Some words in the Bible carry a detailed theological meaning that is deeper, or different, than the way we us it in normal conversation. You might not find the spiritual significance of the word by looking it up in a standard English dictionary. As a result, you might miss the richer meaning of some passages. In today’s study we’ll take a look at three words that have spiritual definitions that go beyond our normal use of the words.
Example 1: Grace
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
In day to day conversation the word grace usually means something like one of these definitions from The Encarta Dictionary:
“Elegance, beauty, and smoothness of form or movement”
“Dignified, polite, and decent behavior”
But grace has a theological meaning that goes beyond our normal conversational use of the word. The first passage in this section told us that God graciously allows us to be saved by faith. One way to find the full meaning of a theologically loaded word like grace is to do a word study. By finding and reading each instance of the word you are studying, you’ll get a clearer and more complete picture of its meaning. Here are a few more of the 170 Scripture passages that reveal the depths of God’s grace:
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2Ti 1:9)
God’s grace was not some slapped together, last minute reaction to our sin, but was part of God’s plan even before the world was created.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb 2:9)
God graciously allowed His Son, Jesus, to experience death for all of us.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)
God grace not only saves us, but it helps us in our times of need.
Example 2: Justified
“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Tit. 3:7)
This is another one of those words that is used differently in our normal conversations than it is in the Bible. When we use the word justify, we usually mean:
“To give somebody an acceptable reason for taking a particular action.” (Encarta Dictionary)
According to Titus 3:7, we don’t justify ourselves; God justifies us. And He doesn’t do it by offering excuses for our sins. Here are some other verses that tell us more about what it means to be justified:
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Gal 2:16)
The Old Testament Law doesn’t justify sinners. It can only show us our sinfulness and point us to the Savior (Gal 3:11). Only faith in Christ can justify us in God’s sight.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Co 6:9-11)
Trying to keep God’s Law doesn’t justify us, but, thank God, we can be justified even if we break God’s Law. Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be forgiven, made right with God, and so completely cleansed that it is as if we had not sinned!
Example 3: Redeemed
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Gal 3:13)
All around the U.S., there are places called redemption centers. People take their cans and bottles there so the redemption center can buy back those empty, used up containers. That’s actually a pretty good picture of our redemption, except for the price that was paid.
“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)” (Psa 49:7-8)
A soul is worth more than all the material goods in the world (Mat. 16:26). No man has enough money to pay for his brother’s sins and satisfy the just demands of a Holy God.
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1Pe 1:18-19)
So it took more than silver and gold to redeem us. Our redemption cost the life blood of Jesus Christ. Thank God He was willing to pay that price!
Points to Ponder
- I can’t talk to you about grace, redemption and justification without asking you if you have experienced these things? Are they ideas on a page, or realities in your life? If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, do it today. If you need help, or have question, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you are saved, do you have a deep understanding of these important ideas? Are you thankful for them?
Read More About It
Why not take a little extra time today and begin a word study on one of the important words we studied. You can search through eSword for each place the word shows up in the Bible. You could also use a Strong’s Concordance, or a topical Bible like Nave’s or Thompson’s.