To truly grasp what Jesus did for us on the cross—and to be able to share the gospel effectively—it’s essential to have an accurate understanding of the terms we use to describe salvation.
Saved (Eph. 2:8). This is a synonym for rescued. Mankind needs rescuing because without Jesus, we are all destined for divine wrath, hell, and eternal separation from God.
Redeemed (Eph. 1:7). Redemption implies a transaction. Our salvation was purchased through the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood.
Justified (Rom. 5:1). When someone trusts in Christ, God pardons that person and removes his or her guilt. A saved individual is in right standing with the Lord.
Reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Salvation results in a relationship with God. We were once separated from Him, but now we are His sons and daughters, and He calls us His friends (John 15:15).
Using words like redemption, justification, and reconciliation might not be effective when presenting the gospel to someone unfamiliar with the language often used in church. However, it’s important for us to understand what the Bible teaches about salvation, and these terms give us a framework for explaining the good news to others.
We must recognize that we are not saved by our personal works or performance. Salvation is ours by God’s grace—His unmerited, undeserved, loving favor toward us—and at the cost of Jesus’ own blood. Let us not take for granted how God has rescued us: by sending His Son to die in our place.