Salvation in Three Tenses

Ephesians 1:3–14 shows us the beautiful truth of our salvation in three tenses.


Verses 3–6 show us what God did in eternity past. He declared us His own before the foundation of the world. We are not an accident, but He has called us to Him to be like Him. He has bestowed upon us great dignity, that we should be made in His image and adopted as His children.

Verses 7–12 transition to the Incarnation, the work of the Son to execute God’s plan to adopt us. Jesus took on our humanity so He could become our substitute and redeem us by the blood of the cross. He took on the sins of the world and our death for us, and gave us His life instead.


Verses 13–14 tell us of our present state, the quality of life we live in Christ. We have a vitality now, a new dignity in the present tense. We have already obtained an inheritance and are positionally sanctified in Christ.


While we have our inheritance now in one sense, we still await the fullness of it. Verses 13–14 not only show us our present quality of life, but they also look ahead to the future, when Christ will come again and ultimately sanctify us.

The Holy Spirit provides security for our inheritance—He is a promise of what is to come. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a seal, an affirmation that what God has promised, He will fulfill.

We can view this as a sort of down payment. We experience every spiritual blessing now, but what we have received is only the beginning. God will provide far more than we can currently imagine.

The hope we have because of the seal of the Spirit is better than any hope we could have in this world. All of us have experienced dead hopes of some sort, dreams that have vanished and left us unsatisfied. But we have a living hope in Christ, assurance of the abundance of the life to come.

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