For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. ( I Corinthians 1:18-19)
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I Will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” ( I Corinthians 1:18-19 NASV)
There are many misunderstandings about Salvation which lead to the various positions people of good will and good faith labor under, concerning this issue.
One major problem is that the very nature of salvation is vastly misunderstood. Scripture presents Salvation as a process. There is a past, present and future aspect of Salvation.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
Paul presents the gospel here in it’s simplest form, and declares that by receiving this gospel, we stand in salvation…but then he adds a condition, “If Ye keep in memory …” that gospel. The Apostle then holds forth that it is a possibility to have believed in vain.
He does a similar thing in Collossians,
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Collosians 1:21-23)
What about these “Ifs”? Are they not conditions? “If we continue in faith…and be not moved away?… What? If not, What?
One solution to this question comes also from Paul, in the passage in I Corinthians 1 above. I am no Greek scholar and do not pretend to be, but I can read concordances and commentaries. The Greek language has a continuous participle, which would render the word “Perish” , as “are perishing”, and the Word “Saved” as “Being Saved”. We are in a continuous process in salvation from the day we commence to the Day of the LORD.
Again Paul in Romans 5;
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. ( Romans 5:9-11)
In this much loved and assuring passage, we are simultaneously told that Now (presently) we are justified, and yet “We shall be saved” (Future) … There is a past, present and future aspect to Salvation.
Instantly , when I accepted the Revelation of God in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, I was saved, (Justified). I then commenced an ongoing process of (Sanctification) discipleship, which I continue in to this day, and I await the final Salvation, when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. Then my Salvation shall be complete at the resurrection of my sin riddled body.
Until then, I am Being Saved… according to the Apostle Paul.
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; ( 2 Corinthians 1: 9-10)
Next we will look at what Jesus taught us about salvation…