In the New Testament the word |Salvation| has a threefold scope -- past, present and future, which, respectively, has reference to our deliverance from the penalty, the power, and the presence of sin. When we say, above, that our Hope is not the Salvation of the soul, we mean that it is not our deliverance from the wrath to come which is the prospect God sets before His people. To certain of our readers it may appear almost a wearisome waste of time for us to discuss these points, but for the sake of the class for which this work is specially designed we would ask them to bear with us in patience. In these days when the Bible is so grievously neglected both in the pulpit and in the pew, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. Multitudes of those in our churches are ignorant of the most elementary truths of the Christian faith. Experience shows that comparatively few people are clear about even the A, B, C, of the Gospel. Talk to the average church-member, and only too often it will be found that he has nothing more than a vague and uncertain hope about his personal salvation. He is |trying to live up to the light that he has,| he is |doing his best,| and he hopes that, somehow, everything will come out right in the end. He does not dare to say I know I have passed from death unto life, but he hopes to go to Heaven at the last.
Nowhere does Scripture present the Salvation of the soul as the believer's hope. Salvation from the guilt, the penalty, the wages, of sin is something for which believers thank God even now. Said our Lord to His disciples, |Rejoice, because your names are written in heaven| (Luke 10:20). The present-tense aspect of our salvation is presented in many Scriptures -- |Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life| (John 5:24). How simple and definite this is! Eternal life is something which every believer in Christ already possesses, and for him there is no possibility of future condemnation in the sense of having to endure God's wrath. Again we read, |Beloved now are we the sons of God| (1 John 3:2). We do not have to obey God's commandments, walk worthy, and serve the Lord, in order to become God's children, we are to do these things because we are, already, members of the household of faith. The salvation or redemption of our bodies is future, for it will not be until our Saviour's return that he |shall| change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body| (Phil.3:21). But the salvation of the soul, deliverance from the wrath to come, is an accomplished fact for every sinner, that has received the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour. All such have been |accepted in the Beloved| (Eph.1:6). All such have been |made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light| (Col.1:12). all such have been |perfected for ever| (Heb.10:14). So far as their standing before God is concerned.
As another has said, |Salvation is not away off yonder at the gates of Heaven; salvation is at the cross. The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared, and it brings salvation all the way down to where the sinner is -- right there. You know our Lord's own picture of it. It is the illustration to which my mind recurs most instantly -- that illustration of the good Samaritan. You know how beautifully that shadows out this blessed truth; that just as the good Samaritan went down the Jericho road and ministered to the wretch who lay there half dead, pouring oil into his wounds right there where he lay, just so the grace of God, that brings salvation, has come to the sinner in the place where he lies in his sins. No matter how great a sinner he may be, if he can be persuaded to turn the eye of faith toward the cross, there salvation comes| (Dr. C. I. Scofield). Again --