Three Stages of Salvation

Our topic for today is “Three Stages of Salvation”. Salvation has a past experience, a present life and a future fulfillment. We shall have a simple and brief discussion on this topic in this video.

 Salvation and Holiness

Salvation is choosing the holiness of God. Salvation is turning away from the sinful rebellious life. Salvation is stopping our opposition to God’s holiness. It is coming back into His holiness.

How can it happen? How can we reach back to His holiness?

It is surely not a onetime action. It is a continued process. It is a life long struggle and victory over sins.

Salvation as a process by which an unsaved sinner separated from God by sin and destined for hell, is redeemed from hell, reunited with God and destined for heaven.

So when we are saved, we come to Jesus Christ, receive Him as Savior by faith, repent of our sin, and receive from Jesus forgiveness of sin and the free gift of eternal life. However, this is not the entire message of the Bible regarding salvation.

Salvation is a longer process that begins with a decision prayer, by faith.

Once a person is born again, he is saved from the penalty of sin (Rom. 8:1; Eph. 2:5, 8), the power of sin (Rom. 6:11-14), and will ultimately be saved from the presence of sin when God takes him to heaven and gives him a new body like the body of Jesus (Phil. 3:20-21). 

We are saved in regard to yesterday, we are being saved in regard to today and we will be saved in regard to tomorrow. It is salvation, past, salvation present and salvation future.

We have been saved (Ephesians 2:8); we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18) and we will be saved (1 Peter 1:5)


Romans 8: 29, 30

29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJV)



The first stage of salvation is that we have been saved. It is the past condition of salvation, for a born again believer. This stage of salvation is the justification of our spirit.

 A right understanding of justification is crucial to the whole Christian faith.

The truth of justification is the dividing line between the biblical gospel of salvation by faith alone and salvation based on good works.


The word ‘Justification’ is a legal term which declare ‘not guilty’.

Justification is the judicial act of God. As a judge He forgives the sinner of all his sins in the past, present and future. The judge declares a sinner righteous in His eyes and free from guilt and punishment. It happens just once in a person’s life by faith in the atonement of Christ for our sins.

That means a sinner is declared innocent of any sins. This happens through the blood of Christ. By His blood all the sins of a repentant sinner is wiped out.

This happens immediately as the sinner confess his sins and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. (Romans 10:9).

Justification is to restore the sinner back into innocence.


It is not that the sinner is made righteous but declared righteous. He is justified by God the Father based on the works and merits of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The sinner actually puts on the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (NKJV)

Henceforth, God sees the sinner righteous and perfect in the righteousness of Christ. The sinner is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works.

The believer is declared just because the Savior, Jesus Christ, has died in his place and paid the penalty for sins. By His death, Jesus has satisfied God’s wrath against sinner.

Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (NKJV)



The second stage of salvation is our present life where we are being saved. This is the stage of sanctification.

Sanctification is not salvation by works. Salvation is made possible by the death of Jesus Christ. Jesus has done everything necessary for our salvation. There is nothing left by Him for us to add to it. Our responsibility is to believe in the atonement.


But salvation is a continuous process that cannot be completed by a decision prayer. It is a long journey with Jesus, walking with Him throughout life and sanctifying ourselves so that we will be confirmed to His image.

That is what Romans 8: 29 says: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”


The basic meaning of sanctification is “separation” or “to be set apart.”  Sanctification is to set apart, by God, for God, from sin, unto a holy life. We are sanctified to be more and more holy through conforming to the image of Jesus Christ.


Philippians 2:12, 13

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJV)


The Greek word for “work out” is katergazomai (kat-er-gad'-zom-ahee). The phrase means, to work fully, accomplish, to finish, fashion and perform. It means to bring to completion or to accomplish.

That means, Paul is exhorting us to accomplish, to finish or make complete our salvation. And Paul is careful to say in verse 13 that, “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

We need to work out our salvation because, we are still living in this world and every day we face sin and temptations.

This does not mean that our good works saves us. It means that having received salvation through faith we are now to finish it. This scripture says that we must co-operate with God in His work of sanctification to save us from sin, on a daily basis.

This understanding is the base for his proclamation that, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, (Philippians 3: 13 - NKJV)

Sanctification is our goal as believers in Christ. It is not instantaneous but is ongoing until the believer leaves this world and goes to heaven.


Sanctification process may be further divided into three categories. The first is the positional sanctification, the second is progressive sanctification and the third is final sanctification.


