While someone may not be “partly dead” or “mostly dead” as in The Princess Bride, it is biblical to think we are “partly saved” or “mostly saved” (saved from sins punishment, and enslaving power, but not yet its annoying presence in our lives and world) now and will be “fully saved” when we go be with Jesus. Jesus has already done ALL the work for us, so now we hold fast for the duration of the ride.
I just finished reading I Corinthians for my devotional time the other day, but took some time to make it through the rather famous I Corinthians 15 passage which spends a lot of time and focus on the resurrection.
But there is another gem present that most of us often overlook
1 Cor. 15:1-2 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”
The gospel is clearly a message of something God has done in history: coming, living, dying, rising, ruling, and one day raising us up bodily. That much is clear from the following verses and the ones following them.
1 Cor 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…”
Nevertheless also part of the gospel is its power to save us. Romans 1:16-17 makes that clear, but so do verses 1-2. The gospel is something “in which you stand,” but it is also that, “by which you are being saved.” One of the reasons I never use the expression so-and-so “got saved,” is not because it is un-biblical, but rather because it is incomplete. The bible doesn’t speak of Christians simply as those who have “been saved” but those who are NOW “being saved.”
The passage indicates our present need to still “hold fast.” We are being saved even now from sin’s nagging Power (we’re no longer totally enslaved as before), as we already have been saved from sin’s Punishment (“in which you stand”). The proper response for the Christian is to keep holding fast to the truth of the gospel (and within the message there are many golden nuggets like new family, new record, new world, new heart, new future, new desires, new hope, new convictions, etc….) and don’t stop. While you are free to use the word “saved” to refer to a Christian, or someone becoming a Christian, we are never to think of salvation as something only happening in the past. Your testimony of how you became a Christian is never more relevant than how you are “being saved” now.