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Theological Dictionary: A - J

Raphaele Dechirante

"Theology is the queen of the sciences. It is the study of God as revealed in His Word. From it flows the knowledge of the discovery of secrets embedded in God's creation. Theology is the study of what God has revealed to Man about Himself and His creation."

Agnosticism

The belief that it is not possible to know if there is or is not a God. (Compare "Theology is the queen of the sciences. It is the study of God as revealed in His Word. From it flows the knowledge of the discovery of secrets embedded in God's creation. Theology is the study of what God has revealed to Man about Himself and His creation." (Compare Atheism; Deism; Theism.) Technically, there are several kinds of agnosticism. Religious agnosticism is the belief that a god does (or may) exist but it is not possible to know anything about that god.

Amillennialism

The teaching that there is no literal 1000 year reign of Christ as referenced in Revelation 20. It sees the 1000 year period spoken of in Revelation 20 as figurative. Instead, it teaches that we are in the millennium now, and that at the return of Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:2) there will be the final judgment and the heavens and the earth will then be destroyed and remade (2 Peter 3:10). The Amillennial view is as old as the Premillennial view. (Also compare to Postmillennialism).

Angel

Angel means messenger. Angels are created (Psalm 148:2,5; Colossians 1:16), non-human, spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14). They are immortal (Luke 20:36), innumerable (Hebrews 12:22), invisible (Numbers 22:22-31), sexless (Matthew 22:30), and do the will of God (Psalm 103:20). These angels have a ministry to believers. They guide (Genesis 24:7, 40), protect (Psalm 34:7), and comfort (Acts 27:2,24). There are good angels (Genesis 28:12; Psalm 91:11; Ezekiel 9:2) and bad angels (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The only angels mentioned by name are Gabriel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), Michael (Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1), and Lucifer (Luke 10:18). Michael is always mentioned in the context of battle (Daniel 10:13) and Gabriel as a messenger (Luke 1:26). Of course, Satan is the one who opposes God. Angels were originally created for the purpose of serving and carrying out the will of God. The fallen angels rebelled and became evil angels. Satan is such an angel (Isaiah 14:12-16; Ezekiel 28:12-15).

Annihilationism

The heretical teaching that those who are not saved cease to exist when they die.

Antichrist

A figure who opposes God. The word is used to describe a spirit of rebellion against God, "...the spirit of the Antichrist..." (1 John 4:3) and of a specific future person identified as the man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:3). He actively opposes Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and when he arrives, he will be able to perform miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Some believe he will be an incarnation of Satan and as such will be able to deceive many. His number is 666 (Revelation 13:18). A further possible description of him might be found in Zechariah 11:15-17).

Antinomianism

The word comes from the Greek 'anti', against, and 'nomos', law. It is the unbiblical practice of living without regard to the righteousness of God, using God's grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse of sin. In other words, since grace is infinite and we are saved by grace, then we can sin all we want and still be saved. It is wrong because even though as Christians we are not under the Law (Romans 6:14), we still fulfil the Law in the Law of love (Romans 13:8,10; Galatians 5:14; 6:2). We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27) and, thereby, avoid the offense of sin which cost God His only begotten Son. Paul speaks against the concept of antinomianism in Romans 6:1-2: "Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?". We are not to use the grace of God as a means of sin. Instead, we are to be controlled by the love of God and in that way bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25).

Apologetics

The word "apologetics" is derived from the Greek word "apologia," which means to make a defense. It has come to mean defense of the faith. Apologetics covers many areas: who Jesus is, the reliability of the Bible, refuting cults, biblical evidences in the history and archeology, answering objections, etc. In short, it deals with giving reasons for Christianity being the true religion. We are called by God to give an apologia, a defense: "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (1 Peter 3:15).

Apostle

Someone sent with a special message or commission. Jesus is called the apostle and high Priest of our confession in Hebrews 3:1. The twelve apostles of Jesus were Simon Peter, Andrew, James the son of Zebedee, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot. Paul was also an apostle (2 Corinthians 1:1), along with Barnabas (Acts 14:14) and others. Apostles established churches (Romans 15:17-20), exposed error (Galatians 1:6-9), and defended the truth of the gospel (Philippians 1:7,17). Some could perform Miracles (Matthew 10:1,8) and they were to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19,20).

Arianism

An ancient theological error that appeared around the year 320. It taught that God could not appear on the earth, that Jesus was not eternal and could not be God. Additionally, it taught that there was only one person in the Godhead: the Father. Jesus, then, was a creation. It was condemned by the Council of Nicea in 325. The Jehovah's Witness cult is an equivalent, though not exactly, of this ancient error.

Arminianism

There are five main tenets of Arminianism: 1) God elects or reproves on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief, 2) Christ died for all men and for every man, although only believers are saved, 3) Man is so depraved that divine grace is necessary unto faith or any good deed, 4) This grace may be resisted, 5) Whether all who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in the faith is a point which needs further investigation. (Compare with Calvinism).

