Salvation in scripture is past, present and future. In the Old Testament the saving, redemptive act of God was the Exodus of the people of Israel out of slavery, escaping from Egypt back to the Promised Land, the Passover along with the crossing of the Red Sea on dry ground, highlights of that. In the New Testament, the saving, redemptive act is Christ’s death and resurrection from the dead to redeem God’s people, all who put their faith in him. Ultimately to save the world in terms of judging the evil as in “putting the world to rights” and making all things new in the new creation in Jesus.
Salvation is past, present and future throughout most of scripture, and to us now. It is of God, in other words it is God who saves. The best we can do is aspire to be included in that salvation, but we can’t add or subtract from it ourselves. It is entirely of God and not of us at all. But God promises salvation in and through Jesus to all who have faith, to those who believe his word and trust him.
We trust God on the basis of the salvation that is in Jesus. We are baptized into Christ’s death so that we might live a new life through his resurrection, beginning even now in this life. So salvation is in the present, God by the Spirit carrying on the good work he began in us in and through Jesus. And we participate in that, putting to death by the Spirit, the misdeeds of the body.
In all of that, we look forward to the final outcome. Without that hope, Christianity would not be what it actually is. It is God’s Story with a good, forever ending. We can have confidence in the present that what God is doing now through the past saving act in Jesus, will be completed in the future. We can rest assured on that, no matter how bleak at times it may look now.
Never for a moment is the salvation that is ours in Jesus of ourselves. We can’t save ourselves or anyone else, except in the sense of seeking to be those who trust and obey and thus avail themselves of God’s salvation. Just as the people of Israel of old did when they kept the Passover. Because of God’s past saving act in Christ through the cross, we can be assured that salvation will continue on in the present and be completed in the future.