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What does it mean that we are saved and being saved at the same time?

translate saved and being saved

Sin is the reason we need to be saved. We are saved from various aspects of sin, and so our salvation has a past and present (as well as a future) phase.

When we are saved (justified) we are saved from the penalty of sin. This is a past act. Jesus paid for our sin on the cross in the past, and when a person trusts Him for salvation, that person is forgiven and justified before God. This is a once-for-all transaction. A person who is justified has been saved:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)

However, it is not only the penalty of sin that is a problem. Christians still struggle with the power of sin in their lives. Even though they are forgiven, they are not perfect. While on earth they are being saved from the power of sin (sanctified). Paul spends chapters 1—3 of Ephesians explaining how believers have been saved from the penalty of sin. Then he urges them to live in that reality by not letting sin continue to control their actions:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1–3).

Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:11–14).

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:21–25).

So even Paul the apostle admits that he still struggles against sin in his life. However, as a Christian matures, there will be victories over sin in day-to-day life. Christians are being saved from the power of sin over them.

Finally, in the future Christians will be saved from the very presence of sin (glorified). One day, Christians will receive a new body, and the sin nature will be completely eradicated. We look forward to a new home, a new heaven and a new earth where sin will no longer be an issue:

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. . . I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:1–4, 22–27).

Salvation, then, has three aspects:

• Past: We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We have been justified.
• Present: We are being saved from the power of sin. We are being sanctified.
• Future: We will be saved from the presence of sin. We will be glorified.

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Questions about Salvation

What does it mean that we are saved and being saved at the same time?
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This page last updated: September 29, 2022