The Three R's Of Salvation
Salvation is the most important topic we can discuss and experience in our entire lives.  Nothing on this earth is more valuable than the certainty of knowing that we have been born again and have the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Recently while studying the writings of the apostle Peter it became evident that from Peter's perspective (which came through revelation from the Lord), salvation is more than just a one time event that we experience at a certain point in our lives.  Instead, salvation is a definite event, a dynamic process and a determined hope, all at the same time.

Salvation is directly related to the essence of God and the essence of human beings.  Just as God is Triune, humans are triune as well.  God reveals Himself to humans in terms of relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He also created humans as tripartite beings:  spirit, soul (mind), and body.  When the first two people who had been created rebelled in disobedience against God, the aftermath of their "missing the mark" (sin) affected their entire beings.  Their spirits were separated from direct fellowship and intimate communication with God; their souls were separated from the knowledge and wisdom of God; and their bodies were separated from the perpetual, sustaining, life-giving power of God (the tree of life).

The Bible identifies this separation from God as death.  Death is not an annihilation or ceasing to exist; rather, death is a continued existence apart from the physical body (in the case of natural death) and apart from the presence and power of God (in the case of spiritual death).  A person who dies physically is separated from their body.  Their spirit and soul (which remain undivided) leave the body at death and go to a place God determines.  Similarly, a person who is spiritually dead remains separated from God and cannot enter his presence or enjoy his glory.  The ultimate end of such people is permanent separation from God unless they accept the provision God has made to restore their relationship and fellowship with Him.

Sin is a spiritual force which separates people from God by changing their nature from agreement with God's character into rebellion and self-will against God.  Sin begins in the supra-natural spirit realm and impacts the physical realm in the human soul (mind) in the form of thoughts.  When sinful thoughts are entertained and accepted, they result in sinful actions.  Therefore, sin must be fought at the level of thought to achieve real victory.

Salvation is the entire work of God in delivering the spirits, minds and bodies of people from the power and penalty of sin.  Just as sin affects the entire person (spirit, soul and body), salvation equally affects the entire person.  Salvation is an event, a process and a hope.  The Scriptures in 1 Peter mentioned earlier points this out quite well, and is supported by numerous other passages of Scripture.
 

First, Peter tells us that we (those who are believers in Jesus Christ) have been (at a specific point in time) given new birth.  Jesus Himself clarifies for us what this term means in His discussion with Nicodemus and the Jews of Israel in the first century.
  Jesus identified the new birth with the beginning of spiritual life and indicated that such life comes from the Holy Spirit of God as a source.  Without this new birth experience it is impossible for anyone to enter into a relationship with God.

The most common understanding among people of the meaning of the word "salvation" is in direct reference to the new birth experience.  Terms like "getting saved" are used to describe this spiritual event in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.  However, further study of the Scriptures reveals that in the understanding of the apostles, the meaning of the word "salvation" is not limited to the new birth.
 

First Peter declares that we have been given new birth into a living hope and an inheritance.  Next, he describes our present standing with God as believers (through faith we are shielded by His power).  Then he makes reference to a salvation that "is coming" in the last days.  This salvation he is referring to cannot be the new birth because it is a hope for those who already have been born again.  The key to understanding the meaning of this "coming salvation" must be found in the study of other verses of Scripture.
  The preceding passages of Scripture make it clear that there is an aspect of our salvation that is scheduled to be fulfilled in the future and is distinct from the new birth.  The new birth is an event we experience now, at a specific point in time, that begins our relationship with God.  The blessed hope is also a part of our salvation and it will happen on a day and hour set by the authority of our Heavenly Father.  Yet both of these, the event and the hope, are salvation!

But that is not all.....
 

Peter states that these people who have been given new birth and who have a salvation to be revealed in the future, are right now, on a continuing basis, receiving the salvation of their souls!  This is different from the new birth by the Spirit of God which brings salvation to their spirits.  It is different from the blessed hope which will bring salvation for their bodies.  Rather, it is a present tense salvation going on right now, and continuing day by day.

So from the mouth of the Lord's apostle comes a definition of salvation that includes an event, a process and a hope.  All of these are salvation:  the new birth, the salvation of the soul, and the redemption of the body.  One way I like to refer these aspects of salvation is with three R's:  Regeneration, Renewal and Resurrection.

1.    The new birth is the regeneration of the human spirit.
2.    The salvation of the soul is the renewing of the mind.

The renewing of the mind is a process that takes place daily as the Holy Spirit works in us.

3.    The resurrection is the salvation of the body.

Our salvation will be complete and fulfilled only when all three of these elements of salvation have taken place.  Salvation isn't the partial work of God, it is the entire work of God.  Salvation is delivering the spirit, soul and body from the power and penalty of sin.  As a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I can accurately say:

 I am saved.
I am being saved.
I will be saved.
Each of these statements are true all at the same time.