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From Pastor Steve's Desk

Past, Present, and Future Salvation


Some Sundays ago, I spoke to the three tenses of salvation: past, present, and future. Those three tenses are represented by the theological terms justification, sanctification, and glorification. The reality is that God doesn’t save us just so that we can escape hell and go to heaven. Wonderful as our rescue is, His plan for us and the world is much grander than that!


Paul declares in Colossians 1:19-20 that in Christ, God is working to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” The Fall resulted not only in a fatal and damning tragedy for the human race, but it also affected the entire creation. Sin destroyed the perfect harmony between creatures, and between all creation and the Creator.


The creation was “subjected to futility” (Rom. 8:20) and “groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom. 8:22). One evidence of that is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which proves that the universe is losing its usable energy. If God does not intervene, the universe will eventually suffer a heat death—all available energy will be used up, and the universe will become uniformly cold and dark. We live on a cursed earth in a cursed universe. Both are under the influence of Satan who is the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4).


The devasting effects of the curse and satanic influence will reach a terrifying climax in the events of the Tribulation discussed in the book of Revelation. At the culmination of that time of destruction and chaos, Christ will return and set up His Kingdom. During His millennial reign, the effects of the curse will be restrained.


Finally, after the millennial kingdom, there will indeed be a new heaven and a new earth, as John indicates in Revelation 21:1, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away.” Paul explains that “the creation itself  will be set free from its bondage to corruption” (Rom. 8:21). God and the creation will be reconciled and the curse of Genesis 3 will be removed.


Truly, as born-again saints of Jesus Christ, we await a glorious future. Before his ascension, Jesus comforted his followers with these words: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you (John 14:1-2)?”


Take courage brothers and sisters. Be obedient to Christ, forgiving one another and living in harmony. Work out your salvation as Paul exhorts us to do in Philippians 2:12-13. In doing so, your past, present, and future salvation is secure.

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