Christians constantly talk about salvation and being saved but what exactly is salvation? The theological definition of salvation, according to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, is: “Deliverance from the power and penalty of sin”. The problem is this definition does not tell us how we obtain this deliverance.
Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary in BibleSoft’s PC Study Bible gives us more details on what salvation is:
The salvation that comes through Christ may be described in three tenses: past, present, and future. When a person believes in Christ, he is saved (Acts 16:31). But we are also in the process of being saved from the power of sin (Romans 8:13; Philippians 2:12). Finally, we shall be saved from the very presence of sin (Romans 13:11; Titus 2:12-13). God releases into our lives today the power of Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:4) and allows us a foretaste of our future life as His children (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:14). Our experience of salvation will be complete when Christ returns (Hebrews 9:28) and the kingdom of God is fully revealed (Matthews 13:41-43).
So why does most of Christianity only emphasize the first aspect of salvation—belief in Christ? Are the other two aspects of salvation of no consequence? Why did God include these other aspects of salvation in the Bible?