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There is a good illustration that will help answer this question: A ship sinks and the passengers jump off board. Sadly, the safety boat gets filled and Adam one of the passengers who does not make it on board, Yells for help. So, the captain on board throws him a rope to hang on saying, “We will tow you to shore.”
As he takes the rope, Adam says, “Thank God, I am saved!” And he is saved, as long as he holds on to the rope. Salvation is his, but he has a part to play in it. If he should at any time let go of the rope, he would sink. So, it is with a person who has been rescued from sin. He remains saved as long as he holds on to the hand of Jesus.
Salvation can be seen in three tenses – past, present, and future. Adam can say, “I have been saved” when he takes the rope, “I am being saved” as he is being towed to shore; and “I shall be saved” when he stands on shore. A converted person -has been saved- from the penalty of sin. We call that justification. He -is being saved- from the power of sin, and we call that sanctification. He -shall be saved- from the presence of sin when Christ comes, and that will be glorification.
All three of these tenses are used in the Bible in connection with being saved. The Bible in Romans 8:24 gives the phrase, “We are saved by hope.” Weymouth is a more accurate translation. He says, “We have been saved,” past tense. The Revised Standard Version correctly renders the phrase in 1 Corinthians 1:18 as “To us who are being saved.” Then, Acts 15:11 states, “that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” So, the Bible presents the past, present, and future tenses.
Adam can decide to turn back at any point, as a Christian can choose the world rather than God. We are saved only through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). However, our faith is shown by our actions. It is the proof of our love for Him. Keeping God’s commandments and doing right are merely the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. God does the good works in us by His Spirit “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
In His service,