The Overflow

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The Three Tenses of Salvation

FaithCarrie-Grace McConkey2 Comments
 Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Recently, my mom and I have been working through an inductive study [1] of 1 Peter together. We just finished 1 Peter chapter 1, studying the themes of suffering and salvation. Today I thought I'd share some of the gems I've been learning about salvation.

We see the theme of salvation in several verses from chapter 1:

v. 5 - "...who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

v. 9 - "...obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls"

v. 10 - "Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched an inquired carefully,"

The Greek word for "salvation" is "soteria," and it means, "deliverance, preservation, safety, rescue." [2] Soteria comes from a root word for Savior meaning, "Savior, Deliverer, Preserver." [3]

Jesus is the Savior who gives us salvation.

What struck me while studying this word is how salvation not only saves us, but it also preserves us. There's so much security and assurance in that. God holds us fast through His power, and nothing can snatch us out of His hand. His love for us never fails.

 Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

After we studied the Greek words for salvation, we also learned about the three tenses of salvation. Perhaps you've heard of this concept:

"Your past salvation saves you from the penalty of sin. Your present salvation saves you from the power of sin. Your future salvation saves you from the presence of sin." [4]

Salvation is not just a gift we receive at conversion. It includes present protection and future glory as well.

Let's look at the three tenses of salvation, focusing on the different aspects of our past, present, and future salvation.

Past Salvation | saved from the penalty of sin

Perhaps this tense of salvation is the one with which we are most familiar. Ephesians 2 describes our state before Christ saved us: we were dead in sin, we were controlled by Satan, and we carried out our carnal desires.

However, Ephesians 2:4 contains two life-changing words.

"But God..."

Because God was so merciful and loving toward us, He made us alive with Christ, but He has given us so much more than life. He has forgiven and redeemed us, seating us with Christ in the heavenly places. We are now co-heirs with Christ, owning an inheritance stored up for us. And, God has given us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee that we will receive it one day.

 Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Last year I memorized the parable of the prodigal son. This young man rebelled against his father and ran away to a foreign land. But soon, famine struck, leaving him destitute. He threw himself upon a rich citizen who sent him to feed the pigs. In the Jewish culture, pigs were unclean animals, demonstrating in the story how this man sunk to the lowest possible depth of depravity.

Then he remembered the kindness of his father and returned home in repentance. His father came running to meet him, kissing him and embracing him. He gave him a robe (a share in the dignity of his father), a ring (authority to act on behalf of his father), and shoes (responsibility to act on behalf of his father, unlike a slave or hired man).

God is willing and eager to meet us with salvation. When we come to Him in repentance, He lavishes the riches of His grace upon us.

Present Salvation | saved from the power of sin

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

Jesus fulfilled the law (the power of sin), and conquered the sting of sin (death). Because we are believers, we share in Christ's victory over sin at the cross.

When Jesus left earth to go into heaven, He promised to give His followers a Helper. As soon as a person accepts Jesus as their Savior, they receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the One who enables us to live out a victorious Christian walk.

"If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Romans 8:11-13
 Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Because the Spirit dwells in us, we have the power to overcome the world, the deeds of the body. We have the power dwelling inside us that RAISED Jesus from the dead. God gives us all the resources we need for victory. The Spirit speaks to us through Scripture, so when we put God's Word in our hearts and minds, He works through those verses to transform us.

Even though we have the resources to live victoriously, we still fail, due to the sin still dwelling in us. When we sin, God also provides us with an advocate in Jesus to plead on our behalf. Jesus pleads fur us before the throne of grace, and He gives us mercy to stand up and keep running.

Future Salvation | saved from the presence of sin

1 John 3:2 says, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is."

I love how this verse shows us future salvation. Because of the ransom Jesus paid for us, we no have full adoption into God's family, but our earthly bodies have not yet been glorified. When we see Him face-to-face, Jesus will transform our earthly bodies to be like His glorious body, thus completing our journey of sanctification. Then we will spend eternity in unbroken fellowship with Him.

Every year I get together with friends at Nationals, the culmination of a Bible competition I'm part of. in between that time, we keep in touch through social media. But social media, with all its gifts, cannot beat the joy of seeing friends face-to-face. Can you imagine the even greater joy of seeing Jesus, our greatest Friend, in person?

 Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Photo Credit: Cassidy Shooltz

Every Christian's heart longs for that day when Jesus will transform us. Until that promise guarantee is made a reality, God promises to continue His faithfulness to us. He faithfully saved us in the past, He faithfully holds us in the present, and He will faithfully transform us in the future. Dear friend, I pray that these truths encourage you to keep running after Him.

"Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:8-9



1. 1 Peter Disciple Sword Study by Tammy McMahan:



4. Paraphrased from 1 Peter Disciple Sword Study, pg. 65

5. A Tale of Two Sons by John MacArthur: