving all preconceived notions of this aside, Holy simply means completely dedicated to something or someone. An excellent illustration is an analogy of a “dedicated” telephone line for a fax machine. In the purest use of the word Holy, that telephone line could be called holy.
Holy always must have an object toward which it is directed, it does not stand alone. In the above analogy, the phone line is dedicated for the exclusive use of of the fax machine and no other uses. When men and women are “holy unto the Lord”, they are completely and exclusively devoted to God for His use alone.
Not seeking to exalt one's self; preferring others above one's self. Freedom from pride through having a secure sense of value and identity from God. A secure sense of identity sets one free from a need to draw attention to one's self. A humble spirit is really a sign of freedom from emptiness, a sign of inner satisfaction that only results from a vital connection with Jesus that satisfies our cravings to be valued and loved.
Initially a sense of sin and unworthiness leading us to repentance. It then takes on a new form as one senses their immense worth in the eyes of Jesus freeing them from needing to seek value and validity or affirmation from any other source.
Iniquity and sin are often spoken of together in the Bible. Many people think they are more or less the same thing since it is not commonly known what this word means. But iniquity is different than sin in an important respect. Without going into a whole study on the word which is outside of this venue, iniquity is the internal “faults,” hidden predispositions (2 Cor. 4:2) that are passed down generationally (Ex. 20:5) that cause inward compulsions to particular types of sin. They are a false identity, a belief in lies about ourself, that is passed down from our fathers before we are born. They are dealt with in the soul by choosing to forgive our fathers for passing them to us, taking responsibility for them by confessing them (agreeing that they exist within us), renouncing them before God and receiving forgiveness and cleansing from Him.
Isaiah 53:5 defines two different 'penalties' that Jesus paid for us on the cross – one for sin and another for iniquities. The effects of sin produced wounds, an external thing. In bearing our iniquities He was bruised, an internal, hidden wound that may not be seen from the outside at all. Because of this He is able to heal both problems in our lives because He took the consequences upon Himself so we could be healed.
Joy and the need for joy is rooted into the deepest parts of our brain and our heart. It is connected to our attachment circuits and is actually now known to be the greatest craving of every human being born into the world. Joy is the feeling the heart and mind experiences when the person recognizes that he or she is the sparkle in someone's eye, when they are the object of someone's focused affections and interest. Joy is the experience of being loved and accepted and cherished irregardless of circumstances or history. Joy is when someone is genuinely glad to be with you. Joy literally gives us strength, both emotionally and physically.
Because joy is rooted in someone's gladness to be with me, I can experience joy in any circumstance or emotion or condition if someone is simply glad to be with me in those emotions and circumstances. Joy is not always necessarily happiness. Joy can be experienced during times of intense sorrow, shame or even anger. When another person cares about me enough to enter into my emotion with me and go through the experience with me as a caring friend, I experience what joy is all about.
Judgment is the revealing of our opinion about God, not God's decision about us. Judgment is the exposing of what was previously hidden, a revelation of what are the true motives, feelings, thoughts and secrets hidden in the heart. In addition, the purpose of judgment is for two things: to vindicate and to expose. Revealing the real truth about God's motives, actions and attitudes in contrast to the many insinuations and lies about Him exposes the fraudulent nature of the charges against Him and vindicates Him thus salvaging His reputation. In the process, judgment also exposes just how evil, deceitful and and devious His accuser has been. As the real truth about God is fully exposed in judgment and the real truth about all those who have accused Him is revealed plainly, all the affections and tolerance and sympathy that has ever been felt for Satan or his ideas evaporates as it becomes completely clear in the minds of all that God is always fair, just, righteous, good and loving without exception. Thus judgment is the process by which sin will be forever eradicated from the universe never to recur because all will be completely convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God's ways are best and are truly righteous.
Justify in one sense means to vindicate. The interesting thing about justification is that to be effective it must always come from another source. When one tries to justify themselves they immediately come under suspicion further complicating their dilemma. To be justified or vindicated one needs credible witnesses and clear evidence to convince others about their integrity. This requires humility restraining one from seeking to justify themselves while relying on others to speak in their behalf.
Another sense of justify means to 'set right' or restore to a proper position or relationship. We justify this text when we align it with the left margin. Likewise, when we are put into proper alignment with God's righteous character we are justified or set right with God, thus making us safe to live in His powerful presence.
