Pastor Tim Stevens from Indiana told The Christian Post that he is bothered by words in the Bible like “saved” and “born again.” He thinks these words get in the way of us reaching unbelievers in our world today. I get it. Lost people don’t use Bible words in their everyday life. But guess what? The Holy Spirit chose these very words to describe people who have been converted by His miracle working power. Spiritual conversion happens instantaneously. It is not a process. It happened in an instant for every believer and it may or may not have involved praying a specific prayer.
We must preserve these very words because they have been given to us in God’s inspired and inerrant text. These words are His words. Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) It is a beautiful thing to describe to an unbeliever how your spirit comes alive when you are born again through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Our Lord knew what he was doing when he used these very words. Being born only one time isn’t enough to get into the kingdom of God.
Justification is not a process in the life of a Christian. It is a past event. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1) When the Holy Spirit convicts people of sin the way He convicted the jailer in Acts 16, we have the privilege to announce the good news as we proclaim the very words used by Paul and Silas: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) In other words, you will be justified before God. After this conversion takes place, God now looks at me “just if I’d” never sinned.
These words that describe the new birth are essential because they communicate something that man cannot produce for himself. You cannot cause yourself to be born, or to be born again. To be “saved” means among other things that you didn’t do the saving. These words also help us to keep our theology in the right order; first conversion, and then Christian living. If we blur these two miracles of God’s grace, we move away from Christianity. It is like putting the left contact in the right eye. It wasn’t designed to work that way. The words “saved” and “born again” must be preserved so that we do not blur the miraculous act of conversion with the lifelong journey of Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit did not blur these specific words or their meaning when He gave them to us. Who are we to toss aside the precious words He graciously chose to give us?