Instant salvation is something many have been wrongly taught about including the Jehovah's Witnesses. Among the various errors they spread about salvation, their denial of an instant and present-tense salvation for the believer in Christ is easily refuted. What confuses this issue are the other tenses in salvation too. Let's look at the evidence.
When Paul was writing the epistles, his own salvation was past tense while he also possessed it in the present tense and likewise referred to the future tense, that is, assuming he would continue to faithfully following the Lord Jesus to the very end. He would have to:
● Endure to the end to be saved (Mt. 10:22),
● Hold firmly to the end the confidence he had at first to share in Christ (Heb. 3:14)
● Remain faithful to God to the point of death not to be hurt by the second death (Rev. 2:10,11).
But Paul still had a present tense salvation at that moment in time because he had Jesus. Paul was not unique, that is, other faithful Christians had the same.
Since the Jehovah's Witnesses deny an instant salvation for Christians, let's note the following clear Biblical evidence to the contrary:
Very soon after a woman found instant forgiveness, Jesus spoke the following:
Past Tense of Instant Salvation
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)
Salvation came instantly and it came because of her personal faith. Similar to that instant salvation experience is the one with Zacchaeus. Carefully read what the Lord said to him:
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” (Luke 19:9)
Again, instant salvation is clear. Such came to Zacchaeus who expressed the following just before the Lord spoke those words:
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” (Luke 19:8)
His heart-felt repentance, which was needed for salvation, is reflected with those words.
At the Jerusalem council, the Apostle Peter said the following about the one and only way to find salvation for both Jews and Gentiles:
Instant Salvation Mentioned At
The Jerusalem Council
No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. (Acts 15:11)
In particular, Peter was speaking of the Gentile Cornelius, who was instantly saved at the point of a trusting and submitting faith in Jesus and without water baptism, joining any organization, etc. (Acts 10:43-48). The point is: salvation is shown to be instant.
Then we have Paul who wrote to the Christians at Ephesus and stated the following:
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph 2:5)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8)
Twice Paul stated in the clearest way that the Ephesians had already been saved and that occurred by grace from their faith in the Lord Jesus.
Later Paul wrote to Timothy about their common salvation. Again, it is shown that Paul believed he had already been saved and Timothy had salvation too:
[God] who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, (2 Tim 1:9)
Similarly, Paul wrote to Titus and again stated they had already been saved:
he [God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5)
This is all clear undeniable proof that salvation comes instantly and at the point of turning away from sins and having a trusting-submitting faith in Jesus (Acts 20:21). The same concept is expressed here:
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (Rom 5:9)
Salvation is also shown to be present tense for the ones who are still following Jesus:
Present Tense of Instant Salvation
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:12,13)
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. (John 6:47)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor 1:18)
For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Cor 2:15)
The follower of Christ has eternal life now (he has instant salvation now) and is also being saved as long as he continues to have Jesus.
Then we read of the necessity to remain with God to the very end for final salvation:
Future Tense of Instant Salvation
All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mat 10:22)
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. (Phil 1:27,28)
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Heb 3:14)
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. (Rev 2:10,11)
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Mark 10:29,30)
The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:8,9)
While the Jehovah's Witnesses reject an instant present-tense salvation through a 100% trust and obedient-faith in the Lord Jesus, the misinformed eternal security proponents deny a future tense salvation, which only comes for those who finish their earthly life in faithful obedience.
This has created new problems because when a Jehovah's Witness starts to question the various teachings of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the majority of countercult ministries in our day are, unfortunately, eternal security proponents!
If the new former Jehovah's Witness makes the serious mistake to start believing in eternal security, then the above Scriptures showing Christians must endure hatred and persecution to the end for salvation (which some have not endured) is a brand new Scripture-conflicting problem. We must, therefore, consider all of the truth on the tenses of salvation (including instant salvation) or we will be dangerously deceived.
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