Somewhere I read that one reason the Military Services have trouble operating jointly is that they don’t speak the same language. For example, if you told Navy personnel to “secure a building,” they would turn off the lights and lock the doors. Army personnel would occupy the building so no one could enter. Marines would assault the building, capture it, and defend it with suppressive fire and close combat. The Air Force, on the other hand, would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy.
The language we use and how we understand that language is essential to understanding. The same word or phrase can mean something very different to different people. To understand something, we have to “get on the same page” when it comes to words. We have to mean the same thing when we use the same word.
This is true when it comes to Christian faith. Take a word like “salvation” and you will get a variety of understanding and definitions of what that word means – which also leads to misunderstanding.
To guard against this kind of misunderstanding, it is necessary to return to the original language of the New Testament, to see what the words meant in context. When we turn to the New Testament, we discover that because being Christian revealed a new life, it required a new vocabulary to express it. Some of the key words that are a part of our faith language were absolutely new inventions, others, were so charged with new meaning as to be equivalent to new words. There is a freshness and power of these words that give shape to our faith.
During the month of September, I will be preaching on “CHRISTIAN WORDS.”
We will look at what some of those key terms of our faith meant and mean:
September 9 – Sin
September 16 – Salvation
September 23 – Love
September 30 – Faith