I’ve been thinking about churchy words that we use without thinking because we grew up with them. Partake, communion, sanctified, atonement, grace, gospel, repentance, and even salvation. So what is salvation? People have to wonder what we mean by saved by the blood of Jesus, though to us it’s perfectly clear.
I’m especially aware of it when I take an unchurched friend with me on Sunday mornings. Even on Wednesday evenings some of those words creep in when Steve is trying to use ordinary, everyday language.
Recently one asked me what gospel means. I said it means “good news.” “Then why doesn’t it say ‘good news’?” she asked. Good point. Just as why was baptizo changed to baptize instead of just saying immerse?
But after hearing a recent recording by Ravi Zacharias when he talked about redemption, I believe that’s a much more understandable word than salvation.
Even though redeem can be a churchy word, it’s also a word in common parlance. We may need to redeem a voucher, or a coupon, or a lottery ticket. So when we talk to people about Jesus, can we talk about how he took our place for all the bad things we’ve done? Can we say he was the voucher that was redeemed for us? Can we say that redemption is such a relief because it is awful to be responsible for all the bad things we’ve ever done?
Titus 2:14: “…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”
I’m not sure. But it seems to me that what we all seek is redemption. Salvation, yes. We need to be saved. But I like the concept of being redeemed. I just need to figure out how to apply that to conversations with unbelievers.
What are other churchy words that are hard for the unchurched to understand?
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