A Student’s Point of View: Theological Terms
Below is a compilation of one of my student’s reflections on the theological definitions she learned in Bible school. As you study the definitions in this course of study, refer to these reflections to add another point of view. They will help you understand the definitions. (Provided by Tarra Connell (Student of Dr. Abramson))
Dr. Bob Abramson
My life wasn’t my own; I was enslaved by my sin. I was like an animal chained and caged with no freedom anywhere in sight. Sitting on a hill, my rusty, locked cage sat. Sealed shut by my evil master. I had earned my imprisonment from the start, my release was nowhere in sight. I had no ability to obtain liberation from that cage. As I stood longing for deliverance, a Man ascended the hill. He told me He bought my freedom. Paid my ransom and my chains were broken, my cage door was opened. He was my new Master.
Justification is like an episode of Matlock (a TV program). I’m the desperate defendant who’s depending on the legal miracle worker for release. The courtroom’s packed, the Judge is positioned high above on His bench. The charges are leveled against me. I have committed my crime and Matlock is my only hope of being cleared. There’s a long table filled with evidence, exhibits of my guilt to the side of the courtroom. In my guilt the stage is set for Matlock to work his wonder. To get me freed for a wrong I have no right to be cleared of. Just as the gavel begins to fall and my imprisonment is about to become my reality, Matlock storms the bench with something. It’s a piece of evidence called Jesus. This exhibit overturns the table of my guilt and clears me before the Judge.
It’s a process of stepping up into God’s potter’s wheel. Being shaped more and more into what He has called me to be. Allowing Him to trim off the bits of me that don’t please Him. It’s being willing to seek His hand of formation more than my comfort. It’s realizing that He has a beautiful masterpiece in mind and seeing His potential within my every layer. It’s allowing Him to set me aside. Giving Him permission to store me wherever He chooses. To place me with whoever He wishes. It’s surrendering my will to His creative Holiness. It’s casting off evil to be forged in His image bit by bit.
A Father and son came to be at odds. The son was pure evil and there was no way they could occupy the same town. The child went off, a rule breaker through and through. The Father loved His son so much that He sacrificed His own comfort and went out to find the fugitive. He left His mansion, a home of comfort and purity to lift the son out of His doomed existence. He cared so much for their relationship, He settled things so they could be compatible and live together again. As He called out to the Son, the boy turned and looked back. He dropped his baggage and ran to his Daddy. In their embrace, the past was gone and they were once again friends.
I was a tree. Speckled leaves and wilted branches. Blight had disfigured me. Crinkled leaves dropping. Dehydrated remnants of flowing life. Canker rot gnarled and twisted my branches. My infection had made me lifeless. Not a fruit to be found. No seed in sight. I was a shell of my design. But the Sun sent itself on my behalf. Cut through the darkness. Caused the clouds to sprinkle their cleansing onto my trunk. At once all remnants of disease were gone. My branches were regrown with purpose. My leaves reborn thick with life. Buds and fruits started to form. I had been imparted again with my purpose.
Walking into work Monday morning I discovered the doctor’s office door had been violated. Instead of a pristine white, the door now was canvas to a multicolored array of scribbles, guilt, shame, sickness, lawbreaker all scrawled across its face. I was going to have to pay for this. Any reason for punishment at the office was celebrated. Just as I started to wallow in my isolated despair, the shadow of a Man entered my office. Said He heard I was in need. Because of my cry He was going remove my stains. One swipe of His hand and the door was wiped clean. Restored, yet with an added brilliance. My day was spared.
Sin. A three-letter word that holds so much power. Something we have all done. Something like a disease that left untreated will keep us separated from God. If we break it down sin is anything we think, say or do against God’s holy rules. We all have a natural instinct and desire to sin. The bigger picture of this three-letter word is that sin is the reason Jesus was born and why He had to take my place. Each lash He received was because of my sin. Each verbal taunt He endured was for my sin. My sin became the nails that fastened Him to the cross. I placed Him there but yet He stayed for me. His blood was shed to make payment for my sin. My sin caused me to become the Prodigal daughter. I wandered away and out of site of God. Yet while I was living riotously, God was still looking out over the horizon. Still waiting for the day when I would become broken and return back to Him. Make a turn and get back on the right path back to His house. I have really been thinking about the cost of my sin. Thinking about how Jesus paid the price but yet I still do it. That the Word says that once I accept Jesus’ payment for my sin that God casts it as far as the east is from the west. It’s hard to wrap my head around it. Hard not to feel condemned sometimes in and by my sin. Sometimes it seems so easy to fall into a cycle of sin. Where my sin causes me to feel condemned and I slip into another facet of sin. I have been praying that I continue to have a revelation of what God did for me on the cross. How my sins were washed away. The amazing thing is that when I stay focused on the love of the cross and the love of God there is a strength that builds up not to sin. I am so thankful for how far God has brought me and how He is walking with me as I continue to mold more and more into His likeness and into the person He originally made me to be. Sin is a powerful word, but Jesus is the most powerful word in all of creation!
