Summary: Introduction We truly have a great salvation. Consequently, we should understand the amazing fullness of the salvation that God gives us through faith in Jesus and cooperation with the Holy Spirit as he works within us. The Holy Spirit led the New Testa
Salvation in the Future Tense
Text: "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber; because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here" (Rom. 13:11-12 NIV).
We truly have a great salvation. Consequently, we should understand the amazing fullness of the salvation that God gives us through faith in Jesus and cooperation with the Holy Spirit as he works within us.
The Holy Spirit led the New Testament writers to relate salvation in a variety of ways. It is commonly described in terms of justification and regeneration. The New Testament portrays salvation in the present tense as a process that started with our conversion that continues from day to day. God is presently at work in us to deliver us from the sin that surrounds us. This is not salvation from the punishment of sin or the very presence of sin. Rather; it is salvation from the power of sin.
If you disregard any phase of this great salvation, your spiritual life will be impoverished. If you fail to appreciate what God has done for you in the past, you will live in uncertainty in the present and with much anxiety concerning the future. Today we want to focus on our great salvation in the future.
Socialist leader Karl Marx criticized religion by declaring that "religion is the opiate of the people." We must admit that sometimes salvation in the future is overemphasized, resulting in the neglect of God’s will in the present. Others have thought of Jesus only as a funeral director who comes at the time of death to carry the soul into the presence of God. This is a caricature of New Testament teachings regarding our Lord’s gracious provisions for us in the present as well as the future.
Understanding what the New Testament teaches about salvation in the future can be a great source of comfort to the aged believer and a thrilling challenge to the young disciple.
1. This knowledge can help us in our struggle against evil.
2. This information can support us in our sorrows.
3. This insight can strengthen us in our conflicts.
4. This revelation of truth can serve as a reliable test for our scale of values.
Understanding our great salvation in the future can help us discover what the ultimate values of life are and what the ultimate victory will be.
l. A great positive concerning heaven.
We have many questions as we face life beyond death, but the Bible does not give a detailed description of what we can expect. It does, however; provide some insight and understanding.
For one thing, God will be at the very center (John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:3). Heaven is more than a residence. It is a relationship with God as he has revealed himself in his Son, Jesus Christ. Devout believers have often thought in terms of how wonderful heaven will be because they will be reunited with loved ones who have preceded them in death. As comforting as this thought is, our primary focus will be on God rather than on our fellow believers.
Do you love God in the present? Do you hunger for an abiding sense of his loving presence at this very moment? Do you love him with all of your heart and soul and mind and strength? If so, heaven will be wonderful for you. If, however; you find in your heart an absence of love for God, and if you feel that you are ignoring him, you should be concerned about whether you have truly been born into his family.
II. Some great negatives concerning heaven.
A. There will be no sin (Rev. 21:27). Does sin in the present disturb you like a painful rock in your shoe as you walk the road of life? If so, rejoice because sin will be absent in heaven.
B. There will be no tears of sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Tears of sadness that we experience in the present are due to hardships that result from sin in our lives or in the lives of others. God will wipe away our tears not with a lace handkerchief but by removing the cause for those tears.
C. There will be no pain. Physicians will no longer be needed, because sickness will be a thing of the past.
D. There will be no death. There will be no cemeteries on the hillsides of our heavenly home. Many people living in the present fear death, but for those who have trusted Christ, there will come a time when death will be no more.
E. There will be no separation from those we love. "And there was no longer any sea" (Rev. 21:1 NIV). In this context, the sea was what separated John from those who were dear to him in the city of Ephesus. He saw the sea as a barrier that divided people who loved each other. All barriers will be absent in heaven, and we will love each other sincerely and steadfastly.