Past, Present and Future Sense of Salvation 


Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us…  (2 Corinthians 1:9-10)

In the above quote, St Paul reveals the complex nature of salvation: 1) it is something attained in the past in Christ’s life, death and resurrection; 2) it is present in our lives today; 3) it is something yet to be fulfilled, and so we are still moving toward it but awaiting it.


When one bishop was asked if he was saved, he replied, ‘I have been saved, I am being saved, and I shall be saved.’ Salvation has to do with the works and accomplishments of the man Jesus Christ. Salvation also has to do with our daily walk in the faith and our growth in the Spirit. Salvation also has to do with the final victory of God over all of His enemies at the end of time. (AM I SAVED?, p 12)

Salvation in these many dimensions is also reflected in Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever. It is also reflected in the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in which we give thanks to God not only for what God has done for our salvation in the past, but also for what (at least in a temporal point of view) still is to be accomplished: “It was You Who brought us from non-existence into being, and when we had fallen away You raised us up again, and did not cease to do all things until You had brought us up to heaven, and had endowed us with Your kingdom which is to come.” Indeed, we thank God for something that has yet to happen.


Salvation is historical (I am saved), and salvation is a process (I am being saved), and also, salvation is a future event (I will be saved). All three tenses of ‘save’ are found in the New Testament. Salvation is also universal (Christ died for all humanity), and it is personal (I am asked to believe that Christ died for me).

Salvation is a gift from God. Salvation is accomplished by God for us. Salvation requires me to choose and decide whether I will believe and follow God in faith and love. Salvation means deliverance, redemption, healing, protection, rebirth, restoration, reconciliation, transfiguration, justification, sanctification, love and grace. (AM I SAVED?, pp 12, 54-55)