Past, Present, and Future

In last night’s rendition of a sermon on salvation, the pastor began by asking whether salvation is something past, something present, or something future.

The answer is “yes,” depending on where you look.

As he was working out the past, present, and future dynamics of salvation, it occurred to me that one might frame the “yes, all of the above” answer on the “Memorial Acclamation”: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Christ has died

When were you saved? One answer to this question is, “Circa AD 30, on the cross at Calvary.”

“He gave himself up for me,” “We have been justified in his blood,” “Reconciled to God through the death of his son,” “we have been saved in hope…”

Christ is risen

Especially if you want to get more technical about how the Greek verb σώζω is used, the answer, “When were you saved,” has much more of the present and future dynamics going on. I am saved as I am united to the risen Christ–both when I first believed and currently as I walk by that same faith.

“He made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved;” “Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead;” “to us who are being saved, the cross is itself the [resurrection] power of God.”

Christ will come again

“We will be saved by him from the coming wrath of God;” “We will be saved in his life;” “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The parallel between death, resurrection, and coming and salvation past, present, and future isn’t perfect. But it’s a potentially fruitful entry into thinking about the various tenses of our salvation.

When were you saved? “I’m still waiting for it, in hope.”

When were you saved? “When God bound my life to the life of his resurrected son.”

When were you saved? “When Jesus who loved me gave himself up for me on the cross.”

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