Common Usage: “I just got saved!”; “Are you saved?”; “Everyone needs to be saved!”
What it means: This is one that you hear in lots of churches lots of times without lots of explanation. The “plan of salvation” itself is often laid out in sermons and such, but usually when someone throws in the word ‘saved’ or even the term ‘plan of salvation,’ they do so without much context. I have even known people (including myself once) who ask complete strangers if they’re saved. How are they supposed to know? Saved from what? They certainly felt safe until this weird person walked up and started asking them nonsensical questions!
Actually, the word saved makes a lot of sense.
And, it’s kinda sorta used in the Bible too.
Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” There it is in black and white: saved! So what is this verse talking about? Well, if we look back over the previous verses, we can first get some idea of what’s going on. Peter was doing the talking here and he was doing this talking to the Jewish big wigs in Jerusalem who were asking “By what power or by what name have you done this [performed miracles]?” Peter answered with gusto that it was through “Jesus Christ of Nazareth” that he had performed that miracle, and then he went on to spout the above proclamation – that through Jesus we must be saved.
So, saved from what?
Well, Jesus in Matthew 13 said that at “the end of the age,” “the angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” In Mark 9, He described Hell as the place where “the fire shall never be quenched”. Revelation calls it a “lake of fire”. It is a place where people will be forever separated from God and a place of (very literally) eternal punishment.
That is what we desperately need saved from.
Why are we even in danger?
Because we, as sinners, have been hatefully rebellious toward God. We have chosen not to follow Him and so we have completely, irrevocably marred ourselves. On our own, we have no hope to fix it because we can never get back to the perfection we need to be right with God. (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23)
That’s why we need Jesus to save us and bridge the way for that right relationship. 1 Peter 2:24 says, Jesus “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” He is perfect and chose to save us from our utter hopelessness out of pure love.
Putting all of those pieces together tells us that, in short, “being saved” means we have accepted the gift Jesus offers us of right standing with God and salvation from eternal punishment through Him.
Why we use it: Hmm.. This one doesn’t hugely have a separate explanation. See above.