Atheism

This word comes from two Greek words, a the negator, and theos, God. Atheism teaches that there is no God of any kind, anywhere, anytime. Logically, an atheist would be an evolutionist. The Bible teaches that all men know there is a God (Romans 2:14,15). Therefore, they will be without excuse (Romans 1:20) on the day of judgment. Instead, atheists willingly suppress the knowledge of God by their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18,19).

Atonement

To atone means to make amends, to repair a wrong done. Biblically, it means to remove sin. The Old Testament atonements offered by the high priest were temporary and a foreshadow of the real and final atonement made by Jesus. Jesus atoned for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). Man is a sinner (Romans 5:8) and cannot atone for himself. Therefore, it was the love of the Father that sent Jesus (1 John 4:10) to die in our place (1 Peter 3:18) for our sins (1 Peter 2:24). Because of the atonement, our fellowship with God is restored (Romans 5:10). (See Reconciliation).

Baptism

An immersion or sprinkling of water that signifies one's identification with a belief or cause. In Christianity it is the believer's identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6:4-5). It is done in the name and authority (Acts 4:7) of Christ with the baptismal formula of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). It does not save us (1 Peter 3:21) in itself, however, it is our obligation, as believers, to receive it. Some maintain that baptism is necessary for salvation. It is not.

Baptismal Regeneration

The belief that baptism is essential to salvation, that it is the means where forgiveness of sins is made real to the believer. This is incorrect. Paul said that he came to preach the gospel, not to baptize (1 Corinthians 1:14-17). If baptism were essential to salvation, then Paul would have included it in his standard practice and preaching of the salvation message of Jesus, but he did not. (See also Colossians 2:10-11.)

Blasphemy

Speaking evil of God or denying Him some good which we should attribute to Him. Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is attributing the miracles of Christ as being accomplished by the power of the devil (Matthew 12:22-32) and is an unforgivable sin (Mark 3:28-30). Blasphemy arises out of pride (Psalm 73:9,11), hatred (Psalm 74:18), injustice (Isaiah 52:5), etc. Christ was mistakingly accused of blasphemy (John 10:30-33). }

Calvinism

A system of Christian interpretation initiated by John Calvin. It emphasizes predestination and salvation. The five points of Calvinism were developed in response to the Arminian position (See Arminianism). Calvinism teaches: 1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions, 2) Unmerited favour: that God's favour to Man is completely by God's free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man, 3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived, but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11,15), 4) Irresistible grace: that God's call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted, 5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one's salvation.

Canon

This is another word for scripture. The Canon consists of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New. The Canon is closed which means there is no more revelation to become Scripture.

Christ

Christ is a title. It is the N.T. equivalent of the O.T. term "messiah" and means "anointed one." It is applied to Jesus as the anointed one who delivers from sin. Jesus alone is the Christ. As the Christ He has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet He is the mouthpiece of God (Matthew 5:27-28) and represents God to man. As Priest He represents man to God and restores fellowship between them by offering Himself as the sacrifice that removed the sin of those saved. As King He rules over His kingdom. By virtue of Christ creating all things (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17), He has the right to rule. Christ has come to do the will of the Father (John 6:38), to save sinners (Luke 19:10), to fulfill the O.T. (Matthew 5:17), to destroy the works of Satan (Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8), and to give life (John 10:10,28). Christ is holy (Luke 1;35), righteous (Isaiah 53:11), sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21), humble (Philippians 2:8), and forgiving (Luke 5:20: 7:40; 23:34).

Christian

The word "Christian" comes from the Greek word 'Christians' which comes from the word "Christ" which means "anointed one." A Christian, then, is someone who is a follower of Christ. The first use of the word "Christian" in the Bible is found in Acts 11:26, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." It is found only twice more in Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16.

Christology

The study of Christ (Jesus) as revealed in the Bible. Some of the issues studied are: 1) His deity, 2) His incarnation, 3) His offices (See Christ), 4) His sacrifice, 5) His resurrection, 6) His teaching, 7) His relation to God and man, and 8) His return to earth.

Church

The word is used in two senses: the visible and the invisible church. The visible church consists of all the people that claim to be Christians and go to church. The invisible church is the actual body of Christians; those who are truly saved. The true church of God is not an organization on earth consisting of people and buildings, but is really a supernatural entity comprised of those who are saved by Jesus. It spans the entire time of man's existence on earth as well as all people who are called into it. We become members of the church (body of Christ) by faith (Acts 2:41). We are edified by the Word (Ephesians 4:15,16), disciplined by God (Matthew 18:15-17), unified in Christ (Galatians 3:28), and sanctified by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:26,27).

Circumcision

An operation (note the shedding of blood) that entered one into the covenant in O.T. times. It was instituted by God (Genesis 17:10-14) and performed on the eighth day (Luke 1:59). It was a sign of the covenant God made with Abraham (Genesis 17:12; Romans 4:11). In the N.T. the physical operation is not practiced. Instead, a circumcision of the heart of the Christian is taught (Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11-12). This is the true circumcision (Romans 2:29).

