How many licks to the center of the Salvation Pop?

What does it mean to be saved?  The question is not, what is the end result of salvation?  The question is what form does salvation take?  Is it a singular event, or is it a multiple event as some teach?

There is a doctrine of salvation that says it takes three licks to get to the center of the salvation pop.  The first lick is we have been saved.  The second is we are being saved.  The third is we will be saved.  This is called the three tenses of salvation.  Ironically the doctrine of the three tenses of salvation by necessity buys into another doctrine called once saved always saved or eternal security.

This doctrine states, the elect have been saved before time began, and at confession of Christ are being saved.  Then addressing the hope of salvation found in scripture, and its future coming with Christ, they say they will be saved.

Question, how many of us hope for what we have?  Do you hope for that car in your driveway?  Do you look forward to the day you get it?  How about that vacation you took?  You know the one.  Do you still hope for it as if you never took it?  Ok ladies, how many of you who have an engagement ring, hope for the day your man will ask you to marry you?  None of you do this.  Why because we do not hope for what we already have.

The doctrine of Paul is the same concerning our salvation, did you know this?  We have been so consumed with the diet of salvation from church, that we miss what Paul preached in his gospel.  That is no one hopes for what he has.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?  But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.[1]

Should we doubt if Paul’s doctrine of hope is scriptural?  If there is any doubt on its biblical validity, maybe we should compare it to that famous verse on possessing what we hope for.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.[2]

Woops, my mistake.  The scripture doesn’t teach we have what we hope for, it says we hope for what we do not see.  In fact how can we say we posses faith and at the same time say we have what we hope for.  If we have what we hope for then it is no longer faith is it?

So when we throw around the words, “I have been saved,” we need to remember Paul’s doctrine of hope.  That is we have been saved into a hope.  Our hope is not in what we posses, but what wait for.  Who hopes for what he already has?

It is God Himself who expresses this hope in our gospel.  This hope in our gospel is the New Testament doctrine of God calling things that are not as if they were.

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.[3]

So in our gospel, Paul’s doctrine of hope is inline with what it means to have faith and also in line with the nature of our God who speaks of our salvation, that which is not, as if it were.  But of course our natural response is, “Not in our gospel you don’t,” even though this is a New Testament teaching. 

Finally, what can we say we have been saved from?  How about that New Testament doctrine of being saved from being slaves to sin.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–[4]

I like that, don’t you like that?  No longer being slaves to sin.  Now that is definitely something we are saved from now, but it is not our salvation that we hope for.

Sow how many licks does it take to get to the center of a salvation pop?

Past salvation, being saved, will be saved, which goes against Paul’s doctrine of hope, goes against what faith is, goes against the nature of our God.

Or is it we were saved into a hope, God calls things that are not as if they were and we are saved from being slaves to sin.

Either way it takes three licks to get to the center of the matter.  The question is, who are you recieving your candy from?

[1] Romans 8:24-25

[2] Hebrews 11:1-2

[3] Romans 4:17

[4] Romans 6:6

14 thoughts on “How many licks to the center of the Salvation Pop?

  1. Yep, you’re right. God does not call things that are not as if they were, especially in our gospel.

    You’re right again, Paul never talked about hoping for what we do not have.

    Being on the role you are, Bingo! There is not a teaching in the New Testament that we are free from being slaves to sin.

    And lastly, I capitulate to your superior understanding or the Word of God, because it is pop theology to think that faith is hoping for what we do not yet have.

  2. Dave,

    There can be no “time constraints” on the pastor-teacher. He must “study to show himself approved to God” (2 Tim. 2:15). The Irish Articles are not really that long, digest the whole, is my challenge!

  3. Guys, I like your comments here, but on my side of town, it is much more complicated. I am being hammered with folks who point out to me that Baptism is part is salvation, meaning nobody can be saved apart from being baptized and one must know baptism is in order to be forgiven. David seen some of Daniel arguments on the other blog, stop by I see the comments from Daniel and Shawn Paden-church of Christ preacher. They contend all are lost who disagree. Your input would be good, but if not, I understand.


    • Randy,
      I am not one that believes in baptismal regeneration, but I am also not “Zwinglian” on baptism either. It is a ‘sign & seal’ of salvation, and all Christians should be baptised, but it does not save in and of itself. Yet again, it is a very important “sacrament” in the Church, and is the ‘sign & seal’ of the Christians salvation. I am also one myself that believes and practices covenant baptism, which includes infants of believers.

      I would point to Acts 10: 44-48, to show that baptism itself is not the thing itself or salvation, but the sign & seal of that reality. Also, a close study of 1 Peter 3:18-22, shows that baptism does have a “sign” of salvation. But the reality of the sign is Christ Risen and Ascended, (21-22). See also Rom. 6: 3-9, etc. (Note, verse 17, “that form”)

  4. I agree, but the arguments of the church of Christ can be hard to refute. If you can, check out a couple on my blog. Their pet verse rest upon Acts 2:38 primarily — the Greek word EIS.

  5. EIS, is a Greek preposition…Into, Unto. The Greek prepositions are like little eyes, pointing to and from, and in, around, and away from, along. Also, over, against, facing, before, behind, with, in company with. With “genitive”, in the midst of. among, between. And with the “accusative”, after.

    APO, From
    EK, From, Out of
    ANTI, Over against
    EIS, Into, Unto
    EN, In, By
    EPI, On, Upon
    PERI, About, Concerning
    PARA, By the side of, From

    Sorry, I don’t have the apparatus for the real Greek writing on my computer.

    In Acts 2:38, it is baptism unto/upon the authority of Jesus Christ. This is not the baptismal formula, nor the action that literal sin is washed away. Note, in Acts 22: 16, it is in the middle voice in the Greek, and thus not “the” act of real washing itself.

    I hope this helps a bit?

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