Progressive Salvation and the Doctrine of Vocation

Salvation is a common term in the Bible that refers to God’s rescue mission. The language of salvation in Scripture is applied to a past reality, a present need, and a future hope. When God saves, these three dimensions will always be present. God has saved, is saving, and will save the person trusting in Christ.  Take a look at these three texts that speak to each of these dimensions.

Past


“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Present


“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Future


“Having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).

Salvation is a whole package deal. When God saves he does it thoroughly. Every area of need is covered. As of late, my interests have gravitated toward the present aspect of salvation. The idea of “being saved” touches on the way God keeps a person in the faith.  It reaches into God’s continual activity to hold a person in his saving grace. Tim Challies says this about the present dimension of salvation.

“Salvation in the present refers to sanctification and perseverance. Sanctification is a process that is ongoing in the lives of believers. The Holy Spirit indwells us at the moment of salvation and begins to affect change in our lives so that we become more and more conformed to the image of holiness modeled in Christ. As we allow the Spirit to lead and guide us, we grow in grace. The present reality of salvation also promises perseverance so we can have full confidence that we will continue as believers to the end. We do not need to worry about losing the salvation which God granted to us, for He continues to grant it to us on a continual basis.”

In the next few posts, I want to explore the mechanics of the present/ongoing reality of salvation. How exactly does God go on saving us? What does he use to progressively rescue us? I am convinced that one of the main ways that God accomplishes this work is through the ordinary, every day vocations of his people.

By vocation, I mean the specific roles and callings each individual Christian possesses. We are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, children, employees, employers, students, teachers, church members, etc. In, through, and by these vocations, God works his saving grace into us. My aim is to flesh this out and demonstrate this in the next few posts by looking at this idea of vocation and its link to progressive salvation.

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