The more I think about the last post on the deceitfulness of the Damascus Road the more I felt like writing on the present subject. I’m sure I did another entry on this a long time ago, but I can’t find it.
Anyway, there are three stages in the salvation of the believer. The first is the past stage involving regeneration and justification. This aspect is monergistic because God does it all, right down to faith with which we trust Christ. God draws, makes alive, and pronounces us righteous in Christ.
At some point in the future we will experience glorification, or resurrection. This too is a monergistic act in which God does it all. Now in my opinion, when we talk about being saved often we are referring back to the point at which we trusted Christ and were justified. For many this is the be all end all as far as this earthly life goes. The next phase of salvation on the agenda is when we go to be with the Lord–the first phase serving as a guarantee of the last phase.
I have even heard some talk about how once you are justified what happens after that in a sense doesn’t matter. Recently I heard a man talk about his adult daughter, who has repudiated Christ, abandoned her children, and lived a life strung out on drugs. But because when she was a little girl she made a decision for Christ she is guaranteed a home in heaven when she dies.
We are in no position to judge the eternal destination of anyone , but there is something missing in the above scheme. Sandwiched between regeneration/justification (past) and glorification (future) is sanctification (present). This is an ongoing process of growth into the image of Christ through the mortification of the flesh. While God is ultimately the one who is in the believer to will and do of His good pleasure it is a synergistic process involving two agents, man and God.
Some have framed it thus: we have been saved from the penalty of sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and we shall be saved from the presence of sin. Because the present process of sanctification has more of a human element we see ups and downs and ebbs and flows in the growth of the believer. But God is sovereign over the process even though secondary means are in play. He who began the good work in the believer at regeneration will complete it. The believer’s faith can never be extinguished and he will not lose his salvation because he will not lose his faith. He might stumble but never so as to irrevocably fall.
The most important aspect of our salvation is now–today is the day of salvation. Trust Jesus today. Love the Lord today. Hate and fight sin right now. Don’t wait for tomorrow or rest in what happened years ago. Yesterday’s victories are not sufficient for today.