The Three Tenses of Salvation

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three tenses of salvation


What are the Three Tenses of Salvation?


1. Past Tense: I have been saved from the Penalty of Sin (Justification)

Justification is the primary step of salvation most people refer to when they speak about salvation. This part of salvation is in the past tense because it refers to the penalty of sin (death) that has already been paid by Jesus Christ’s atonement on the cross. It is a once and for all work in which God delivers a sinner from the penalty of sin. It can’t be earned by your own works or deeds. You are saved by God’s grace and your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior alone. Your position is in Christ.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8


2. Present Tense: I am being saved from the Power of Sin (Sanctification)

Salvation doesn’t end with your past deliverance from the penalty of sin. God is also saving us in the present. It is an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in delivering God’s people from the power of sin. This work is called sanctification and happens until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Your condition is becoming like Christ.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18


3. Future Tense: I will be saved from the Presence of Sin (Glorification)

This future and final stage of salvation is equated with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is God’s promise that He will deliver us from the presence of sin one day. We will be like Christ and will receive a glorified body like Christ and live with God forever. Your expectation is to be like Christ.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:9-10



While there is only one salvation, it happens in three stages which are inseparable going from eternity past to eternity future.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

If you haven’t received salvation yet, it’s time to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior!


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Find more Biblical Teachings about Salvation here