“For Us and For Our Salvation”
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.
Titus 3:4-5 ESV
Q. Why did the Son of God come down from heaven?
A. For us and our salvation, as it explained in the Nicene Creed.
Q. What does it mean when the Creed says the Son of God came down from heaven, “For us”?
A. This phrase teaches us that He came to earth neither for one nation or for some people only, but for all.
Q. What does it means when the Nicene Creed says, “for our salvation”?
A. Salvation is God’s deliverance of men and women from the effects of the Fall through Christ’s life, death, and resurrection by bringing full and complete restoration to creation, transformation of our hearts and lives, and renewal of God’s intentions and purposes.
Q. Is this salvation effective for our past sins, present ills, and future judgment?
A. In fact, salvation has three tenses, past, present and future. We have been saved (in the past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Savior. We are being saved (in the present) from the power of sin by a living Savior. We shall be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming Savior.
Q. What did Christ come to save us from?
A. Christ came to save us from the world and its influence, sin and its bondage, the flesh and its passions, the devil and his temptations, and death and its finality.
Salvation is a big and comprehensive word. It embraces the totality of God’s saving work, from beginning to end. In fact salvation has three tenses, past, present and future. I am myself always grateful to the good man who led me to Christ over forty years ago that he taught me, raw and brash young convert that I was, to keep saying: ‘I have been saved (in the past) from the penalty of sin by a crucified Saviour. I am being saved (in the present) from the power of sin by a living Saviour. And I shall be saved (in the future) from the very presence of sin by a coming Saviour’. . .
If therefore you were to ask me, ‘Are you saved?’ there is only one correct biblical answer which I could give you: ‘yes and no.’ Yes, in the sense that by the sheer grace and mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ my Saviour he has forgiven my sins, justified me and reconciled me to himself. But no, in the sense that I still have a fallen nature and live in a fallen world and have a corruptible body, and I am longing for my salvation to be brought to its triumphant completion.
John Stott, “The Messenger and God: Studies in Romans 1-5”, in Believing and Obeying Jesus Christ, ed. J. W. Alexander (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 1980), 10 (paragraphing mine).