Biblical definitions of justice are in stark contrast to what nearly everyone assumes this word means. Popular notions around this word almost always involve punishment of abusers or violators of the law. But a careful study of justice in the Bible reveals that heaven's definition of justice focuses on setting things right for those who are oppressed, setting captives free, restoration to wholeness for victims. This is not a focus on 'getting even' or inflicting suffering on those who have done wrong. Counterfeit ideas about justice involve human cravings for vengeance which likewise is a greatly misunderstood concept. God's justice is restoring fairness, not seeking retribution or punishment against offenders. True justice is restoration.
Kingdom of Heaven

This is a word that opens up much deeper revelations about the true nature of God's feelings for us and our potential relationship with Him. Many times when the Bible uses the word “know” what is really meant in the original language is a very intimate kind of knowledge based on the most intimate possible relationship. Genesis 4:1 is an example of this where it states that Adam “knew” his wife Eve and she bore him a son. When this view is applied to many other verses where we are instructed to “know” God these verses take on a whole new dimension. Jesus says that to know God and His Son is to have eternal life.
In God's kingdom the concept of law is different than in the kingdoms of this world. God's laws are all actually principles, natural laws that we see in nature, science and every other aspect of life. The kingdoms of this world operate on artificial, imposed, arbitrary laws that require punishment imposed by enforcers. This is foreign to the way heaven operates, for the principle of heaven is the law of love alone.
Insistence on remaining spiritual infants or children under the rule of Law and denying – even defying – the need to grow up into maturity. Legalism is an obsession with one's legal standing while giving little care to issues more oriented toward social relationship. Legalism is a focus on making sure that the right formula is followed so that one's legal standing is correct. Legalism views life from the standpoint that keeping rules are more important than relationships and that breaking rules must always be followed by arbitrary punishments. Legalism minimizes the importance of relationships while elevating the importance of behavior and all things external. Legalism thrives on fear, guilt, shame and condemnation. Legalism is a strong diversion preventing many from truly trusting the heart of God or coming to know the real truth about Him.
Love is the out-pouring of one personality in fellowship with another personality. (Chambers, Oswald: My Utmost for His Highest December 12) Love is other-centeredness, an outward focus on blessing others more than one's self. Love views others as more important than self and is willing to pour out one's resources to the point of even being willing to die if necessary so that others may live.
“I want it now!” This can involve nearly anything, but basically it is a demand to have something or someone immediately instead of relying on God to supply and fulfill our deepest longings.
A willingness to refrain from justifying yourself when under attack or false accusations. It is trusting God to vindicate you instead of attempting to vindicate yourself. This does not necessarily involve a need to change your position if it is validated by God's Spirit. But meekness involves a trust in God's ability to work things out in His ways and timing instead of trying to protect and prop up our own reputation. Meekness is closely linked with humility and both of them require a secure sense of identity and value apart from what others think that is rooted firmly in a reliance on the value God has for one. With a secure sense of value based on what God thinks, one can have the peace necessary to be meek and humble.
The Hebrew word translated mercy comes from the root word used for the womb. This conveys the idea of God being like a mother whose gut feeling is that of tender love, compassion and protectiveness toward her children. This would involve many emotions including a sense of intimate nurturing along with powerful and deep affections. When we say God is merciful in essence we are saying God is 'wombish'.
The term mind is most often used in connection with what is now known to be primarily left-brain functions. This is where we process intellectual information, where we reason, analyze and store retrievable information on demand. This is where we store the libraries of information collected from books, teachers and other resources of intellectual instruction. It is the base where we store our opinions of what is right and wrong based on analytical information.
However, it is now known that during periods of intense emotion and stress that an “untrained” brain will literally shut down this side of the brain and will revert to experiential memories to guide in reactions until the crisis is over. At that point the left brain will come back on line and openly wonder why the previous actions or words occurred since they were completely uncharacteristic with the beliefs and ideas stored in the left-brain libraries.
The mind was given partly to be a screener and “virus checker” for the right brain. The beliefs and concepts fed into the mind need to be true according to how we were created to function to synchronize the growth and nurture of the heart. When false ideas are cherished in the mind the resultant dissonance with the right brain causes uneasiness and guilt. But when the heart and the mind are in full agreement on any issue they lock into a state of harmony and synchronization that makes them unchangeable through any and all circumstances.
In Near-Eastern cultures the concept of a person's name is always connected to a person's character and personality. It is also very much linked to a person's reputation. So when we speak of God's name, we are really referring to either His reputation, His character or possibly both, depending on the context.
