Being born again is an experience of unique importance. Unless you are born again, you cannot see or enter the kingdom of God. (See John 3:3–5.) But it is not a one-time experience; rather, salvation is an ongoing process. Part of salvation is being baptized. I don’t want to stir up controversy, but you can be born again without being baptized. If you want to be saved, however, baptism is a key part of the process, for “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).
Being saved means much more than just getting your soul ready for heaven. Someone once said, “The evangelical concept of salvation is to get souls prepackaged for heaven.” That may be so, to a degree, but salvation includes a lot more than being prepackaged for heaven.
I want to examine a passage from the New Testament in which the writer used the Greek word for “to save,” which is sozo. If we look at where this word appears in the Scriptures, it will give us an idea of what is included in salvation.
The book of Matthew speaks about Jesus’ ministry to the sick, saying, “They…brought to Him all who were sick….And as many as touched it [His garment] were made perfectly well [“whole” kjv]” (Matthew 14:35–36). The verb used for “well” or “whole” is sozo, but it is preceded by a Greek preposition that means “thoroughly.” To be “thoroughly saved” is to be perfectly healed. This passage is not talking solely about the condition of the soul; it is also talking about those who are sick. And as many as touched Jesus were totally saved. How total is our salvation?