I had some great conversations with individuals this week about the nature of salvation. And I see several tendencies.
1. We don’t fully understand grace–breadth, depth and glory of grace
2. We tend to be man-centric rather than God-centric
3. We look at the “what ifs” and “ya buts” before the “thus saith the Lord”
4. We often claim to know things we don’t fully believe and ought to be praying “Lord, help my unbelief”
5. We need to think more deeply about salvation–what it is, how it was accomplished, what are the benefits
6. We need to read and review passages that teach the gospel, to be reminded of the awesome gift, the amazing grace and its all-encompassing nature
Colossians 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, (ESV)
John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (ESV)
John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (ESV)
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
…the justification of a sinner is an all comprehending act of God. All the sins of a believer–past, present, and future–are pardoned when he is justified. The sum total of his sin, all of which is before the divine eye at the instant when God pronounces him a justified person, is blotted out or covered over by one act of God. Consequently, there is no repetition in the divine mind of the act of justification, as there is no repetition of the atoning death of Christ upon which it rests… (Hebrew 9:24—28; 10:14)
While, however, there is no repetition of the divine act of justification, yet the consequences of it in the soul of the believer are consecutive. In the believer’s experience, God is continually forgiving his sins. Divine mercy “is constantly absolving us by a perpetual remission of our sins” (Calvin 3.14.10).
William G. T. Shedd and Alan W. Gomes, Dogmatic Theology, 3rd ed. (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P & R Pub., 2003). 797
Salvation, in the spiritual sense, is the most exciting and promising deliverance available to human beings. It reaches to the depths of our need and lifts us to the highest grandeur imaginable. Spiritual salvation involves three tenses–past, present, and future. Doctrinally these are expressed as justification, sanctification, and glorification, but each one is part of the broad scope of salvation. At the moment a person places his or her faith in the finished work of Christ, that individual is saved from the death-dealing penalty for sin and is declared righteous (Gen. 15:6; Ps. 103:12; Rom. 4:1—5; Titus 3:5). Then in this present life the believer in Christ is also being saved from the power of sin (Rom. 5:10; Heb. 7:25; James 1:21). And he or she will be saved from the presence of sin forever in heaven (Rom. 13:11; 1 Pet. 1:9).
Earl D. Radmacher in Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck, Understanding Christian Theology (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003). 806.