Salvation, conversion, born again, and regenerated are all basically synonyms for what it means to become a Christian or to enter into a relationship with God. Let me give you a couple of lists to clarify what it is and what it is not.
What it is not…
1. Saved does not mean that you are now better than other people. Being saved is actually an admission that we are not good. It is an admission that we are so sinful that we needed someone to die on the cross for our sins. That is humbling. If you meet a person that is proud that they are saved they have missed the point.
2. Saved does not mean we are now perfect. Saved people still sin. The difference is that when we sin we repent and acknowledge that we have violated our relationship with HIM. We never make excuses or blame others. We own up, confess, receive grace, and move on.
3. Saved does not mean we have to go around pointing out how bad everyone else is. It almost seems like that when people get saved they gain some supernatural ability to criticize others. That is not what God has planned. Our goal is not to criticize the sins of others but to help them know Jesus and therefore leave their sins. We have it backwards… we try to get people to stop sinning before they have a relationship with Jesus. When in reality, our relationship with Jesus is the only thing that can make us stop sinning. Save people are against sin… but we are for Jesus.
4. Salvation is not something we earn, but something we receive freely by grace.
What it is…
1. Saved means a relationship with God based upon the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and we receive forgiveness by trusting in Him by faith.
2. It is an instantaneous act in which God forgives our sins, changes our hearts, fills us with His Spirit, and adopts us into His family.
3. It is something that lasts for eternity and is not dependant on our ability but His sacrifice!
4. It marks the beginning of a new life in Him in which we grow more and more like Jesus. Although we are saved immediately it takes a lifetime of growth to fully become all that God has planned for us.
To sum it up - saved means that we have the humble privilege of knowing Jesus personally, serving Him even though we are not perfect, and knowing that we will spend eternity with Him without fear of hell.
So, let me ask you the big question… Are you saved? Not religious, not better than other people, not self-righteous, but saved.