Salvation: Past, Present, and Future (Part 2)

What do you mean you are saved? Saved from what?” That is the question we started with last week. Our answer is that we are saved from sin. We are looking at the 3 aspects of salvation from sin. First, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ as the One who died for our sins we are at that moment forever saved from the Penalty of our sin. This is called Justification, which means to be legally cleared of the charges in God’s court and declared righteous. If you are a Christian then this occurred at that moment in the past when you first put your trust in Jesus Christ and became a Christian. The Bible says that God no longer sees us “in sin”, but, now He sees us “in Christ”. We have a new standing before God, a new position where we have been set apart by God and for God.

Illustration. Evan said something to me one time when I was getting my nice clothes on for some event: “Dad are you getting your ‘handsome boy’ clothes on?’” In our house handsome boy clothes are those clothes that aren’t like other clothes. They are set apart from everyday clothes. Handsome boy clothes are what you wear for special occasions, they’re better quality and better looking than your everyday clothes. You’re more careful with handsome boy clothes than you are with your play clothes. When we became Christians God set us apart, and now we’re given a special position. All our old clothes that were dirty and filthy from our sin were taken away from us, and now He has clothed us with pure white righteousness.

Secondly we learned that we are in a lifelong process of being saved from the ruling power of sin in our lives. This is Sanctification, which relates to our daily conduct being transformed to be more like Christ and His righteousness. Justification removes the consequences of sin from us immediately and totally. Sanctification removes the conduct of sin from us, incrementally and gradually.

Think of Sanctification like ironing clothes. When you pull clothes out of the dryer they are clean, but, they usually still can’t be worn quite yet. That’s because they need to be ironed to get all the wrinkles out. When you become a Christian you are pulled out of the dryer all clean of your sin. But, now you need to have your wrinkles smoothed out so that the Lord can use you more and more. Getting the wrinkles out will take place for your entire life.

So we covered those 2 last week: saved from the Penalty of sin and saved from the Power of sin. We were saved from sin in the Past which dealt with sin’s penalty. And we are currently being saved in the present from sin’s power. This week we need to conclude this topic with the final point: Salvation from sin in the Future.

Several passages speak of our future salvation. Read Romans 13:11; Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:2-3.

#3: Salvation in the Future: Saved from the Presence of Sin

Salvation from sin in the Future refers to our being saved from the Presence of Sin. This is called glorification. The Bible tells us that we will experience something in the future called glorification. In Romans 8:30 it says, “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified He also glorified.” Glorification has to do with our bodies being glorified. Philippians 3:21 says Jesus Christ will in the future when He returns “transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.” Each of us who belong to Jesus Christ will receive a glorified body like His. What can we know about these bodies?

First, it means we will finally be set free from the presence of sin in our bodies. Justification is the removal of sin’s penalty. Sanctification is the removal of sin’s power. Glorification is the removal of sin’s abiding presence in us. Remember last week we taught that even though we are forgiven for all our sins, the sin nature still lives inside of us and it is still manufacturing sinful desires within us? When we are divorced from the sin nature in the future

Well the vehicle the sin nature uses to express itself is our bodies. In other words, the sin nature works to control our bodies so that we use our bodies to act out the sinful desires we have within us. For us as Christians we find this inner desire to do good is simultaneously met with fierce opposition also from within us. It’s not the devil, it’s not the world, it’s us – something inside of us. In other words we have a sin nature inside of us that God did not remove when we were saved and that sin nature makes us want to use our bodies and minds for sin. Yet, at the same time we have a new nature that makes us want to use our bodies and minds for righteousness (Romans 7:15-23; Galatians 5:17).

This inner struggle we have to act out righteousness is a bitter thing for us. Paul cried out in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?!” He then answers his own question, “Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Just like Paul, we who love the Lord Jesus Christ hate that we find in ourselves a competing want to sin. We now know righteousness because we know Christ, and so we hate that we still have powerful attractions to sin. We love Him and want to please Him and this makes us hate the sin that still resides within us, constantly pulling us away from Him.

This is why I am learning more and more from Scripture that as Christians death is a welcome emancipation from this bitter war with sin being waged right within us. Peter describes it as a war when he says in 1 Peter 2:11, “…abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your souls.” James also describes it as an inner battle in James 4:1, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Passing on from this life separates us from sin’s presence and brings us into the Lord’s presence. As believers our view of death is radically changed by Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2:15 says all men were held in slavery to the devil “by their fear of death.” But now with Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:55 we say, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where O death is your sting? But thanks be to God, He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Death is a release for us Christians. It is that final threshold to full and complete liberation from sin where we are set free from this body of sin (Romans 6:6). At last it will come, emancipation from the corrupting influence of our sinful bodies – yet this is only through death. For every one of us as Christians there is that daily inner struggle with sin. We hate it (Romans 7). But that struggle now is only temporary. Someday we will released from that most intimate and savage war that is waged within us. If you love righteousness and hate sin then this release is something that will be most desirable to you. The more you grow spiritually the more sensitive you will be to this war inside yourself. But understanding the hope we are given of a future glorification, the more eagerly you should welcome that coming day.

Imagine that first feeling of ultimate purity when the contamination of sin is taken away from you. We can’t imagine it because we have always lived with sin inside of us. It’s like trying to imagine sunlight when you’ve been blind you’re whole life. It’s like trying to imagine what it feels like after a hot bath with lots of soap if you’ve never taken a bath. You’ve always been covered in dirt. We’ve always been dirty with sin – how can we imagine anything else? Oh but wait, it’s coming. The worst thing would for us to have to live in these bodies forever, always sharing this body with the presence of sin. Praise God that we will be glorified and that it is yet to come!

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