All true obedience comes from the heart that is transformed by the love of God. He does not value any forced obedience, for such obedience always produces in the heart a spirit of rebellion. True obedience is the loving response of cooperation from the person who is coming to see God's character of love, compassion, goodness and perfect righteousness.

Waiting for God's timing instead of insisting on our timing.
Literally it means the mercy seat, which was the covering on the Ark of the Covenant which contained the Law of God inside. The mercy seat had two covering cherubs or angels worshiping over the Ark and it was where the visible presence of God was most evident. This is where reconciliation takes place between estranged parties; where mercy brings together sinners back into fellowship with God. Another word is atonement, for on the day of Atonement the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The true meaning of atonement means to reconcile, to bring into at-one-ment those who were previously hostile to each other.
Human systems of belief in a supernatural being or power.
Repentance is a word greatly misunderstood among most Christians that varies widely with differing teachings and beliefs. While the Bible instructs us to repent and be baptized, it also teaches that repentance is a gift that has to be received and exercised, not something that we can just work up and act on whenever we decide to on our own. It is important to know that it is the goodness, the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, not fear or terror of impending punishments. (Rom. 2:4)
While it is true that the original root word in Greek for repentance means to turn or to change direction, this term refers to a change of mind, a change in our fundamental way of thinking. This is something that is accomplished inside of us by God, not something we can create on our own. Many people mistakenly believe that repentance involves a great deal of effort to try to change their bad habits and be good. But true repentance is a change of heart performed by God's Spirit with the results being exhibited in our choices from that point on. It is a heart-oriented experience more than an external religious performance.
While repentance is something that must be performed by God within us, it cannot happen without our choice to willingly embrace it. And the purpose of repentance is to bring glory to God, to vindicate His reputation. (Rev. 16:9)
This is one of the most misunderstood and vague terms in all of religion. It is usually thought of as related to “good” behavior or treating people right. That idea is rooted largely in the narrow legal view of religion from purely an external and intellectual perspective.
The true understanding of righteousness is best perceived in the character of God Himself. Jesus said that only God was righteous. Righteousness is what God is and encompasses all that God's character exhibits. Righteousness is wholeness, rightness, goodness, fairness and everything associated with those things. It is a description of an internal condition with external symptoms flowing from that condition.
Willingly giving for the benefit of others. Sacrifice involves denial of self, letting go of something of value. Sacrifices in the Old Testament usually pointed forward to the greatest sacrifice, that of Jesus who gave up His life to reveal the real truth about God. Sin produces death, and sacrifice absorbs that death so that the life of God can come back into our lives.
From both its root term and its usage throughout the New Testament, salvation is best understood primarily as the idea of salvaging or restoration. It is both the plan and the process whereby God is restoring humans to their original function and design in which He first created them to live. This involves primarily restoring the proper function and role of the heart to govern the way we live, think and relate.
When mankind entered the experience of sin their heart was dis-enthroned from its proper place in the life and intellectual head knowledge became dominant in artificial religion. In other cases the baser passions become the dominant controlling force, but either way the balance of the brain and humanity's relationship to God was thrown all out of whack and something called a “sinful nature” or “lower passions” became the driving force in selfishness that has infected every human born since that time. With the heart largely disconnected from the mind and also perverted by lower passions that were never intended to rule the life, humans came under the control of Satan and were then helpless to extricate themselves from his abusive tyranny.
Salvation is God's amazing arrangement to bring back all humans willing to cooperate with His provisions into proper alignment both internally and externally so they can once again experience wholeness (holiness), perfect peace, joy and perfect synchronization with the rest of God's perfect creation.
Many religious people have gotten the notion that salvation is primarily about getting themselves into heaven so they don't have to live in pain or be bothered by people they don't like. Thus the concept of salvation has become very ego-centric and selfish and totally human oriented. They have largely lost sight of the real issue in the great controversy taking place – namely that God has been charged with cruelty, unfairness and even heinous crimes and as a result His reputation is on trial.
In this context, salvation is not only about restoring humanity to its original design but also restoring God's place in the hearts and affections of all His created beings.