Common Grace

The grace of God given to the creation as a whole. God still allows the sun to shine upon the unsaved. He feeds them, allows them to work, and have joy. It is common grace that "restrains" the wrath of God until a later time. It is in special grace that salvation is given to the Christians.

Communion

The Lord's Supper (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 1:23-26). It is the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42,46) and a time to give thanks (Luke 22:17,19). It was originally instituted by Jesus (Matthew 26:26-29) on the night of the Passover meal which was an annual occurrence celebrating the "passing over" of the angel of death that claimed the firstborn of every house in Egypt (Exodus 12). The Lord's Supper, or communion, replaces the Passover meal with the "body and blood" (Mark 14:22-24) of Jesus. It is to be taken only by believers (1 Corinthians 11:23-28). (For further study see John 6:26-58 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-34).

Condemnation

Declaring an evil doer to be guilty; the punishment inflicted. Without Jesus we stand condemned before God not only because of the sin of Adam (Romans 5:16-18) but also because of our own sin (Matthew 12:37). However, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:1-2). Christians have passed out of condemnation because they are forgiven in Christ.

Conversion

Turning from evil to God. God converts (Acts 21:19) the unsaved into the saved, from the unregenerate to the regenerate. It is produced through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and results in repentance (Acts 26:20) and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The fruits of conversion are listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

Conviction

The work of the Holy Spirit where a person is able to see himself as God sees him: guilty, defiled, and totally unable to save himself (John 16:8). Conviction of the Holy Spirit of an unbeliever reveals sinfulness and guilt and brings fear. Conviction of the Holy Spirit of the believer brings an awareness of sin and results in confession and cleansing. This conviction is produced by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), the Gospel (Acts 2:37), the conscience (Romans 2:15), and the Law (James 2:9). Conviction of our sins brings us to the cross. It shows us our need for forgiveness.

Covenant

An agreement between two parties. The agreement, according to Ancient Near East custom, consists of five parts: 1) Identification of parties, 2) Historical prologue where the deeds establishing the worthiness of the dominant party is established, 3) Conditions of the agreement, 4) Rewards and punishments in regard to keeping the conditions, and 5) Disposition of the documents where each party receives a copy of the agreement (e.g. the two tablets of stone of the 10 Commandments). Ultimately, the covenants God has made with man result in our benefit. We receive eternal blessings from the covenant of grace. (For further study see Genesis 2:16, 17; 9:1-17; 15:18; 26:3-5; Galatians 3:16-18; Luke 1:68-79; Hebrews 13:20).

Covenant Theology

A system of theology that views God's dealings with man in respect of covenants rather than dispensations (periods of time). It represents the whole of scripture as two covenants: the covenant of works in the O.T. made between God and Adam, and the Covenant of Grace in the N.T. between the Father and the Son.

Creation

Everything that exists except God himself. This includes material as well as immaterial things and time. God is the creator, (Hebrews 11:3) we are the creatures. The creator/creature distinction must be maintained to properly remain in humble relationship with God. We are not God, cannot create, nor can we help ourselves do good in order to be saved. Only God is God. Only He can create. And, only He has the ability to save man.

Cult

A religious group that follows a particular theological system. In the context of Christianity it is a group that uses the Bible but distorts the doctrines that affect salvation sufficiently to cause salvation to be unattainable. A few examples of cults are Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Christadelphians, Unity, Religious Science, The Way International, and the Moonies. Obviously, every religious group follows a theological system. Among theologians, the generally accepted concept of a cult is:

a relatively small group whose theological beliefs are not widely accepted.

who follow the teachings of a specific leader or small group of leaders

who claim new revelation from their god and that alleged revelation contradicts earlier generally-accepted revelation. Yet, by this definition at one time Judaism, Christianity and Islam all qualified as cults.

Death

The word "death" is used in two main ways in the Bible. First, it is used to describe the cessation of life. Second, death is used in reference to the lost. This refers to their eternal separation from God as a result of sin (Isaiah 59:2), in a conscious state of damnation without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13; Revelation 20:10,14,15). Death to humans is unnatural. When God created Adam and Eve, death was not part of the created order. It was not until they sinned that death entered the scene (Romans 5:12; 6:23). Death will be destroyed when Christ returns and the believers receive their resurrected bodies.

Deism

The belief that God exists but is not involved in the world. It maintains that God created all things and set the universe in motion and is no longer involved in its operation. (Compare to Atheism, Agnosticism, and Theism).

Demon

A fallen angel that assists Satan in the opposition of God. Demons are evil (Luke 10:17,18), powerful (Luke 8:29), and under the power of Satan (Matthew 12:24-30). They recognized Christ (Mark. 1:23,24) and can possess non-believers (Matthew 8:29).

Dichotomy

The teaching that a human consists of two parts: body and soul. Sometimes the soul is also referred to as spirit. (See Trichotomy).

