From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 22 – The three stages or tenses of salvation: Justification, then sanctification, then glorification
The three stages of salvation – indicating that salvation is more a process than an event.
We have just spent a lengthy chapter seeking to reconcile what the Bible says about assurance of salvation with the warnings given about the danger of losing our salvation. That would all make more sense if we understood more clearly that salvation is a process rather than an event and that it takes place in three clearly defined stages. Realising that should make it all much clearer.
Let me therefore go back a stage and explain more fully the three different words which are used for the three stages in the process of salvation. If you understand these three words clearly and remember the distinctions between them, then you will be better able to understand how the Bible can both reassure us and warn us at the same time.
When the Bible uses the words ‘salvation’ or ‘saved’ it could be referring to any one of these three stages of salvation. We therefore need to know which of them is being referred to at any given time or in a particular verse.