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What does it mean to be saved? Is it the same as being born again?


These two terms are used interchangeably in the New Testament. The simple answer is that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ saves us from sin and death and restores us to a right relationship with God. The Old Testament prophet Joel wrote, “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). Peter echoed this, word for word, on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus told His followers, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 10:9). 


Saved from what? From a life and an eternity apart from God. Apart from God we are all slaves to our selfish, sinful human nature (Romans 3:23). In our own strength we are completely unable to break free from the chains of sin, no matter how hard we try. The result of this slavery is death (Romans 6:23, James 1:15), but God’s intention is to save us from sin. 


Jesus used the term “born again” in a conversation with Nicodemus when he said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). After some back and forth with Nicodemus, Jesus expanded on this by saying, “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:6-7) Several years later, Peter wrote, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). John said it this way, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13). When you are set free from sin, the feeling is as if you have been born again.