Three Tenses of Salvation (part 3)

An Outline to Study and Share

Salvation: past, present and future


3. The future tense: Believers in Jesus will be saved!

“And do this [love one another], knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now our salvation [from the presence of sin] is nearer than when we first believed [when we were saved from sin’s penalty]. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:11,12).

A. Believers will eventually be saved from the presence of sin at death and –those who remain– at Christ’s second coming.

“And the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever'” (Rev. 11:15).

B. Finally, the believer’s body will be saved from corruption (at death) through glorification.

“For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now [since the Fall, Gen. ch. 3]. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:22,23).

C. Each aspect of salvation is based on the finished work of Christ on the Cross.

“And as it is appointed for men once to die, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from [atoning for] sin, for salvation [final deliverance of the redeemed, Heb. 9:27,28].

D. Future salvation is assured through Christ’s resurrection.

“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [died]. For as in Adam all [in Adam] die, even so in Christ shall all [in Christ] be made alive… And as we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man… Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?’But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:20,22,49,51-55,57).

E. Salvation from sin’s presence is by God’s grace.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep a clear head, and set your hope completely on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Pet. 1:13 I.S.V.)

F. Salvation is by faith from first to last.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first, and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” (Rom. 1:16,17).

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (future, 1 Pet. 1:3-5).

G. Faith in future salvation rests on God’s infallible Word.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20,21).

H. Hope anticipates the future aspect of salvation.

Notice the three tenses of salvation in this passage: “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God [past]… Beloved, now are we children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be: but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him [future]; for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself [present], just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).

The implication: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:3a).

The invitation:

“At that time you will say,
‘Look! God is my Savior.
I am confident and unafraid,
because the LORD is my strength and my song.
He is my Savior.’
With joy you will draw water
from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12;1a,2,3a GW).

May you be encouraged by the fullness of God’s salvation in Christ and rest in this past, present and future promise: “I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]” (Phil 1:6 Amplified).

Part 3 of 3. Italics in Biblical quotes added for emphasis. Content in parentheses added (except in the concluding quotation; parentheses are included in the Amplified Bible translation)

Part 1.  Part 2

Feel free to use these three lessons in mentoring and small group study. Copyright 2011 by John B. Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article in its entirety for non-commercial use with credit given. Biblical quotations are from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. ISV= International Standard Version; GW=God’s Word


Posted in