Salvation is closely linked from its root to the word salvage and means very much the same thing. It conveys the added nuance of rescuing from loss and destruction. It means to restore something or someone to their original design and function and purpose. Salvation for humanity is God's plans and methods for restoring us to the purpose and function for which we were originally created. But in Revelation we are also told that salvation belongs to our God. God's reputation has also been terribly damaged and it too needs to be restored. God is so incredibly wise and loving that He is carefully guiding everything to eventually restore all of creation back to not only its original design but to a state even better that it was before. When the terrible experiment with sin is finally resolved and settled, salvation will be complete in restoring the humans who cooperated with God's plans back into a condition and relationship with Him far more intimate and inseparable than would have happened otherwise. And through the process of redemption God's reputation will also be restored to a condition more beautiful and awe-inspiring than it was previous to the creation of this earth.
To narrow the attention and focus down to what is most important. Jesus sanctified Himself by focusing on His mission and would not allow any distractions to divert His attention away from that one purpose. We are to be sanctified, dedicated, focused so that nothing else will draw our attention or affections away from what God has for us to do.
There are two concepts involved in this word, neither of which is the common thinking among churches today. The first is the aspect of healing as in a healing salve. God is in the process of healing us from the disease of sin, saving us.
The second involves rescue. To be saved from having been taken hostage involves rescuers risking their lives to intervene with hostile forces to deliver us from the hand of our oppressors. Both of these have to do with radical changes needed in our lives here and now. God is seeking to save us now and here, not sometime off in the distant future. Going to heaven is for those who have already entered this process.
The Bible has definitions for sin that can be used but that often have been abused and misused resulting in much confusion. The most often quoted definition is found in 1 John 3:4 where it states that “sin is the transgression of the law.”
Romans 14:23 is a less familiar but I believe more helpful definition of sin. It states that whatever is not from faith is sin. Taken together and understood in the context of the true meaning of salvation, it can be seen that sin is a condition in the heart, of being out of right relationship with God, the source of all life. Because faith can occur naturally in a right understanding and relationship with God, then it is easy to see that sin will show up outside of that condition. Because the law of God is a description of God's character, His identity, then anything crosswise to God's ways and perfect character would be sin. Transgression means to be crosswise.
Another misunderstanding about sin is the lack of differentiating between the condition of sin and the resulting symptoms of that condition acted out in our behavior and relationships. Many identify sin as only the outward manifestations of the condition of sin and believe that if the symptoms can be eliminated then sin is under control in their lives.
But sin is systemic in nature and cannot be eliminated or overcome by treating the symptoms. Sin is rooted deeply in the psyche of every human being born since Adam and Eve sinned in the beginning. It is only by the implantation of a counter-nature by the supernatural grace of God in conversion and complete trust in the righteous merits of Jesus Christ alone for our redemption that sin can be brought under control and curbed in our lives. It is by the mysterious but very real choice of dying to our selfish natures every day and allowing the Spirit of God to make us alive in Christ that we can be free of the stranglehold of sin from within us.


Tracing this word back to its roots in the original languages one finds that it can mean 'flashes of divinity.' Sulfur burns very hot and very brightly. Thus it has been used to describe instances where the fire of God is encountered. But though it refers to an element we have here on earth that does not imply that it is a kind of physical fire that burns things like our sulfur might do. The subject of fire is one that must be diligently studied out to discern its true meaning in Scripture.
Transgression is best understood by disassembling the word and looking at the parts carefully and then putting them back together. Trans means to go crosswise to, to cut across what is normal or natural. Gress has to do with direction or movement as in regress, progress, retrogress etc. So trans-gress means to move in a way that is crosswise or out of harmony with something or someone. Transgression is to be out of synchronization.

Wrath of God
This most misunderstood term is covered much more extensively by reading the various notes under the label of “Hell”. But briefly and simply, if the Bible is allowed to supply its own definitions this will ultimately be understood to be actually God's very intense passion rather than the demonic type of anger that humans are so familiar with. The original word that is improperly translated “wrath” could more accurately be translated passion and in fact in some instances is translated by some versions as passion as in Rev. 14:8. If one were to replace every instance of the word wrath with the word passion it would reveal much more accurate revelations about the God that is in charge of the universe.
Another even clearer understanding of the nature of God's wrath is found in Romans 1 and several other places where this definition appears. Romans 1:18 begins the rest of the chapter by stating that the wrath of God is revealed. Then in verses 24, 26 and 28 it states that God gave them over to the natural results of their evil choices. Other places this word translated 'hand them over' is used to describe what God did with Jesus at the cross. He was handed over for our transgressions to die as He became sin for us. Thus we see that when God's wrath is displayed it is the last thing He does – He lets go, He sadly releases those who have so permanently rejected His attempts to save them that there is nothing else He can do.

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