Disciple

A pupil or follower of a religion, a person, or a movement. As Christians we are to be disciples of Jesus (Luke 14:26,27). We follow in the teaching and example of what He said and did. A disciple is a convert but not all converts are disciples. As disciples we are to bear our cross daily (Matthew 16:24). This means to live and die for Him if necessary (Matthew 16:25).

Dispensation, dispensationalism

Dispensation is "a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God" Dispensationalism says that God uses different means of administering His will and grace to His people. These different means coincide with different periods of time. There are seven dispensations: of innocence, of conscience, of civil government, of promise, of law, of grace, and of the kingdom. Dispensationalists interpret the scriptures in light of these (or other perceived) dispensations. Compare to Covenant).

Divinity

The nature or quality of being God. It belongs to God alone. Jesus was divine in nature (Colossians 2:9) as well as being a man.

Edify

To build up. In the Christian context it means to strengthen someone, or be strengthened, in relationship to God, the Christian walk, and holiness. As Christians, we are to "let all things be done for edification" (1 Corinthians 14:26). We are edified by the Word of God (Acts 20:32) and by love (1 Corinthians 8:1). (See also Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:29 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; James 4:1-6).

Efficacy

Producing a result. Christ's atonement was efficacious; it produced the result of forgiveness of sins for the elect. The atonement is efficacious grace in action.

Elect, Election

The elect are those called by God to salvation. This election occurs before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and is according to God's will not man's (Romans 8:29-30; 9:6-23) because God is sovereign (Romans 9:11-16). The view of election is especially held by Calvinists who also hold to the doctrine of predestination.

Eschatology

The study of the teachings in the Bible concerning the end times, or of the period of time dealing with the return of Christ and the events that follow. Eschatological subjects include the Resurrection, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millennium, the Binding of Satan, the Three witnesses, the Final Judgment, Armageddon, and The New Heavens and the New Earth. In the New Testament, eschatological chapters include Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17, and 2 Thessalonians 2. In one form or another most of the books of the Bible deal with end times subjects. But some that are more prominently eschatological are Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2 Thessalonians, and of course Revelation. (See Amillennialism and Premillennialism for more information on views on the millennium.)

Eternal life

Life everlasting in the presence of God. "This is eternal life, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent" (John 17:3). There are two senses in which this is used. First, as Christians we possess eternal life (1 John 5:13), yet we are not in heaven or in the immediate presence of God. Though we are still in mortal bodies and we still sin, by faith we are saved (Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9) and poses eternal life as a free gift from God (Romans 6:23). Second, eternal life will reach its final state at the resurrection of the believers when Christ returns to earth to claim His church. It is then that eternal life will begin in its complete manifestation. We will no longer sin.

Eternal Security

The doctrine that salvation cannot be lost. Since it is not gained by anything we do, it cannot be lost by anything we do. This does not mean that we can sin all we want (Romans 6:1-2) because we have been freed from sin and are set apart for holy use (1 Thessalonians 4:7). (See Antinomianism.)

Eutychianism

This is similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ's natures were so thoroughly combined -- in a sense scrambled together -- that the result was that Christ was not really truly able to relate to us as humans. The problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man. Therefore, He would be unable to act as mediator and unable to truly atone for our sins. (See Hypostatic Union, which is the correct view of Christ's two natures, and also Nestorianism and Monophycitism which are the incorrect views of Christ's two natures.)

Evil

Moral rebellion against God. It is contrary to the will of God. There is natural evil (floods, storms, famines, etc.) and moral evil (adultery, murder, idolatry, etc.). Natural evil is a result of moral evil. Adam's sin resulted in sin entering the world allowing floods, storms, famines, etc. Evil originated with Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14) and is carried on by man (Matthew 15:18,19). (See Theodicy.)

Evolution

Though you might not expect to find the subject of evolution in a dictionary of theology, it is appropriate if you consider that the theory of evolution requires faith. The evidence for evolution is actually quite weak. There are numerous difficulties facing it and, the theory has undergone many changes since its inception in the 1800's. It is the theory that over an incredible duration of time, life developed from random combinations of non-organic materials. This life was improved upon through mutations and the process of natural selection. The Scriptures do not speak about evolution but instead negate the theory by stating that God created all things (Genesis 1). Few theologians have studied evolution in any detail and few evolutionists have studied the Bible in any detail. Most people on either side assume it is an "all or nothing" question. The fact is that the evidence indicates a mixture of 'special creation' and 'theistic' evolution, i.e., some things 'zapped' instantaneously and others the result of later changes by evolution directly controlled by an incredibly powerful, incredibly intelligent being that can control reactions everywhere in the entire universe, that existed before the universe began, that planned everything, who still exists and still is carrying out the plan. Even evolutionists claim there are various degrees of evolution. The HIV virus evolves. Changes in genetic sequences from one generation to the next can and have been measured. This is referred to as micro-evolution. Micro-evolution does not contradict the Bible in any way. Scientists estimate that currently there are over 2 million different species alive, and historically there have probably been at least 10 million species. Obviously, Noah could not have fit more than 20 million animals on the Ark, and he could not have accumulated animals from the entire planet. Furthermore, a flood lasting several months would have destroyed most forms of plant life. Where did all the new species of plants come from if micro-evolution does not occur? Micro-evolution is consistent with the Bible and also explains both the existence of the fossil record and the observed emergence of new species. Note that new species are not necessarily new, i.e., trees do not become birds. Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is a theory based on a series of hypotheses and assumptions. It is the theory that a molecule developed the ability to copy itself and over time the chemical became more complex, developed into a virus, developed into a simple cell without a nucleus, then a cell with a nucleus, then a multi-cell creature, and ultimately, humans. "Macro", "micro", and "special creation" attempt to say what happened, not what caused it to happen.

