Willow Creek Association1997-09-10 - Three Tenses of Salvation

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (NKJV)

People are all the time asking me, "Hey David, when were you saved" or "Tell me about when your were saved." I always answer the same way, with all the seriousness I can muster, and tongue firmly in cheek, my reply is "I was saved two thousand years ago on an old rugged cross on a hill at Calvary."

That's when you were saved as well. Matter of fact, that's when ALL were saved, if they accept the free gift of salvation from our awesome God.

Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. (NKJV)

But, when I read 1 Corinthians 1:18 and saw "are being saved", I thought "whoaaa Paul, what are you talking about?" I thought I was saved. Not being saved. Then it hit me: I have been saved, I am being saved, and I shall be saved. That's what I want to look at today, these three tenses of salvation.

We have been saved from the penalty of sin. This is righteousness, which is a fancy way of saying, "made right with God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. It is the righteousness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that saved us, not our own righteousness.

We are being saved from the power of sin. This is sanctification, another five-dollar theological word that simply means "to be set apart," "to be made holy."

Romans 6:19: I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.

Being saved is the process we are all going through if we are believers in Christ Jesus. Hopefully everyday we become a little more like Christ. We become less and less powerless over sin, and more and more holy, but the frustration for us all is that we never overcome sin, we only progress toward less sin. Which leads us to the third and final tense of salvation.

We shall be saved. This is redemption. When we die as believers of Jesus, we are then redeemed, we are "cashed in," if you will. We are turned in to something new. We are given new and perfect bodies. We shall be saved from the presence of all sin. We will be in the presence of our Holy God. That is Heaven, being with God for eternity.

Mark 10:45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

Jesus is our ransom, He sets us free from sin. The ransom He paid with His life is the price paid for our eternal destiny. He and He alone liberates us from the misery and penalty of our sins.

So, we have a lot to look forward to in heaven -- total freedom from sin. But while we are here, let's strive to continue being saved, by continuing to grow in Christ.


Dear Father, I write this in total awe of you. In total gratitude for saving me two thousand years ago, in awe of the power of your Holy Spirit to continue saving me today, and filled with the joy and hope of your assurance that I will finally be saved and free from sin when I come home to heaven. Father, we praise you and thank you for your perfect plan for our lives. Help us Lord, to be pleasing to You and to bring Glory to Your Holy name. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

David