The front of the Christian Church of Charleston Four Corners’ building Getting ready for the service to start

Where Jesus alone
is exalted!

Drawings by Robby Rivenburg


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WHAT DO THE WORDS “SAVED” AND “BORN–AGAIN” MEAN?



In John chapter 3 (of the Bible), we read about a conversation Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a very religious man—in fact, he was a respected religous leader in his day1. And yet, Jesus told this religious leader that he needed to be “born–again” if he wanted to see the Kingdom of God2.

When Nicodemus questioned what Jesus meant, Jesus explained that just as we were born physically on the day of our birth, each of us needs to be born spiritually into God’s family. He went on to clarify that we are born spiritually into God’s family by believing in Jesus3. In 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, we read exactly what we must believe about Jesus to be born–again: “...that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”(1 Corinthians 15:3–4 NKJV™)

The word “saved” is basically the flip side of the “born–again” coin. While the phrase “born–again” speaks of our need to be born into God’s family, the word “saved” emphasizes our need to be rescued from our sin and the fires of hell. The Bible clearly teaches that at our physical birth, all of us were born as sinners. In Romans 3:23 we read, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”4

In Romans 6:23 we are told that the “wages of sin” (or payment we must pay because of our sinful condition) “is death.”5 God’s Word makes it clear that the death spoken of in Romans 6:23 is not just physical death. “And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”.6

Since God is holy (without sin) and just, each one of us will one day stand before Him and be held accountable for the sin in our life. Unless we have found a way, prior to that day, to have our sin–debt paid in full, God will be obligated by His just character to pronounce us guilty and cast us into the lake of fire, where we will spend the rest of eternity paying the penalty for our sin. That is the bad news.

The good (no, GREAT) news is that God is not only holy and just, but also loving and kind and does not desire to send anyone to hell. This is where Jesus’ death on the cross comes into play. When Jesus, who had lived a perfect life, was hanging on the cross, the sins of the entire world were placed upon Him. 1 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that Jesus actually became sin for us. He voluntarily suffered a cruel and agonizing death (the kind of death the worst criminal deserves) and shed His divine and holy blood, thus paying in full the sin–debt that we owe.

By His substitutionary sacrifice, He made it possible for us to be saved from both our sin and the sentence of our sin: eternal separation from God in the lake of fire. When we recognize that there is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn salvation or pay the penalty for our sin and decide to place all of our trust in what Jesus has already done on our behalf, the Bible says that we are saved.

Therefore, in order to be saved and born–again you must:

  1. Realize that you are a sinner7 and that your sin has created a barrier between you and God8 that cannot be overcome through any effort of your own9.
  2. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross, taking all of your sin upon Himself10 and paying in full the penalty for your sin; thereby destroying the barrier of sin and allowing you to enter into a personal relationship with God.
  3. Believe that Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day (just as He said He would) and accept the free gift of eternal life that God is offering you11.
  4. Confess with your mouth (tell others) that you believe that Jesus is the Son of God12 and that it is only through His death, burial and resurrection that your sins have been washed away.13

When you are born–again through faith in Jesus Christ, you become a child of God14 and are eternally saved from the penalty of your sin.15


1 John 3:10
2 John 3:3
3 John 3:16
4 Romans 3:23
5 Romans 6:23
6 Revelation 20:13–15
7 Romans 3:23
8 Isaiah 59:2
9 Titus 3:5
10 2 Corinthians 5:21
11 John 3:16, Romans 6:23
12 1 John 4:15
13 Romans 10:9–10
14 Romans 8:14–17
15 Romans 10:13