Defining Religion


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E

Exegesis

the act of explaining or interpreting. Biblical exegesis involves the study of a section of Scripture by examining the vocabulary and grammar of the section in the original language and taking note of the immediate context of the passage, the general context and purpose of the particular book of the Bible in which the passage occurs, and the historical setting. By means of such study the exegete explains the meaning of the passage.

F

Faith

trust, confidence. The Bible offers this definition: "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). Saving faith is trust in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world.

Felicitous (or Happy) Inconsistency

A term used to indicate that a person's personal faith might sometimes be at variance with his public confession. For example, a person who teaches that his good works contribute to his salvation may in his heart (or on his death bed) trust solely in Jesus and not rely on his own works.

Flesh

the sinful nature or original sin that we inherit from our parents. This sinful nature remains with the Christian until he dies, warring against his new man and causing him to fall into sin (Romans 7:14-25).

Forgive

to pardon or not count a person's sins against him; when God forgives us he justifies us or declares us not guilty, he frees us from sin's guilt and punishment and "remembers our sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25).

Formula of Concord

A Lutheran confession written to settle a number of doctrinal controversies that rose within Lutheranism after the death of Luther. The two main authors of this confession were Jakob Andreae (1528-1590) and Martin Chemnitz (1522-1586) It was adopted by the majority of Lutherans in Germany in 1577 and was included among the Lutheran Confessions gathered in the Book of Concord of 1580.

Fornication

having sexual relations with a person other than one's spouse. Fornication is a sin against the sixth commandment and is condemned in the Bible with the strongest of terms (1 Corinthians 6:4-10). Jesus reveals that this sin begins in the heart with lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:27,28).

Free Will

the ability to choose. Since human beings are born spiritually dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), they do not have free will in spiritual matters. By nature they cannot choose to believe in Christ or do those doings which are pleasing to God (Romans 8:7-8). By nature human beings have free will to make choices in outward matters: what to eat, what to wear, to work, to marry, etc.

G

God

God is the Supreme Being who has revealed himself in Scripture as three distinct persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, yet only one divine Being. He created and preserves the universe, redeemed the world, and calls us to faith through the means of grace. He is almighty, all knowing, wise, holy, good, and gracious and cannot be confined by space or time.

Gospel

the good news that God sent his Son Jesus to take away the sins of the world or one of the first four books of the New Testament which recount the words, life, suffering, death, and resurrection of our Savior. The word gospel is sometimes used in a broad sense to include all the teachings of the Bible.

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