Bible with Cross ShadowOur God is a process oriented problem solver. All of His creation operates in process: From birth to death, from dead in sin to alive in Christ, from glory to glory, etc. Give Him a problem and He will give you a process to solve it. The Bible is His story – the grand process that He is orchestrating to get back what was lost to Him and mankind in the Garden of Eden.

Most of the major topics of Scripture are process oriented. We are to continue and grow in some of them (e.g., faith, hope and love). Others are processes that God uses to mature us (e.g., tribulation, sanctification, transformation, and disciple-making). Even our salvation is a process; not a singular event.

Regrettably, we have become an event-focused people. “If it isn’t happening now, it just isn’t happening” is our motto. “What have you done for me today?” has become our measure.

This degraded perspective has affected our doctrine and our discipline. For example, we are more concerned with the event of a lost soul making a decision than with the processes of sanctification and discipleship. We give more attention to what we can squeeze out of God in 30-minute devotion events than we give to the life He wants to live in and through us every moment of the day.

Recognizing that God operates “in process” will dramatically change our perspective of the way we are to live in Christ. It will impact our relationship with God and with all of His creation.

Searching out the Matter

God created the Greek language to record the truths of the New Testament. It is a rich (some would say complicated) language; much more so than our English. Consequently, understanding the Bible requires some searching on our part; for many kingdom mysteries are hidden (Proverbs 25:2).

For those that have a love of the truth, searching out the Scriptures can be a most exciting and rewarding treasure hunt. One way to better understand the meaning of a particular verse is to explore the verb tenses that are used. Here are a few that we will consider:

Aorist Tense – The aorist is a “simple occurrence” or “summary occurrence” – a completed event – most often translated into the English past tense (e.g., “Jesus wept.”).

Present Tense – The present tense denotes continuous or progressive action. It shows ‘action in progress’ or ‘a state of persistence.’ (e.g., “…reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”).

Future Tense – The future tense corresponds to the English future, and indicates the certain or contemplated occurrence of an event which has not yet occurred (e.g., “… for they shall see God.”).

Verb tenses can be found using the tools provided in There are many online tutorials on the application of them to English translation. I encourage you, as one steward of the mysteries to another, to invest some of your energy in this area. As you will see in a moment, the rewards of understanding and revelation are great.

The Meaning of Salvation

Salvation (sōtēria): deliverance, preservation, safety, salvation; deliverance from the molestation of enemies; in an ethical sense, that which concludes to the soul’s safety or salvation (of Messianic salvation); salvation as the present possession of all true Christians; future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which the Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God. Outline of Biblical Usage,

If you read this definition carefully, you will get a sense of the process. Salvation is a present possession with a future conclusion. There is a beginning and an end. Most understand these to be justification and glorification, respectively.

Many understand the journey between the two to be sanctification. This is not correct. Sanctification is one of the processes of God, but it is not the transitional process of salvation. Search out the meaning of sanctification and you will discover the difference.

Salvation is a process unto itself. As you might now suspect, it is much more than most have been taught. Scripture makes this surprisingly obvious in light of the verb tenses mentioned above.

For by grace you have been saved (perfect tense) through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved (present tense) it is the power of God. 1Corinthians 1:18

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved (present tense) and among those who are perishing. 2Corinthians 2:15

Much more then, having now been justified (aorist tense) by His blood, we shall be saved (future tense) from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled (katallassō; aorist tense) to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled (same), we shall be saved (future tense) by His life. Romans 5:9-11

But he who endures to the end shall be saved (future tense). Matthew 24:13

As followers of Jesus Christ, we “have been saved”, we “are being saved” and we “shall be saved”. The implications of this are profound. For example, how do you answer the question: “When were you saved?”

It makes you think, doesn’t it? Good; for that is exactly what the Lord is after – followers that will love the truth enough to passionately search it out. In the process, we will be made free to more fully serve the LORD.

Before we go on, let’s stop and praise the LORD that salvation is a process; because it is a process where God is doing the greatest thing He has ever done for man; and not just in a moment, but in the full length and breadth of our lives. He is continuously and progressively saving us!!

The Life that Saves

Did you know that the effectual work of Christ’s death on the cross did not save us? Believe me, you are not alone in your objection. Take a survey. Ask your Christian friends, “What did Christ do to save you?” Most will say, “He died on the cross.” Paul had something different to say.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.   Romans 5:8-10

There is no question that Christ’s death was required and effectual. His death reconciled us to God. But, “much more, we shall be saved by His life”. Salvation is accomplished by His life, not by His death. Furthermore, there is “much more” to the effectualness of His life. Let me say it this way:

As much as our Savior’s death accomplished,

His life shall accomplish much more!

One of the greatest deceptions in the American church is that a Christian can live out of Christ’s death. We have allowed ourselves to settle for a ticket to heaven, bought by His death. The tragic and sobering truth is that His death will not get us there. Nothing less than His life will save us.

The Process of Belief

Our response to God’s offer of salvation is “to believe”. Is that one time belief? Given that salvation is a process, we might now suspect that belief is as well; and, indeed it is! This is evident in the most recognized verse in the Holy Bible.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

The verb tense of “believes” is the Greek present tense. It is a continuous and progressing action. We are to believe and keep on believing (a process).

A Greek scholar once shared with me that the meaning goes even deeper. After years of study and meditation (he’s 80 years old), he understands the verse to mean:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever is believing into Him should not perish but is having everlasting life.

Believing into Him… is having everlasting life. This is our progressive (and adventurous) life in Christ.


This Foundation may be the most challenging to your way of thinking about the Christian faith. It may challenge a number of strongly held convictions. Therefore, let me encourage you in this way: It may not mean exactly what I think it means, but it must mean something. You put meaning to it. Whatever it means to you, you share it; for it contains the power and liberty of the abundant life – the life of Christ that saves us.

Indeed, now is the time for Christian Leaders to ask themselves some important questions: How are we leading? Timidly, or boldly? In assurance of our faith, or with doubt and double-mindedness? With purity of heart, or with a grayish hypocrisy?

Remember, God is a process oriented problem solver; and there is no problem that He cannot solve – including the restoration of this Foundation. As we see in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, God will move powerfully on your behalf – beginning with the work He is doing in you. Consider and receive the following for yourself, and for those in your spheres of influence.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling (His purpose), what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (your assignment), and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe (His power), according to the working of His mighty power (His plan)…  Ephesians 1:15-19

The Father is working in us. His Son is making us. The Holy Spirit is transforming us. If we are to join Him in the work, we must do things His way. His ways are active, continuous and progressive. The processes of our faith are the adventures of our life in Christ!


It is really quite simple (though not necessarily easy): As Leaders, we are called to lead those within our spheres of influence into and through the processes God has established for our growth as the Body of Christ. We must recognize that these are processes that take time and attention. We must fight the temptation to be event oriented in our responsibilities to the Master.

Furthermore, we must encourage, edify and equip others to do the same. As Jesus said, “Go and make disciples”.


  • Review the Bible passages presented here. Study and meditate on those that may have challenged your understanding. Ask the Lord to give meaning to them for you.
  • Ask God for the strength and courage to share this Foundation others in your spheres of influence.

Recommended Reading

The following are some of my favorite books on this subject. Most can be found at your local Christian book store, or at one of the many online distributors.

The Normal Christian Life; Watchman Nee

Humbly yours and forever His,