Within evolution there are two camps: 'theistic' and 'atheistic'. Theistic evolution says that a god controls any evolution that occurs. Atheistic evolution says that it is all a matter of chance. Note that it is possible to believe in the existence of a god but still believe in atheistic evolution; atheistic evolution is not an opinion about the existence of a god, it is an opinion on how life came into existence. Atheistic evolution says that even if a god exists, he is not causing or controlling evolution. Although atheistic evolution is the generally accepted view both in the scientific community and among the general public, it is 'totally unscientific'. It violates some of the 'basic laws of science', such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (a fundamental law of physics which in layman's terms says, "Left alone, things break down.") and the Law of Irreducible Complexity. (For example, an animal gains no competitive advantage in obtaining food, mating, avoiding predators, etc., by evolving a visual cortex in its brain to process data from an eye until it has eyes and an optic nerve to carry information from the eyes to the cortex. It gains no advantage by evolving eyes until it has a visual cortex and connecting nerves. It gains no advantage by evolving an optic nerve if there is nothing to connect to on either end. The chances of appropriate organs simultaneously developing 'by accident' is ZERO.)

According to the Bible, man is unique in that he is the only creature with a flesh body and a spirit. It easy to see that man acts differently from all other creatures. A spirit is non-corporeal, i.e., not made of matter. How do you obtain a spirit by chemical changes? Many scientists and laymen claim it is possible, BUT WHERE IS THE 'SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE' TO BACK UP SUCH A CLAIM? WHERE IS THE 'TEST DATA'? So, based on the scientific evidence alone we have only three possibilities: Special creation by a deity; Theistic evolution continuously controlled by a deity; A combination of special creation and theistic evolution.

Expiation

The cancellation of sin. Expiation and propitiation are similar but expiation does not carry the implication of dealing with wrath, of appeasing it through a sacrifice. Generally speaking, propitiation cancels sin and deals with God's wrath. Expiation is simply the cancellation of sin. Jesus was our propitiation (1 John 2:2; 4:10 -- "atoning sacrifice" in the NIV).

Faith

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). It is synonymous with trust. It is a divine gift (Romans 12:3) and comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). It is the means by which the grace of God is accounted to the believer who trusts in the work of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:8). Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). It is by faith that we live our lives, "The righteous shall live by faith" (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17).

Fall, The

The fall is that event in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and ate of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2 and 3). Since Adam represented all of mankind, when He sinned, all of mankind fell with Him (Romans 5:12).

Fast, Fasting

Depriving oneself of food for a period of time for a specific purpose, often spiritual. It is the "weakening" of the body in order to "strengthen" the spirit. It is interesting to note that sin entered the world through the disobedience of eating (Genesis 3:6). We are called to fast in the N.T. (Matthew 6:16). (See also 1 Kings 21:27; Psalm 35;13; Acts 13:3; 2 Corinthians 6:5).

Fellowship

There is no specific definition given in the N.T. But we are called into fellowship with one another (1 John 1:3), with Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:9), with the Father (1 John 1:3), and with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14). Fellowship implies sharing common interests, desires, and motivations. Fellow requires that time be spent with another communicating, caring, etc. It carries with it a hint of intimacy. As Christians we fellowship with one another because of our position in Christ, because we are all redeemed and share an intimate personal knowledge of Jesus. We share a common belief (Acts 2:42), hope (Hebrews 11:39,40), and need (2 Corinthians 8:1-15). The Greek word for fellowship is koinonia. This word is also translated communion in 1 Corinthians 10:16 in the KJV. This is where we get the term the communion supper.

Firstborn

The first of the mother's offspring. It stands figuratively for that which is most excellent. The firstborn male of the family carried certain familial rites and privileges (Genesis 27:1-29; 48:13,14) and was given a double portion of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17). It also refers to Christ being the first raised from the dead (Colossians 1:15,18). It does not mean first created as Jehovah's Witnesses believe in reference to Colossians 1:15. In fact, the firstborn rites were transferable. Compare Jeremiah 31:9 with Genesis 41:50-52.