Grace to me is like a blanket from God. It’s like when I think about being a kid and carrying around my security blanket. When I was cold it kept me warm in all of its fuzziness. When I was scared it came up and covered me. When I was curious it came along to investigate and seemed to have special super powers of security and protection. All of these things reminded me of my parents love. That even when I wasn’t with them, their presence, protection and love where right by my side. God’s grace is like a blanket of favor, security, power and protection that goes with me everywhere.
Propitiation for me is rooted at the foot of the cross. There I sit a humbled sinner. I am crouched at the feet of Jesus realizing that my sins have nailed him there. My very existence are the beams where He became a curse for me. My sin has created a chasm between me and a Holy God. My sin has boxed me off from the plan and purpose that God packed me with. My sin has offended God, it has hurt God, it has angered God. But in His mercy God sent Jesus so that I would be not only cleansed by God of my sin but also be restored to a place of favor. Like the Prodigal He would remove the dirty garment of my sin with a fine robe of a new life in Christ. In this process Jesus would remove my stains but would also be a fire extinguisher to my deserved wrath of God. He not only made me clean but He place a crown of favor on me in the process. All at the cost of His life, of His blood, of His will. I can’t even put words on the wholeness of it. I can’t even put words to the grief I feel at having put Him in that position to take the wrath I deserved. I can’t even comprehend that He willingly went there for me, it wasn’t a struggle. He wasn’t forced. He chose it for my sake. I can’t even thank Him enough for not only making me clean but for giving me favor as a child of God. It is so overwhelming in every respect. It totally takes my words away. I am overwhelmed by His mercy, overtaken by His love for me, amazed by the strength He had in my place. As I am at the cross I weep as I realize what my King did for me. So thankful.
I’m a traveler. Walking the established path of my life. I’m carrying my will, my plans, and my emotions as my baggage. Wheeling the cart of my desires behind me. Always knowing that I need to stay on the path marked out to reach my goal. As quickly as the wind blows, my heavy load urges me to wander off the trail. I know the best way to get there, the most pleasurable track to wheel the belongings of my free will onto. The track I’m supposed to be on seems narrow and boring. It isn’t as smooth as I would like it to be. I break the confines of the true path. As I move off course, something calls me back. I stand for a moment in uncertain deliberation. At once I decide to correct my trip and go back. As I continue forward the side trails call again but I have decided to turn away from my path rebellion. I know The Way.
Rebellion is me age 4. We are at he grocery store and I have just left with my little quarter machine treasure. I am walking out next to my Mom. She spots someone she knows and they start to chit chat. I decide I’m ready to get home. She tells me to wait with her. I know exactly and specifically what she wants me to do. I decide that I know best and turn directly away from what she instructed me to do. I look at her talking and make a conscious decision to walk towards the car. As I take a step out into the parking lot, an oncoming adult knocks me over. I am separated from my Mom and in pain. The worst part is that my decision could have caused something much worse. What if the person was a car?
To me the word covenant means a contract between me and God signed in the blood of Jesus. It’s a draft outlining the relationship I have with God by believing that Jesus was my savior. It’s meeting at the negotiation table. Laying my sins on the table and His goodness to cover them up. The moment I believe it becomes a guarantee of my freedom, my blessing, my protection, my healing, my redemption, my sanctification and so much more. It’s like a written permission note for the Holy Spirit to come be my comforter and guide. It’s a sign-off where I authorize relinquishment of myself. Through the signature of His Son’s life I am sealed as my Father’s.
Being born again is turning your life over to Jesus. It’s pulling up the table to celebrate. Laying down your own desires, your own agendas, your own will over your life. Placing them down next to a beautifully decorated cake. Jesus lights the candles as you celebrate the day He picked up everything you discarded and wrapped your life in bright paper and bows. It’s realizing that once you accept Him, your life has an eternity to celebrate. It’s a chance to let your life be wrapped in new meaning, new purpose, new hope, new significance through believing in Him. Believing that He sacrificed His life for your celebration.
Total darkness, arms bound and shackled to a chair. Gun pointed to my head. My accuser taunts me with an invoice of my outrageous debt. My life is the payment due and preparations are being made to collect. My debt is greater than anything I could ever pay back. Goes back more generations than anyone can count. Seems all hope is lost and my life is in the negative. Just before the trigger clicks, someone enters with authority. He says he has come to be my substitute, to settle my account for good. He takes a seat and makes payment for me by laying down His life.