The present tense of salvation is that we are now saved. We are being rescued from sin, condemnation, and death. We ought to enjoy the present blessings of salvation. I will mention two of these. The first is adoption. We all have the position of adult sons and daughters in God’s family (2 Corinthians 6:18). When God saved us, he did much more than to guarantee us an eternal home in heaven. God also provides us with an honorable place in his family, placing us as adult members. We can learn this from a careful reading of Galatians 3:26-4:7. There we see that though old covenant believers had the position of minors in God’s family, we new covenant believers are adults. So then, we ought to have a filial attitude at all times. “My Father loves and cares for me. I ought to live in such a way as to glorify my Father in heaven.” This kind of approach is absolutely essential in spiritual warfare.
Since we are adult sons and daughters, we have been given the promised Holy Spirit, who now lives within us—to help us, to assure us, and to lead us (Romans 8:14-17). This means that we must look at our struggle within the context of being Spirit-led sons and daughters of God. We are not slaves to sin or minor children under the law. We are adults in God’s family! Live like an adult sons and daughters, which means living a life of love to God, striving to conform to be like God in holiness.
A second current blessing is security. We are kept by the Lord Christ and we continue to follow him. One of the great energizing factors for any soldier is the expectation of success. An army that anticipates conquering will take the field more readily than one that expects defeat. The Lord Jesus has saved us with an eternal salvation (John 6:37-40, 47; 10:27-30; Romans 8:29-30, 35-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 9:12, 15; 10:14; 1 Peter 1:3-5). It is certainly true that only those who continue in the faith will be saved (Matthew 24:13; Colossians 1:23; etc.). Although such verses teach the necessity of the saint’s perseverance, they do not imply that a saint may not continue. All those who truly repent and believe will continue, because God keeps them (Philippians 1:6; 1 John 5:4; Jude 1:1, 24-25). Therefore, with salvation as a helmet, we hope or confidently expect total victory. This fills us with energy to do battle—to press on after holiness (1 Jn 3:1-4).
The future tense of salvation is that we who trust in Jesus Christ will be saved. Consider two future blessings of salvation. The first is glorification. We have the prospect of sharing eternal glory with the Lord. From God’s point of view, this is so certain that he speaks of it in the past tense (Romans 8:29-30), though in the present state of things, we still wait for that time (Romans 8:18-19). Our glorification rests firmly on our union with Christ. Since he was raised from the dead, we too will be raised (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 42-49). In answer to Christ’s prayer, we will see his glory (John 17:24). As Colossians 3:4 says, when he appears, we will appear with him in glory. At times the battle is very rough. The enemy seems to have beaten you down into the mire and the mud. But do not give up (Micah 7:8).
We will enter into our inheritance. Sharing glory with the Lord is surely enough, isn’t it? Not to God! You see, we are not only sons of God, but also heirs (Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:17). Since we are in Christ and heirs with him, we have an inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). What is it? Yes, yes, I know that it includes the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:13), but our God is a greater giver than that! He gives us all things (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). God Almighty gives us Himself (Psalm 73:25-26)! This should fill us with hope (confident expectation). But do you have this hope? You may have it today by turning from your empty way of life that leads to judgment and by trusting in Jesus Christ for eternal life (John 6:35-40).
Grace and peace, David