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#1 Salvation: Past, Present, and Future

I had often wondered about the verse, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)  Concerning justification, there is nothing “to work out.”  God has provided full and complete provision (atonement) for our sins in Jesus Christ’s perfect life and death in our place.  So, what’s to work out?  In fact, we are warned by the Apostle Paul, that to add anything to Christ’s perfect work is “another gospel” and "accursed" (Galatians 1:8).

We often ask, "Are you saved," or say, "I am saved,” as though salvation were one simple thing.  However, (1) we have been saved in justification, (2) we are being saved (sanctification), and (3) we will be saved (glorification). 

“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” concerns sanctification.  It makes good sense.  In justification and glorification, we reap wonderful benefits but have no part in what is done… it is all of God.

However, we participate in sanctification.  We “work” to read and study the Bible.  We “work” to apply the Bible in our families and daily activities.  We “work” to “love our neighbor as ourselves.”  We do “works” of mercy to the widow and the fatherless.

You should begin to think of salvation as, “I have been saved,” “I am being saved (working out my salvation), and “I will be saved.”  Salvation is three parts of a whole!  Its fullness involves all three tenses and phases.

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