You have heard several stories about learning a new language the last few weeks. These stories are likely feeling a bit redundant, but bear with me for a quick personal anecdote on language learning.
Our family spent a year in intense language study in France from August 2006 to August 2007. The first couple weeks of class we learned greetings and vocabulary. I quickly learned to say, “Hi, my name is Lauren. I like to eat. I do not like to run. The sky is blue.” While I knew that starting small was necessary in order to develop a foundation for this new language, I had very little interest in spending days on end being taught colors or simple verbs like “eating” or “running.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the process; it was that I had a deep sense of urgency for needing to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible. I was 7.5 months pregnant with our second son. In 6 weeks I would be giving birth in a foreign country, in an unfamiliar hospital, with a midwife I had never met, and in a language I didn’t yet know. At that moment, learning colors and names for foods I didn’t even like was not on my list of priorities. I needed to know how to ask questions and how to recount my medical history.
I was learning French, but not the French that was applicable to my situation. When I went to the hospital to give birth to our second son, I would need French words and French sentence structure that fit the situation. I had all the English vocabulary, but that wasn’t going to help me. I desperately needed to replace the familiar English words with French words in order to be able to communicate in what could possibly be a literal life or death situation.
In a very similar sense, we experience this situation as Christians. We know the vocabulary of the world. It comes very naturally to us. But if we are going to face the day-to-day temptations of the world, then we need to replace our worldly vocabulary with vocabulary of Scripture. We can’t do that unless we know what the Word of God says. We can throw around Christian words like “salvation” and “righteousness” and “justification,” but if we don’t know the deep meaning of those words, then they are just as useful to us as my walking into a French hospital in labor saying, “Hi, my name is Lauren. I do not like to run.”
With the same sense of urgency I felt during those first several weeks of language study, let’s dig into what it means to be saved and how that changes the way we see everything about our lives. Better understanding the gift of Good Friday and Easter will help us continue the celebration beyond one weekend in March or April.
Read the following passages of Scripture. Take them each to heart in a new way. Be reminded of why we need to be saved:
Romans 3:23-25a (NIV) - “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—”
Romans 6:23 (ESV) - “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
John 14:6 (ESV) - “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
John 1:12-13 (ESV) - “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Galatians 5:1 (ESV) - “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Titus 3:3 (ESV) - “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
After reading those verses, what words or phrases stand out to you the most? Reflect on those words/phrases.
Work on committing Romans 3:22-25 to memory this week. Write it down on a note card and put it somewhere where you will see it throughout the week.
To learn the language of our faith, we have to replace the ways/thoughts of the world with the ways/thoughts of God’s Word. Let’s do that together this week by memorizing a small portion of His Word.