5) We Will Be Saved (Whole Salvation)
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Rm 5:9-10)
The fifth blessing we received as a result of our faith in Christ is God’s promise for the future—salvation. This passage allows us to know what the final result of justification by faith is. That is for us to have complete salvation on the last day. If you read this paragraph carefully, you will notice that Paul uses two different tenses about salvation.
a) The Past Tense: We Were Justified
“We have now been justified by his blood… while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (Rm 5:9-10)
Even though Paul uses the present perfect tense in verse 9, it just describes how our past salvation has influenced us thus far. So, basically, Paul explained what happened to us in the past when we believed in Jesus.
We were justified by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and were reconciled to God through His death. In other words, we were saved through Jesus Christ. However, that’s not all.
b) The Future Tense: We Will Be Saved
Paul also uses the future tense in the same passage. Paul said, “we shall be saved from God’s wrath through him… we shall be saved through his life” (Rm 5:9-10)
The fact that Paul uses these two different tenses about our salvation teaches us a very important lesson. That is, our salvation has not been completed yet.
In the past, we were justified through faith in Jesus and came to have peace with God through Him. That was surely the most important event in our lives, but we still should keep in mind that that was only the start of our salvation, not the end.
Then, when will our salvation be complete? First, Paul said that we will be saved from God’s wrath through Jesus. God’s wrath refers to Jesus’ judgment on the final day.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised that He would come back. He came to earth around two thousand years ago as a suffering servant for His people and the lamb of God who took away the sin of the world, but when He returns, He will come as the King of kings and the Judge who will pass judgment on the whole world.
On that day, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…” (2 Co 5:10)
Our salvation will be complete on the day when Jesus deems us righteous.
Glorification: A Final Salvation
Paul also said in verse 10, “We shall be saved through his life” (Rom 5:10). It refers to the transformation we’ll experience on that day. We’ll join in Jesus’ resurrection. Even though we don’t exactly know what it will look like, what’s certain is that we’ll be like Jesus. That’s the completion of our salvation. Theologians call this transformation ‘glorification.’
One day, we will be completely free from the presence of sin. We’re going to be in a glorified body before Christ. We’ll see Him face to face.
Justification: A Past Salvation
Therefore, the Bible doesn’t describe our present salvation as a completed one. In the past, we were justified. Justification by faith is a one-time event occurring when we receive salvation through faith in Christ and enter into a relationship with God. However, that’s not the end, but just the start of a long journey toward final salvation—glorification.
Sanctification: A Present Salvation
That’s why the most important time for Christians is always the ‘present, today, and now.’ Our faith shouldn’t stay in the past. Sometimes, I see some Christians who describe their faith as in the ‘past’. They say, ‘I was once devoted to Christ’ ‘I once had strong faith’ ‘At one time, I enthusiastically served the Lord.’
On the other hand, some Christians describe their faith as a ‘future thing.’ They say, ‘I will believe in Jesus before I die after I enjoy everything in the world.’ ‘I want to believe in Him, but not now. There are many things I have to do now. I’m so busy working.’
Even though they acknowledge God and have a plan to come back to Him some day, that’s definitely not saving faith. That kind of faith can’t save them because there’s no one in the world who knows when he or she will stand before Christ. We don’t know when we’ll die. It can be the distant future, but it also can be tonight. No one can guarantee their future.
So, as I said earlier, the most important time for Christians is always ‘now.’ We must have faith in Jesus ‘now.’ We must try to live righteously with God’s righteousness that we were given through Christ ‘now.’ We must live out our precious faith now. And, we must return to God now, while we still have the chance.
Then, how should we be living as Christians right now? We call the event of being justified by faith in Jesus ‘justification.’ That was our ‘past salvation.’ We call the event of being saved from God’s wrath before the judgment seat of Christ and joining in Jesus’ resurrection ‘glorification.’ That is our future salvation.
Then, what’s our status now after justification and before glorification? We call this status℗ ‘sanctification.’ There are a lot of things to say about it, but the core idea of sanctification is that we’re becoming more like Jesus.
Paul said, “We all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph 4:13)
Sanctification is Christians’ process to become mature in faith and take after Jesus more. John also talks about this.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” (1Jn 3:2-3)
In this passage, John talks about all three concepts—justification, sanctification, and glorification. We became children of God. That’s justification. And, we’ll be transformed like Jesus on the last day when He appears. That’s glorification.
So, how should we be living? We should continue to purify ourselves, taking after Jesus, with the hope that we’ll see Him face to face in the end. That’s how we should live out our faith now.
If we really have hope for the eternal kingdom of God, our present lives should always be in the process of preparing for judgment day.
When we talked about Abraham’s faith, I said the word ‘credited’--logizomai in Greek is very important. Abraham’s faith was ‘credited’ to him as righteousness. It means that he wasn’t really righteous. He didn’t act righteously. He didn’t deserve to be considered righteous. Nevertheless, Abraham was credited as righteous by God only because of his faith in God.
However, that was not the end. He had to live the life of righteousness he received from God. He had to live out his faith by actually living righteously by loving God, keeping His commands, and loving other people. That’s the life we should live when we have faith in Jesus.
We shouldn’t be satisfied with our ‘past’ salvation. Rather, looking forward to future glorification, we should make every effort to take after Jesus and live righteously in the world.
Keep Running Toward Eternal Glory
It’s crucial for us to realize this truth about salvation because it produces in us earnestness, eagerness to cleanse ourselves, and desire to be more like Jesus.
Again, our salvation started in the past, but is not yet complete. So, Paul urges us in Philippians 2:12, “Therefore, my dear friends… continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Php 2:12)
As Christians, we all must take his advice seriously. We must keep working on our salvation with fear and trembling until we see Jesus face to face. That’s the life we should live in the present.
“I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Php 3:10-14)
This is a very challenging verse. We know what Paul did. He proclaimed the gospel in various regions and built many churches. He wrote numerous letters which later became part of the Bible.
However, Paul wasn’t satisfied with what he had done up to that point. Instead, he decided to forget the past and keep running toward what was ahead—joining in the resurrection of Jesus and the heavenly prize. For that, he willingly continued to participate in Jesus’ suffering and death.
That’s the life we should also live when we have faith in Jesus. Leaving the past behind—past salvation, past enthusiasm, past faith— and running toward the hope for the glory that’s ahead of us and toward the heavenly prize God will give us on the last day.