Forgiveness

There are seven words in Scripture which denote the idea of forgiveness: three in Hebrew and four in Greek. No book of religion except Christianity teaches that God completely forgives sins. God remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17). God is the initiator of forgiveness (Colossians 2:13). There is only one sin for which the Father does not promise forgiveness: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28; Matthew 12:32). The contexts suggest this to be the sin of attributing to unclean spirits the work of the Holy Spirit. For man to receive forgiveness, repentance is necessary (Luke 17:3-4). For the holy God to extend forgiveness, the shedding of blood is necessary (Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 17:11). Forgiveness is based upon the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Fool

Hater of God. One who is morally weak, who misuses what God has given him for selfish purposes. He is lustful (Proverbs 7:22), lazy (Ecclesiastes 10:15), does not fear God (Proverbs 14:1), hates knowledge (Proverbs 1:22), and is self-righteous (Proverbs 12:15). As Christians, we are to avoid foolishness (Ephesians 5:4). (See Ecclesiastes 7:25; Proverbs 3:35, 10:8.)

Foreknow, Foreknowledge

It is the knowledge of God about things that will happen. Past, present, and future are all "present" in the mind of God. He inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). God has infinite knowledge (Isaiah 41:22,23) and knows all things in advance. In the N.T. it does not always mean "to know beforehand" but also to cause to be. See 1 Peter 1:2,20.

Gifts, Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual abilities given by God for the purpose of building up the church. Every Christian has at least one (1 Corinthians 7:7). They are listed and discussed in different places in the N.T. (Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28-30; Ephesians 4:7-12). Following is a list of the gifts arranged in two groups. The first are gifts that require supernatural intervention and are possessed only by true Christians. The second are gifts that do not require supernatural intervention. Even non-Christians can have the second group of gifts. A further issue is whether or not the gifts are still in use today. Some believe they ceased with the apostles and the closing of the Canon (the completion of the writings of the Bible) and they are no longer needed for the building up of the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). Others believe the gifts are still in use but not in the pure apostolic sense. In other words, they are still in use but not in the same way possessed by the apostles. Instead, they are available to the believer if and when God decides it is beneficial to use them.

Spiritual Gifts REQUIRING SUPERNATURAL INTERVENTION

1 Salvation ~Romans 6:23

2 Word of Wisdom ~1 Corinthians 12:8

3 Word of Knowledge ~1 Corinthians 12:8

4 Faith ~ 1 Corinthians 12:9

5 Healing ~ 1 Corinthians 12:9

6 Miracles ~ 1 Corinthians 12:10

7 Prophecy ~ Romans 12:6 ~ 1 Corinthians 12:10

8 Distinguishing of Spirits ~1 Corinthians 12:10

9 Tongues ~ 1 Corinthians 12:

10 Interpretation of Tongues ~1 Corinthians 12:10

GIFTS NOT REQUIRING INTERVENTION

1 Serving ~ Romans 12:7

2 Teaching ~ Romans 12:7

3 Exhortation ~ Romans 12:8

4 Giving ~ Romans 12:8

5 Leading ~ Romans 12:8

6 Showing mercy ~ Romans 12:8

God

The supreme being of the universe. He is the creator of all things (Isaiah 44:24). He alone is God (Isaiah 45:21,22; 46:9; 47:8). There have never been any Gods before Him nor will there be any after Him (Isaiah 43:10). God is God from all eternity (Psalm 90:2). In Exodus 3:14, God revealed His name to His people. The name commonly known in English is Jehovah. This comes from the four Hebrew consonants that spell the name of God. (See Tetragrammaton.) God is a 'Trinity', knows all things (1 John 3:20), can do all things (Jeremiah 32:17,27 - except those things against His nature like lie, break His word, cheat, steal, etc.), and is everywhere all the time (Psalm 139:7-12).

Gospel

The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins though Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." The gospel comes from God (Galatians 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), is a mystery (Ephesians 6:19), and is a source of hope (Colossians 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1 Corinthians 4:15), and peace (Ephesians 6:15).

Grace

Grace is unmerited favor. It is God's free action for the benefit of His people. It is distinguished from (see Justice and Mercy). Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. In grace we get eternal life, something that, quite obviously, we do not deserve. But because of God's love and kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross, we receive the great blessing of redemption. Grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. Grace rules out all human merit. It is the product of God, that is given by God, because of who He is not because of who we are. It is the means of our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are no longer under the Law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). (See Acts 15:11; Romans 5:2,15-20; 2 Corinthians 12:9; and 2 Corinthians 9:8).

Heaven

Heaven is the dwelling place of God and for those who go there a place of everlasting bliss. Scripture implies three heavens, since "the third heaven" is revealed to exist (2 Corinthians 12:2). It is logical that a third heaven cannot exist without a first and second. Scripture does not describe specifically the first and second heaven. The first, however, apparently refers to the atmospheric heavens of the fowl (Hosea 2:18) and clouds (Daniel 7:13). The second heaven may be the area of the stars and planets (Genesis 1:14-18). It is the abode of all supernatural angelic beings. The third heaven is the abode of the triune God. Its location is unrevealed. (See Matthew 23:34,37; Luke 10:20; and Revelation 21:2, 20-27).

