Hebrews 9:28 says, “So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” What does “bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” mean? I thought we were already saved when we accepted Jesus as our Savior.
You have asked an interesting question. It is true that we are saved the instant we give our lives to Jesus Christ. It is also true that our salvation has a future element to it. We are not yet in heaven and we have not yet been given our new bodies. Paul speaks of this in Philippians 1:6 when he writes, “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
There are three aspects of salvation: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification occurs when I receive Christ as my Savior. At that point, it is “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned.” I am justified or made right with God. I am saved. My sins are forgiven and I have begun a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Sanctification refers to the process of maturing in Christ or growing in grace. The word sanctify comes from the same root word as holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). It carries with it the idea of being set apart for God’s use. Glorification refers to the time when we are given new bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) and we live with Him forever in heaven.
So there is a sense in which a believer in Christ may say “I have been saved” (justification); “I am being saved” (sanctification); and, “I will be saved” (glorification). We might also say that there is past, present, and future aspects to our salvation. The fact that you are in Christ (justified) guarantees that you will be glorified in the future. Jesus is now living in us through the power of His Spirit and as we grow in Him we are becoming more and more useful to Him for His purposes in this world (sanctification). We are now waiting for the consummation of our salvation that Jesus will complete when He returns.
~ Pastor Chris