One less nit to pick


Cyberspace being what it is, a question has been raised about my use of “final salvation” in this post. To save you time, here’s what I wrote: Gospel preaching offers the promise of final salvation through Him (Acts 13:38-39; cf. 1 Ths 1:10 “to wait for His Son from heaven…who rescues us from the wrath to come”). The text which I quote explains what I mean by final salvation—it is being rescued from the wrath to come. There is wrath coming and we will be saved from that wrath by Jesus Christ. This is offered through the gospel.

The biblical truth about our salvation is that it has past, present, and future aspects. In our day, we most often use the past tense when we speak of salvation, and that is completely appropriate since the Bible does too (e.g., Eph 2:5 “by grace you have been saved”). Though less frequent, the Bible also describes what God is presently doing as saving us (e.g., 1 Cor 1:18 “to us who are being saved it is the power of God”). There is a future aspect to our salvation as well. Consider what Paul writes in Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” In the very next verse, Paul writes, “having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (v. 10). This future, final aspect of our salvation is promised to us in the gospel.

The fact some of our salvation is still future is why Paul could write these words to the Romans, “for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed” (13:11). Here’s what Charles Ryrie has to say about Romans 13:11 in his study Bible notes, “The future culmination of our salvation at the return of the Lord is nearer every day” (p. 1810). Final salvation is simply a way to refer to the completion of what God has begun in us (Phil 1:6). As I was taught years ago, eternal security means that believers “are kept unto final salvation, not temporarily or just for a while.” The fact that this language was not recognizable is really pretty scary, but I am trying not to get into a fight, so I’ll just leave it at that.

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