Hell

Hell is the future place of eternal punishment of the damned including the devil and his fallen angels. There are several words rendered as Hell: Hades - A Greek word. It is the place of the dead comprising the state of the person between death and resurrection. (See Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Acts 11:27; 1 Corinthians 15:55; Revelation 1:18, 6:8). Gehenna - A Greek word. It was the place where dead bodies were dumped and burned (2 Kings 23:13,14). Jesus used the word to designate the place of eternal torment (5:22,29,30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). 'Sheol' - A Hebrew word. It is the place of the dead, not necessarily the grave, but the place the dead go to. It is used of both the righteous (Psalm 16:10; 30:3; Isaiah 38:10) and the wicked (Numbers 16:33; Job 24:19; Psalm 9:17). Hell is a place of eternal fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 19:20). It was prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41) and will be the abode of the wicked (Revelation 21:8) and the fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4).

Heresy

A doctrinal view that deviates from the truth, a false teaching. We are warned against it in Acts 20:29-32 and Philippians 3:2. Heresies include teachings that Jesus is not God and that the Holy Spirit is not a person (Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians,The Way International), that men may become gods (Mormonism), that there is more than one God (Mormonism), that Jesus lost His divinity in hell and finished the atonement there), and that good works are necessary for salvation (all cults say this), to name a few.

Holy, Holiness

A quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone. As Christians we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:16). But this does not refer to our nature. Instead, it is a command of our practice and thought. We are to be holy in obedience (1 Peter 1:14). God has made us holy through His Son Jesus (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:9).

Holy Spirit, The

The third person of the Godhead. He is completely God. He is called God (Acts 5:3-4), has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11), speaks (Acts 8:29; 31:2), and knows all things (John 14:17). He is not an "active force" as the Jehovah's Witnesses teach. The Holy Spirit is alive and is fully and completely God. He is called the Spirit of God (Genesis 1:2), Holy Spirit (Psalm 51:11), the Helper (John 14:16,26), and Eternal Spirit (Hebrews 9:14). He knows all things (1 Corinthians 2:10,11), is all powerful (Luke 1:35), and is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-13). (See Trinity and Holy Spirit.)

Humility

The attitude of the Christian that teaches us not to "...think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment..." (Romans 12:3). It teaches us to prefer others over ourselves (Romans 12:10). It is knowing our true position before God. It is not self-abasement or demeaning one's self. "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). Humility is necessary to be a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 18:3-4). The humility of Jesus is described in Philippians 2:5-8, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross." (NIV).

Hypostatic Union

This is the union of the two natures (Divine and human) in the person of Jesus. Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1,14; Colossians 2:9; John 8:58; 10:30-34; Hebrews 1:8). He is fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9); thus, He has two natures: God and man. He is not half God and half man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost his divinity. He continued to exist as God when He became and added human nature to Himself (Philippians 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a "union in one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature. "Right now in heaven there is a man, Jesus, who is our Mediator between us and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). (For related information on Jesus and His two natures. (See Incarnation, and the errors concerning His natures known as Eutychianism, Monophycitism, and Nestorianism.)

Idol, Idolatry

An idol is a representation of something in the heavens or on the earth. It is used in worship and is often worshiped. It is an abomination to God (Exodus 20:4). Idolatry is bowing down before such an idol in adoration, prayer, or worship. In a loose sense, idolatry does not necessitate a material image nor a religious system. It can be anything that takes the place of God: a car, a job, money, a person, a desire, etc. Idolatry is denounced by God at the beginning of the Ten Commandments and is considered a form of spiritual fornication.

Immutability

The divine attribute of unchangeableness. God said in Exodus 3:14, "I AM that I AM" signifying His eternal sameness and His sovereignty. He cannot change His moral character, His love, His omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc. Immutability does not mean that God does not vary. The incarnation is just such an example of variation. Also, God's attitude toward a person is changed when the person becomes a Christian. For example, the enmity between God and man is removed (Romans 5:10). Mormonism denies the immutability of God. It says that God was not always God, that He was a man on another planet who became a God.

Impute, Imputation

To reckon to someone the blessing, curse, debt, etc. of another. Adam's sin is imputed to all people (Romans 5:12-21), therefore, we are all guilty before God. Our sins were imputed to Jesus on the cross where He became sin on our behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21) and died with them (Isaiah 53:4-6). Therefore, our sins are forgiven. Understanding imputation is very important. Imputation is the means of our salvation. Our sins were put upon, imputed, to Jesus on the cross. Our sins were "given" to Jesus. When He died on the cross, our sins, in a sense, died with Him. The righteousness that was His through His perfect obedience to the Father in His complete obedience to the Law is imputed, given, to us. In short, our sins were given to Jesus. His righteousness was given to us. Technically speaking our sins were imputed to Jesus. His righteousness was imputed to us.

