Definition of Key Terms, Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #60)

The Bible says in Matthew 19:25-26: “When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from John MacArthur. He said: “Saving faith is not just believing that Jesus lived and died. Faith that saves is the confident, continuous confession of total dependence on, and trust in Jesus Christ to meet the requirements on your behalf to give you entrance into God’s Eternal Kingdom. It’s the surrender of your life in complete trust to Him to do what you cannot do.”

Our topic today is Definition of Key Terms (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Christians sometimes use words and phrases that are foreign to those who are not saved. As we close out the Understanding God’s Great Salvation podcast, we are going to look at what some of these words and phrases mean. If you are a new believer or thinking about becoming a believer, this will be very beneficial to you.

Grace. The unmerited favor of God in giving His Son and all the benefits that result from receiving Him.

Impute. To reckon or ascribe something to someone; e.g., God’s ascribing the righteousness of Christ to the believer.

Justification. To declare a person righteous. God does this for the believer because He has imputed the righteousness of Christ to that person. People justify others when they see their good works.

Lord. A superior. In the New Testament, it means sir, sovereign, master, God, owner, and husband.

Lordship salvation. The teaching that to be saved a person must not only trust Jesus as Savior but also as the Lord of his life, submitting (or at least being willing to submit) his life to His sovereign authority.

Perseverance. The belief that a believer cannot fall away from grace but will continue in good works to the end of life.

Predestination. God’s planning before time the destiny of His children to be conformed to the image of Christ.


The Verdict: Not Guilty, Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #48)

The Bible says in Romans 6:7: “For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Curtis Hutson. He said: “If turning from your sins means to stop sinning, then people can only be saved if they stop sinning. And it is unlikely that anyone has ever been saved, since we don’t know anyone who has ever stopped sinning.”

Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.


To be sure, justification is proved by personal purity. It does not come because of any reformation or commitment to change; but, once justified, we show this by changes in our lives. “He who has died is freed [literally, justified] from sin”. We stand acquitted from sin so that it no longer has dominion over us. Justification before the bar of God is demonstrated by changes in our lives here on earth before the bar of men.


This was the perspective of the apostle James when he wrote that we are justified by works. Unproductive faith is a spurious faith; therefore, what we are in Christ will be seen in what we are before men. Men cannot peer into the courtroom of heaven to observe the Judge rendering a verdict of “not guilty” in respect to the sinner who believes. But men are spectators in the courtroom of life here on earth. When they see changed lives, they can know that there has been a heavenly verdict; that is, justification. When they do not see changes, then they may question and doubt. Justification by faith is necessary in the court of heaven. Justification by works is the only thing people can observe in the court on earth.

James gives an example of nonworking faith in the case of someone who sees a fellow believer in need of food and does not help meet that need. Faith that is not moved to relieve the hungry man’s need is nonworking faith.

The Verdict: Not Guilty, Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #47)

The Bible says in Romans 3:21-23: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from A.C. Dixon. He said: “We need a quickening of faith; faith in the power of the God of Pentecost to convict and convert three thousand in a day. Faith, not in a process of culture by which we hope to train children into a state of salvation, but faith in the mighty God who can quicken a dead soul into life in a moment; faith in moral and spiritual revolution rather than evolution.”

Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.


If justification does not make us righteous, what does? Also, if we cannot make ourselves righteous enough to satisfy a holy God, what hope is there that anyone can ever be justified? Will God have to condemn all people? Can He lower His standards enough to let some into heaven? Or is there some way He can change the sinner into a truly righteous person so that He can truly announce it so? As mentioned earlier, it is the latter course of action that He takes.

And how does God do that? By joining us to Jesus Christ when we believe. And because, then, we are in Christ, we have His perfect righteousness imputed to us; that is, placed on our account, so that we are in reality righteous in God’s sight.

Impute is the key word. It means “to place to the account of.” Perhaps the best illustration of imputation is the story told in the book of Philemon. Onesimus, the slave who ran away from his master Philemon in Colosse, found Paul and received Christ in Rome. At that point, Paul asked Onesimus to return to his master, assuring Philemon in a letter he sent along with the former slave that “if he [Onesimus] has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account.” Likely this indicates that Onesimus had stolen property or money from Philemon when he ran away. In other words, Paul assured Philemon that he would pay whatever was necessary so that Onesimus need not be charged for anything he may have owed. Similarly, God imputes or puts on the believer’s account the righteousness of Christ, so that in His sight we are completely righteous and He can announce it as so.


