What are the four dimensions of salvation?



Salvation in the bible refers to the free gift of eternal life given to someone the moment they truly believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour (Acts 4:10-12). The word also entails the idea of “deliverance”, which speaks of the dramatic spiritual conversion or transformation that occurs at the point of Salvation. Therefore, in order to truly have saving faith in Christ, a person must experience this deliverance by fully recognizing their sinful state before God. Upon realizing their own personal sin, they can then see Christ as their only Saviour and ask Him for forgiveness. In this spiritual but real transaction, a person is delivered or freed from death to life, darkness to light, and from being a slave to sin to a slave of righteousness (Colossians 1:13-14; Romans 6:11). Salvation as an umbrella term also gives to the believer: justification, sanctification, and glorification.




Justification speaks of our legal standing before God our father and judge. This is a one-time event that occurs at the moment of salvation. Prior to salvation, every sinner lived in eternal condemnation before God because of their sinful state and rebellion against His perfect and just laws (John 3:18). However, upon receiving Salvation the sinner who was guilty on all charges received a gracious judicial sentence: justification. Because Christ bears in himself the sins of humanity, God the father views Christ as though He was guilty on the cross though he was not (2 Corinthians 5:21). In this sense God’s judgment is cast upon Christ and not on the sinner who was truly guilty. In this great exchange, Christ imputes His righteousness to us while He receives in full the penalty of our sin and guilt. Therefore, because Christ takes away our sin and gives to us His own perfect righteousness, we stand justified before God our judge. Now when God sees a believer, he does not see their sin but the righteousness of Christ planted within them. Justification is vital to our salvation because it allows our holy God to exist in fellowship with sinful humanity. Romans chapter 5 continues to explain this concept in full.




Sanctification is both an instantaneous and progressive reality in salvation. This word speaks of the way in which God made us holy or purified at the moment of our conversion. The payment of Christ’s blood and death at the cross was sufficient in completely regenerating our souls. God removed our heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). In this process, we have been made holy by the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10). Thus, it is clear from scripture that we have been sanctified and made holy at the moment of our salvation. However, from that point on we still need to continue on being holy (1 Peter 1:16). Paul would deem this the "working out" of our salvation or what James affirms as the work we render unto God in faith and obedience (Philippians 2:12; James 2:14-19). Why would we need to continue in sanctification if we have already been sanctified? There are a few reasons why this is the case.


Firstly, God did not immediately take us to heaven in our conversion, instead he left us here on the earth to be the representation of His kingdom in the world. This means that we are still exposed to the presence of sin which can tempt us and lead us astray. Secondly, although our heart and soul have been delivered by God we still exist as humans in our flesh. Our sinful flesh is still susceptible to sin and even more so because it is enticed by the sin around us in this world. However, because we have been sanctified and set free from sin’s mastery over us, we have the ability to reject sin in our daily lives. Before Christ, we were enslaved to our sinful desires but now we no longer have to let sin reign in our fleshly bodies (Romans 6:12). All born-again believers possess this newly given ability of choosing not to sin.


This offers so much hope to every Christian. Through sanctification, Christ has empowered every believer to conquer sin every day. Progressive sanctification speaks of this ongoing reality. This is the life-long process of sinning less and less across the remainder of our earthly life. We are now compelled and commanded to commit ourselves to this purification process of obedience. There are a few ways in which God helps us as we fight sin on a daily basis.

  • The Holy Spirit within us enables us to be sanctified (1 Peter 1:2). Galatians 5:13-26 commands us to walk by the Spirit so that we do not gratify the desires of the flesh and fall into sin. God has put His Spirit within our hearts so that we would no longer have to fight sin on our own strength. The Holy Spirit can convict us and lead us away from evil thoughts and behaviours. In this manner, it is no longer we who live our Christian lives but Christ who lives within us (Galatians 2:20).
  • The Word of God (the Bible) sanctifies us. By continually exposing our minds and hearts to the word of God, believers can be assured of sanctification (John 17:17; Romans 12:1-2). The Holy Spirit will remind us of the words of scripture as we go about our daily lives, and it will lead us out of temptation into righteousness (Psalm 119:11).
  • Lastly surrounding yourself with other Godly people will aid you in your sanctification process. God will use other Christians around you (almost always from your local church), to encourage you toward obedience and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Paul said “follow me as I follow Christ” in his writings to the Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 11:1). We can interpret this to mean that other Godly men and women can have a sanctifying effect on us. This is also mentioned to us as a part of discipleship in Titus chapter 2.



Glorification is the fulfillment of the salvation we received in Christ. This is the last awaited promise for the believer in addition to all of the great things mentioned above. All true Christians living on the earth either await their death so that they can be with Christ in heaven, or the rapture in which Christ will come to take them to be with Him. In either case, this idea of being with Christ in an eternal state is what we mean by glorification. The main transition that will take place is that we will finally leave our fleshly bodies and be given a brand-new glorified state that is imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). At this moment, we will be fully delivered from the presence of sin and its effects on our lives because we will dwell fully in the holy presence of Jesus Christ in heaven. This is a very supernatural reality that we have limited knowledge on however, we can be assured that this is our glorious inheritance as God’s children.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

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