Salvation is one of the Bible’s great words. It’s the word for the ultimate promise from God that we find in Scripture.
Salvation occurs the very moment one is moved to an act of repentance for their sins, confessing Jesus as their Savior. In that moment, forgiveness is granted and one’s eternal destination is secure. Oh how comforting of a thought that is.
But what many don’t understand from Scripture is that there are even more stages of salvation in the life of a follower of Christ. There are three stages actually. The moment we truly receive Christ as Savior and Lord, we are instantly and eternally saved from the penalty of sin. During our Christian life spans on earth, we’re gradually being saved from the power of sin and should grow in godliness. One day in heaven, we will be saved from the very presence of sin and will be wholly glorified.
Many people only consider the first stage of salvation — that one-time, past event. They forget its ongoing nature. N.T. Wright wrote:
“Many Christians…have a big gap in their vision of what being a Christian is all about. It’s as though they were standing on one side of a deep, wide river, looking across to the further bank. On this bank you declare your faith. On the opposite bank is the ultimate result — final salvation itself. But what are people supposed to do in the meantime? Simply stand here and wait? Is there no bridge between the two?…The bridge in question goes by many names… But one of the most obvious names is character…the transforming, shaping, and marking of a life and its habits.”
From the first step of that process to our last breath, we are crossing this bridge. Throughout our lives, we develop our character consciously or unconsciously. In your journey, you will learn to develop your character in ways that bring remarkable rewards.
There’s a second reason people miss the abundant life: they misapply the concept of works. Many biblical passages teach that we’re not saved by our own efforts but by the grace of God alone. But the same passages also tell us good works are an essential evidence of the salvation experience.
For example, Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Hallelujah for that!
But the next verse says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
Hallelujah for that too! We are not saved by good works, but for good works. God saves us and leaves us on earth for a span so we can serve Him here, letting our light shine before others, so they can see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
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SOURCE: Christian Post, David Jeremiah