The Verdict: Not Guilty, Part 1 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #46)

The Bible says in Romans 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from John R. Rice. He said: “When you get saved, you get saved not because you deserve it, but because you simply let God save you and because you confess your own poor sinful state and your inability to save yourself.”

Our topic today is titled The Verdict: Not Guilty (Part 1) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Justification is one of those important words in the Scriptures that is either seldom defined or poorly defined. It simply means “to announce the verdict ‘not guilty.’”


Justification does not make a person “not guilty”; it announces the fact that the individual is not guilty before God. Or to put the concept of “not guilty” positively, justification announces that the person is righteous before God. Again, it does not make the person righteous, but announces the fact that he is righteous.

As part of the Old Testament law for Israel, one of the provisions was this: “If there is a dispute between men and they go to court, … the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked.” The judges did not make the person righteous or wicked, nor could they. He was already righteous or wicked when he appeared before the judges. What they did was examine the case and pronounce the verdict. They did not change the person’s character or actions; they announced a verdict that they believed to be true and verified.

When King Solomon stood before his subjects at the dedication of his temple, part of his prayer was this: “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house, then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.”

Again it is quite clear that the person is righteous or wicked before the verdict is rendered. The verdict does not make him so; it announces what is so.

The courtroom, therefore, is the stage for the concept of justification. When the judge justifies the person standing before him, he announces that the person is not guilty of whatever the charge was. In the courtroom of God, He announces not only that the sinner who has believed in Jesus is not guilty, but that he is perfectly righteous before Him. Justification includes more than bare acquittal. The judge is not only saying that the one standing before him may go without penalty, but he also declares that as far as the law is concerned, the person is blameless and righteous.

It Is Not Easy to Believe, Part 3 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #45)

The Bible says in James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from Sadhu Sundar Singh. He said: “From time immemorial men have quenched their thirst with water without knowing anything about its chemical constituents. In like manner we do not need to be instructed in all the mysteries of doctrine, but we do need to receive the Living Water which Jesus Christ will give us and which alone can satisfy our souls.”

Our topic today is titled It Is Not Easy to Believe (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.


But is there not a kind of faith that does not save? Do not the demons exhibit such faith? In James 2:19 we are told that the demons believe and shudder. What is it that demons believe? The first part of the verse answers that question. They believe in one God. They are monotheists. And they shudder because they know that this God will someday judge them. They will not have the option of being judged by some other god who might overlook their sins, since there exists only one true God. James does not say what else they believe. In this verse, the only thing we are told is that they believe in one God. Thus this verse that is often quoted to show that some creatures can believe but not be saved is irrelevant to the issue of salvation, for it says only that demons are monotheists.

Nevertheless, it is true that some people can believe and not be saved. King Agrippa apparently believed the facts that confirmed that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Savior. But he refused to receive Jesus and His salvation.

What makes the difference between those who believe and are not saved and those who believe and are saved? Apparently those who believe and are not saved know the facts of the Gospel and may even give assent to its truthfulness, but they are unwilling to trust the Savior for their personal salvation. Knowledge and assent without being willing to trust cannot in themselves save.

It Is Not Easy to Believe, Part 2 (Understanding God’s Great Salvation #44)

The Bible says in Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Today’s God’s Great Salvation quote is from William Temple. He said: “The only thing of our very own which we contribute to our salvation is the sin which makes it necessary.

Our topic today is titled It Is Not Easy to Believe (Part 2) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Faith has an intellectual facet to it. The essential facts are that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. In addition, faith involves assent or agreement with those facts. One can know the facts of the Gospel and either agree or disagree with them. But faith also involves an act of the will, for we can decide either to obey or to reject God’s command to believe. And making whichever choice we do involves our will.

These three aspects of faith are quite standard in theology. For example, Charles Hodge summarized the meaning of faith that is connected with the Gospel this way: “That faith, therefore, which is connected with salvation includes knowledge, that is a perception of the truth and its qualities; assent, or the persuasion of the truth of the object of faith; and trust, or reliance. The exercise, or state of mind expressed by the word faith, as used in the Scriptures, is not mere assent, or mere trust; it is the intelligent perception, reception, and reliance on the truth, as revealed in the Gospel.”

Please observe the clear focus of Hodge’s definition. He is defining faith “which is connected with salvation.”