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Saved in Three Tenses… 1 - 2 - 3

“ YOU “

—Have been saved,

are being saved,

shall be saved.

If --

You have accepted MESSIAH ( YESHUA / JESUS ),

If you are genuinely seeking truth as you wrestle with the question of who Jesus is, God will reveal it to you.

The first four books of the New Covenant (New Testament) Scriptures offer a compelling look at the life and ministry of Yeshua. He came to bring each one of us into a restored, loving, forever relationship with God.

Each one of us has done wrong against a perfect, holy God and against other people. This wrongdoing is what the Bible calls sin.

For sin’s payment is death, but God’s gracious gift is eternal life in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

⎯Romans 6:23 TLV

In perfect love, Yeshua came to restore your broken relationship with God. You simply receive what He’s done for you.

Romans 10:13

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Maybe you’ve never prayed before, but would like to begin a new life as a follower of Jesus. Here are some helpful passages you can use to help you pray if you’d like to receive God’s forgiveness through Jesus and start a new life following Him:

Affirm your need, and ask God’s forgiveness:

As it is written, “There is no one righteous—no, not one”.... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

⎯Romans 3:10, 23 TLV

God, I admit that I have sinned. I fall far short of the righteousness I need to be in relationship with You. I need Your forgiveness.

Express your belief in Yeshua. Even if you don’t have all the answers, let Him know you want to know Him, and need His salvation from sin and its consequences.

This lesson may seem to be a statement of the obvious. However what is obvious to some is not obvious to others.

The Scriptures speak of being saved in three tenses and senses. In one place the scriptures say that we "have been saved" (past). In another place they say that we "are being saved" (present). In yet another place they say that we "shall be saved" (future).

All these statements are true. An understanding of how we are saved in three senses and tenses, helps to avoid wrong ideas about salvation, whilst helping us gain a true assurance of salvation.

1 We Have Been Saved (2Timothy 1:9)

Our Past Salvation

There is a sense in which God has already saved each and every Christian. In this sense salvation is equated with the forgiveness of sins.

  • Ananias said to Paul, "Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins"(Acts 22:16). So Paul, as soon as he obeyed, had his sins washed away.He was saved.

  • Paul said to the Corinthians, "You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified..." (1Corinthians 6:11) They were saved.

  • Paul says of God our Saviour, "he saved us..." (Titus 3:4-5). That's past tense, isn't it?.

  • A little earlier there in Titus, Paul says, "The grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men" (Titus 2:11)

2 We Are Being Saved (1Corinthians 1:18)

Our Present Salvation

There is a sense in which God is still saving each and every Christian. In this sense salvation is equated with the Christian's growth and perseverance.

  • Paul spoke to the Corinthians of "those who are being saved"(2Corinthians 2:15). Here we do not have past tense. We have the word "saved" used in a present and ongoing sense.

  • Paul tells the Philippians, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you..." (Philippians 2:12-13). Here we see salvation presented as something being worked for by us in synergy with God. It is not all over and done with.

  • Note the implication of this question, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:1-3).

  • Another telling statement, "be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure..." (2Peter 1:10)

  • John says that "the blood of Christ cleanses us..." (1John 1:7). Past sins were forgiven when we became Christians, but further sins since then need to be forgiven too. Forgiveness and salvation continue as we walk in the light.

3 We Shall Be Saved (Romans 5:9-10)

Our Promised Salvation

There is a sense in which salvation is a future event. In this sense salvation is equated with the second coming of Christ.

  • Jesus said, "these (wicked) shall go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). This is a future event.

  • As we saw at the introduction to this lesson, Paul twice says, "We shall be saved..." (Romans 5:9-10). This is neither past nor present, but future, isn't it?

  • Paul makes an interesting statement, "Our salvation is now nearer than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11).

  • The Holy Spirit is given "as a guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession..." (Ephesians 1:14). Here redemption and the eternal inheritance is something in view, something yet future.

  • Paul speaks of "the hope of salvation" (1Thessalonians 5:8). A hope of salvation implies a future salvation. If our salvation were altogether finished, then we would have no need any more to hold it as our hope.

The Three Tenses of Salvation

As believers, we use the word “salvation” so frequently, yet what does this word actually mean? Most think that salvation simply relates to how someone becomes a Christian. We probably think this way since we are living in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. The reformers spent most of their energy defending and explaining what one must do in order to become a Christian. However, the biblical and Pauline use of the term “salvation” is much broader. Salvation actually has at least three phases.

First, there is justification. “Justification” is a legal term. It relates to a forensic declaration of righteousness quite similar to a modern jury’s announcement of a not guilty verdict upon acquitting the accused. Justification is simply the heavenly announcement of our righteousness. What actually makes us righteous is the righteousness of Christ transferred to us the moment we trust Christ (Philip 3:9). Such a transfer is sometimes referred to as imputation. Martin Luther called this “The Great Exchange.” In other words, our unrighteousness is exchanged for Christ’s righteousness the moment we trust in Christ. Once this exchange occurs, in the heavenly court announcement is given that we are righteous and God no longer holds our sins against us. Imputation and justification are instantaneous, taking place at a moment in time.

Second, there is practical sanctification. Unlike justification which is instantaneous, sanctification is a process. This process involves the believer learning to draw upon the divine resources, such as the Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and Christ’s body or the church, so that our daily lives gradually become more and more Christ-like. Here, our daily conduct begins to catch up with our heavenly identity that is given to us at the point of justification. Practical sanctification is a process that we all experience until our dying day or the rapture of the church, whichever comes first. While we often make progress and even at times lapse backward in the area of practical sanctification, none of us ever “fully arrives” this side of eternity.

Third, there is glorification. Glorification takes place when we are finally liberated from our present bodies, which still have a capacity for sin. At the moment of death or the rapture, whichever comes first, we are freed from our potential to sin and ushered into the very presence of God (2 Cor 5:8; Philip 1:21-23). Another way of saying it is justification frees us from sin’s penalty, sanctification frees us from sin’s power, and glorification frees us from sin’s presence. Justification is the past tense of salvation (Eph 2:8-9; Titus 3:5), sanctification is the present tense of salvation (Philip 2:12), and glorification is the future tense of salvation (Rom 5:10b). In other words, I have been saved (justification), I am being saved (practical sanctification), and I will be saved (glorification).

What a wonderful salvation process that the Lord has us all on. So the next time we hear the word “salvation,” let us embrace the full dimensions and ramifications of this term, and consequently glorify God for all that He has done for us, is doing for us, and will do for us.

God, I realize that sin has eternal ramifications. Your Word says that Yeshua died to pay those consequences for me. I believe this, and I thank You so much for this amazing gift. I put my trust in You alone for my eternal salvation.

Confess with [ joy ] that you’ve made Yeshua the ruler of your life !

For if you confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

⎯Romans 10:9 TLV

If you just prayed this prayer of faith in Yeshua, you are a new child of God, forgiven and free! You have been made new, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares: “Therefore, if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.”

* TLV = the tree of life version of the bible.

(TLV) speaks with a decidedly Jewish-friendly voice. ( Sometimes we need that, don’t we? )

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