Positional sanctification is the way in which God sees us the moment we first believe. It is instant and accompanies salvation. God, existing apart from time, sees believers as holy, as if the work is already complete. Positional sanctification is closely related to the biblical doctrines of election and predestination.


2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,  (NKJV)

Progressive sanctification is the present and ongoing work of God through which we become more Christ-like. This divine work is effective to the degree that we cooperate with it. This occurs from the moment we are justified until the moment in time that we are glorified.

It is an ongoing work since we retain the sin nature for the duration of our lives, even though we have been redeemed and justified (1 John 1:8).


John 17: 15 - 19

15 "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

16 "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17 "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

18 "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

19 "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. (NKJV)


The final sanctification is essentially the same as glorification. It is a point in future in which God sees us as holy. Then and there our salvation will be complete. We will be holy in our condition as well as our position.


Romans 8:17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (NKJV)


Romans 8: 30  Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJV)


Work of Holy Spirit

Sanctification is the process whereby the believer moves from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. Over the time of sanctification, he learns God’s Word and makes right choices to live God’s will.

The Christian who advances to spiritual maturity does so only in the power of the Holy Spirit and on the basis of God’s Word daily learned and applied.


Sanctification differs from justification in several ways.

In justification our standing in the Lord is changed while in sanctification our character is changed. Justification occurs at the moment of salvation; it is a one-time work of God. Sanctification on the other hand is a continued process. It is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Sanctification is the process of making a person holy.

Sanctification is the process by which a believer transforms himself to more and more like God in His holiness. We are consecrated and set apart day after day till the day we die.

1 Thessalonians 5: 23, 24 says: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (23) He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (24) (NKJV)

Hebrews 13:12: “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.”


In short, sanctification means spiritual growth unto the holiness of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).

And this middle part of our salvation journey is of great importance.


Why we need a sanctification process? The basic reason why we need a process of sanctification is that the revelation of sin is progressive. Only when we come to Jesus do we actually realize what sin is. And as we walk with Jesus our understanding of sin becomes bigger and better. Things that we did not recognize as sin formerly, all of a sudden become sin to us.

 When we come to Christ we are conscious of a few sinful habits. We gladly give these up. But as we grow in grace and more light of Jesus comes into our lives we are aware of other wrong things. Things we did five years ago we would not do today, and things we do today we would not do five years from now.

This is the process of sanctification or holiness. This is working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is salvation present.

 Eighteen years after his conversion Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:9, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” (NKJV)

 Five or six years after writing to the Corinthians, he wrote in Ephesians 3:8, “To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,” (NKJV)

And one or two years after Ephesians, he wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (NKJV)

 What was the matter with Paul? Had be become worse after being saved? No! He only realized more and more his own need for sanctification. Paul never professed in his life time that he had accomplished the complete sanctification.

Sanctification happens as we are co-operating with God, allowing Him to work in us for His good purpose.




The third stage of salvation will occur in future. It is the ‘will be saved’ part of it. It is also our Glorification.

Glorification is the final phase of the saved sinner’s salvation experience. This happens as he leaves this world, either by death or by rapture and is reunited with the Lord Jesus in heaven. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

The believer never achieves sinless perfection until he is glorified in heaven. When we are glorified, our sin nature will be removed and is given a perfect glorified body.


Philippians 3:20, 21 

20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (NKJV)


Jesus died on the cross to save us from eternal death and to grant us eternal life. He will come again to complete our salvation by transforming our bodies into immortal glorified bodies to live with Him for all eternity.


Glorification is the process that makes a person perfect. It is a one-time act that will take place when Christ returns to replace our mortal bodies with an eternal one.

Glorification makes a believer perfect. This last part of the salvation journey is the resurrection of our earthly body.




So Salvation is not a onetime event in our life. It is an ongoing process that we started with a decision prayer. We have to accomplish our salvation as we live on this earth. Our salvation will be completed when we receive a glorified body without sin nature.

So, in our present life, we should maintain a sanctified walk with Jesus, just as Apostle Paul did.

Let us deal with the present and allow God daily to work in us for His purpose and glory.

Let us grow in holiness by completely submitting to the lordship of Jesus in every area of our lives and continuously leaving the past behind of all things that are not right with God.

Let us live as Jesus wants us to live, allow Him to work in us, have His way in us and let us be always open and sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.


Let me cut short. I hope this message has been a blessings to you.

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