Incarnation

The addition of human nature to the nature of God the second person of the Trinity. It is where God became a man (John 1:1,14; Philippians 2:5-8). It was the voluntary act of Jesus to humble Himself so that He might die for our sins (1 Peter 3:18). Thus, Jesus has two natures: Divine and human. This is known as the Hypostatic Union. The doctrine is of vital importance to the Christian. By it we understand the true nature of God, the atonement, forgiveness, grace, etc. It is only God who could pay for sins. Therefore, God became man (John 1:1,14) to die for our sins (1 Peter 2:24) which is the atonement. Through Jesus we have forgiveness of sins. Since we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) it is essential that our object of faith be accurate. The doctrine of the incarnation insures accuracy, the knowledge that God died on the cross to atone for sin and that the God-man (Jesus) is now in heaven as a mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) between us and God. Jesus came to reveal the Father (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22), to do His will (Hebrews 10:5-9), to fulfill prophecy (Luke 4:17-21), to reconcile the world (2 Corinthians 5:18-21), and to become our High Priest (Hebrews 7:24-28). (Contrast with Kenosis.)

Inspiration

The doctrine that the Bible was written by the influence of God. It is, therefore, without error. It is accurate and authoritatively represents God's teachings (2 Timothy 3:16). As such it is a revelation from God which implies direct knowledge about God, creation, man, salvation, the future, etc. It is an illumination in that it shows us what we could not know apart from it. One of the ways to prove that the Bible is inspired is to examine the O.T. prophecies fulfilled in the N.T. concerning Jesus (Luke 24:27-45). Because the Bible is inspired, its words are unbreakable (John 10:34-36), eternal (Matthew 24:35), trustworthy (Psalm 119:160), and able to pierce the heart of man (Hebrews 4:12). Additionally, the inspired Word of God will not go forth without accomplishing what God wishes it to (Isaiah 55:11).

Jesus

The Bible is about Jesus (Luke 24:27,44; John 5:39; Hebrews 10:7). The prophets prophesied about Him (Acts 10:43). The Father bore witness of Him (John 5:37, 8:18). The Holy Spirit bore witness of Him (John 15:26). The works Jesus did bore witness of Him (John 5:36, 10:25). The multitudes bore witness of Him (John 12:17). And, Jesus bore witness of Himself (John 14:6, 18:6). Jesus is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14). He is fully God and fully man (Colossians 2:9) thus, He has two natures: God and man. He is not half God and half man. He is 100% God and 100% man. He never lost his divinity. He existed in the form of God and when He became a man, He added human nature 'to Himself' (Philippians 2:5-11). Therefore, there is a "union in one person of a full human nature and a full divine nature." Right now in heaven there is a man, Jesus, who is Mediator between us and God the Father (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus is our advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1). He is our Savior (Titus 2:13). He is our Lord (Romans 10:9-10). He is not, as some cults teach, an angel who became a man (Jehovah's Witnesses) or the brother of the devil (Mormonism). He is wholly God and wholly man, the Creator, the Redeemer. He is Jesus.

Jesus Only Movement

This is a movement in some Pentecostal circles. The biblical Trinity consists of three person simultaneously and eternally existing in one God. The Jesus Only Movement maintains that there is only one person in the Godhead: Jesus. It teaches that the person of the Father became the person of the Son who then became the person of the Holy Spirit and that the persons are consecutive not simultaneous. Additionally, the Movement believes that baptism is necessary for salvation and that tongues are evidence of true conversion.

Judgement

Condemnation. There are several judgements: the judgement of the believer's sins (John 5:24), the judgement of the believer's self (1 Corinthians 11:31,32), the judegment of the believer's works (2 Corinthians 5:10), the judegment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), and the judgement of the wicked (Revelation 20:11-15). There is no judgement for the Christian in respect to salvation (Romans 8:1). We were judged in Christ on the cross 2000 years ago. However, as Christians we will be judged according to our works (2 Corinthians 5:10) with, most probably, varying degrees of rewards. But, remember, the judgment of our works does not affect our salvation.

Just, Justice

The due reward or punishment for an act. Justice is getting what is deserved. God is merciful but He is also just (Deuteronomy 32:4 - righteous) and must punish sin. In the grace of God, justice fell upon His Son so that mercy would fall upon us. (See also Proverbs 8:15; Genesis 18:19; Hebrews 10:38).

Justify, Justification

To be justified is to be made righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is "declared" sinless. This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, "...having now been justified by His blood..." (Romans 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and "sees" him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost for it required the satisfaction of God's Law, "...without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). By the sacrifice of Jesus, in the "one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men" (Romans 5:18, NASB). In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself--Jesus. We receive mercy--we are not judged according to our sins. And, grace is shed upon us--we receive eternal life. This justification is a gift of grace (Romans 3:24), by faith (Romans 3:28) because Jesus bore our guilt (Isaiah 53:12).