Three ways we experience Salvation

A “Threefold Salvation”

You may have heard of the “threefold aspect” of salvation: salvation from (1) Sin’s Penalty; (2) Sin’s Power in our daily lives, and (3) Sin’s Presence (when God provides a sinless environment for believers in the future. This is a Bible truth that is clearly inferred rather than expressly stated in Scripture. When God speaks of salvation He does not allow us a menu selection! Scripture contemplates a saved person is completely saved, so does not use “saved” to describe only relief from sin’s penalty without relief from its power and presence. Praise God for that! Hence, the analysis of Bible references below is one that considers emphasis not fully distinct meanings, and there is considerable overlap.

We usually emphasize the three aspects in order to address concerns of people who think salvation depends on their good deeds or that they can be saved and lost again. So Scriptures that without detailed examination seem to say that (e.g. Jn 16:1; Heb.3:12; 6:4-6; 1 Jn 5:16) are properly explained as referring not to loss of relief from sins’ penalty, but loss of a life of service. Likewise, scriptures like Phil.2:12,13 which speak of “working out” our salvation are aligned with service rather than working for relief from a penalty.

Perhaps the most effective reasoning to deal with such errors is to ask why the doubter thinks Christ’s sacrifice is inadequate and their works more effective than His (supposed) incomplete sacrifice! Of course, God was entitled to set any conditions He saw fit in order for Him to regard us as saved. But Scripture is clear, He has not chosen to make us work to escape His eternal punishment; it is a free gift: “for the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.6:23). And this is emphasized by Paul in the same letter to the Romans: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness (Rom.4:4,5). And even more clearly in Ephesians 2:8,9 ” For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Here then are about 100 New Testament references to being “saved”. They are listed, generally in the order they appear in the New Testament, under three main headings, plus a fourth to capture unusual ones. If you hover your cursor over any reference the whole verse will be highlighted for you easily to check it out, or click on the reference so you can see it in its context. The references in bold type are perhaps most clear in the aspect of salvation they are addressing in their wider context:


Matt.1:21; Lk.8:12
Jn 3:17; 5:34; 10:9; 12:47
Acts 2:21,47; 4:12; 11:14;15:1,11; 16:30, though could be physical salvation; Acts 16:31
Rom.5:9; Rom.9:27; Rom.10:9,13; Rom.11:14,26
1 Cor.1:18,21; 3:15; 9:22
2 Cor.2:15 contra those who are “perishing”
1 Thess.2:16
2 Thess.2:10,13
1 Tim.1:15; 2:4
Heb.7:25 though context is being saved as we approach God, so B. too
1 Pet.4:18
Jude 1:23 in context of reaching the perishing

Matt.18:11; Lk.19:10; Jn 10:9 as powerless sheep are saved from being lost
Lk.9:24,56 by surrendering life for the sake of Christ
Acts 2:40 (though could be classified as A).
1 Cor.10:33 in context of saving from error
1 Cor.15:2 “being saved” the ongoing result of true belief
1 Tim.4:16 a saved life of service
2 Tim.1:9 saved, and called to serve
Titus 3:5
Jas.1:21; Jas.2:14; 4:12; 5:20
1 Pet.3:21 baptism saving the believer’s conscience

Matt.10:22; Mk.10:26 after the Great Tribulation
Rom.8:24; Rom.13:11
1 Cor.3:15; 5:5 (a difficult verse)
2 Tim.4:18
1 Pet.1:9 though this may be better under B.
2 Pet.3:10-14 included, though “saved” not stated


Matt.8:25; 14:30; Mk.3:4; 5:23,28,34; 6:56; Lk.6:9; Acts 16:30 (perhaps); Acts 27:20,31 Physical salvation, e.g. from drowning
Matt.9:21; Mk.10:52; Lk.7:50; 8:36,48,50; 17:19; Acts 4:9; 14:9; Jas.5:15 Healing. Physical salvation from effects of sickness
Matt.16:25; 27:40,42,49; Mk.8:35; Mk.15:30,31; Lk.9:24; 23:35,37,39 Hoped for physical salvation through human effort/merit
Matt.19:25; 24:13,22; Mk.13:13; Lk.13:23; 18:26 Being saved by entering the (future) kingdom of God, akin to B
Jn 12:27 Jesus not saved from the Cross
1 Cor.7:16 spouse “saves” lost husband/wife by evangelism
1 Tim.2:15 women saved as child bearers, or as ones through whom the Seed of the woman came.
Heb.5:7 God able to save Christ from death
Jude 1:5 Israel saved from Egypt

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