I got to thinking about the theology class I took near the beginning of my program at Talbot, and the piles of terminology we studied. So, for informational purposes, I post here a list of the terms in short definitions discussed in Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology ("Glossary" by Jeff Purswell, pp. 1235-1257):
- Adoption: "An act of God whereby he makes us members of his family."
- Conversion: "Our willing response to the gospel call, in which we sincerely repent of sins and place our trust in Christ for salvation."
- Glorification: "The final step in the application of redemption."
- Justification: "An instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ's righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight."
- Propitiation: "A sacrifice that bears God's wrath to the end and in so doing changes God's wrath toward us into favor."
- Reconciliation: "The removal of enmity and the restoration of fellowship between two parties."
- Redemption: "Christ's saving work viewed as an act of 'buying back' sinners out of their bondage to sin and to Satan through the payment of a ransom..."
- Regeneration: "A secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us."
- Sanctification: "A progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ in our actual lives."
Granted, these are terms from a systematic theology with a particular perspective and not directly from scripture. But what is clear, nonetheless, is the broad and rich vocabulary needed to explain what is doing.
One thing that is worth noting: the term 'salvation' is not in Grudem's glossary. Certainly the term 'salvation' is used in scripture. In fact, the Greek term normally translated 'salvation' (sozo) is used 471 times in the LXX and NT--that's a ton. 'Salvation' is obviously an important term and we must not neglect it or change its meaning or exchange it for one we prefer. But if this is the only term we use to talk about what God is doing, then we have made his eternal work to be shallow and small.
We dare not shortchange the richness and breadth of God's eternal work.