Derek Prince - Your Salvation Is An Ongoing Process
This is an excerpt from: Complete Salvation And How To Receive It - Part 1
Now, our appropriating the benefits of the sacrifice is progressive. I don't believe there's one person here this evening, myself included, who has appropriated as yet all that's been made available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. And we need at this point to make a rather important distinction between the new birth and salvation. Let's look for a moment in John 1 about the new birth. John 1:11-13. Speaking about Jesus: John 1:11-13. He came to his own place [or his own home] and his people did not receive him Thank God for the word but, you know. Thank God that that's not the end.
There's some wonderful but's in the Bible. What about Romans 6:22: The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. And here His own did not receive Him. Thank God that's not the last word. but as many as received him, to them gave he the right [I prefer to say the authority which is the word] to become children of God, even to those who believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man, but of God. Born of God, that's the new birth. What's the key to the new birth? It's important that we all know this. I'm able to state is simply. In my life, thank God, particularly in street meetings in the city of London and other similar places I've had the privilege of leading hundreds of people into the new birth. And I say to them if you want to be born again, there's one thing you have to do. You have to receive Him.
As many as received Him. You've got to open your heart personally, and welcome the Lord in. He says, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man heard my voice and opens the door, I will come in.' What a blessing it is to assure people if you've invited Him in, He's kept His promise. He has come in. But, the new birth is just a one time experience. In a certain sense, much of it is potential. We receive authority to become children of God. Now, authority is useless if you don't use it. So what we will become depends on how much we use the authority that we've received. But receiving Jesus, being born again in itself is a one time experience. I don't believe a person ever needs to be born again twice.
When I ministered in Africa to the Africans, an African's attitude is there's no harm in asking for it. I love the African people but if you give an African a pair of shoes he'll say, 'Thank you, Bwana, but where are the socks?' So, if they know there's something to be received by asking for it, they'll come and ask. It's not difficult to get people to come forward in sub Sahara in Africa on an appeal, it's difficult to stop them coming forward. And what I struggled with with my students I was teaching was once you've asked you don't have to keep asking. He's come. You don't have to keep repeating it. He's there.
In fact, the real victory was when they didn't come forward, you see? Because then they really grasped the fact that they'd received Him. But what I'm saying is that's a one time experience. On the other hand, salvation is an ongoing process. It's not a one time experience. And when you grasp that fact it will give you clarity in your thinking. Yes you are born again. Thank God. But as for salvation, how far have you come? Maybe not very far. Salvation is an ongoing process and let me come back to tenses. It's in three tenses. We've got examples of each in the New Testament. It's in the perfect tense, it's in the simple past, and in the continuing present. The perfect tense, look for a moment in Ephesians 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith. That's the perfect tense.
Actually, if you were to translate it literally: 'By grace you are having been saved.' It's perfect. You've never got to add to it. But that's not the only tense. You turn to Titus 3:5. Once I talk about Africa my mind tends to stay there. This is one of the verses I used to teach my students. IN Swahili, the language of East Africa, the word for Titus is Tito. The word for three is tatu, and the word for five is tanu. So see, Tito tatu tanu. It becomes pretty easy to remember. This is what Titus 3:5 says: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he [God] saved us. That's the simple past. At a specific moment in time God saved me.
About midnight on a Friday evening late in July 1941 God saved me. And every one of us has got to have more than just the perfect. We've got to have the moment when we entered into salvation. See? And then in 1 Corinthians 1:18 we have the continuing present. 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. That's the continuing present tense. To us who are continually being saved. So, we have an experience, a one time experience in which we say God saved me. Through that experience we entered into a perfect salvation which is already complete, we are having been saved. But at the same time that salvation continues to work in us, we are continually being saved.
I found a very simple vivid way to illustrate this was Noah's ark. Every ark in the Old Testament is a picture of Christ, really. There are two main arks, the big ark of Noah and the little ark of Moses. The big ark speaks of me in Christ. The little ark speaks of Christ in me. But each of them speaks of Christ. Well, let's take the ark of Noah, the big ark. Salvation came through entering into that ark. At a certain point Noah, and his family entered into the ark. They were saved. But the ark was already complete and perfect. It was built exactly according to God's instructions, it never had to be repaired, it never had to be adjusted or improved or recalled. It worked thank God it did because it would have been too bad if it hadn't! That's perfect salvation, you understand?
So the single moment they entered into the ark, they entered into a perfect salvation. But all the time they were in the ark the ark was continually saving them from the water that raged all around them. So if you have difficulty in distinguishing between the three tenses, each of which applies, think in terms of the ark. The one time experience is entering into the ark. The ongoing experience is being continually saved by the ark from the flood. But the complete salvation is the perfect ark in which you already enter. It's interesting that both Noah and Jesus were carpenters and each of them provided a vessel of salvation. Noah's was physical, Jesus' spiritual but it's perfect.