Salvation is a process. You are saved, you are being saved, and you will be saved. This was more difficult for me to grasp before I started thinking about the Old Testament story of the Exodus.
The Israelites were slaves in Egypt. God saved them from this bondage by opening the Red Sea and leading the Israelites across the waters on dry ground. They reached the other side and were free from slavery. They were saved! Their salvation, however, was not complete. They were in the wilderness and not yet in the Promised Land. Their time in the desert was a time of testing where they had to learn to obey and trust God. God supplied them manna from heaven and the law to sustain and guide them on their journey toward the Promised Land. Unfortunately, not all the Israelites who had crossed the Red Sea and had been saved from the Egyptians got to experience the fulfillment of their salvation. Some even got swallowed up by the earth and died. Others were able to enter the Promised Land many years later. The Israelites, while in the wilderness, could say they were saved from slavery by God through the crossing of the Red Sea; they were being saved in the wilderness through his manna and law; and they would hope to be saved and granted passage into the Promised Land.
Similarly, we Christians have been saved. We have been freed from our slavery to sin and have been brought into the kingdom of light. God, by his grace saved us, and just as the Israelites passed through the Red Sea, we passed through the waters of our Baptism. We have been saved! But have we already reached the fulfillment of this salvation? In our current predicament, it seems we are more like the Israelites in the wilderness, waiting for the day we get new resurrected bodies and get to see God face to face. In the wilderness, God is saving us by his grace. He has given us the true manna, Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. He has given us his Word, Jesus Christ, and sustains us with his Teachings. As Christians we can aptly say, that by God’s grace, “We have been saved, we are being saved, and by God’s grace, we will be saved.”
May you recognize your redemption through dying and rising with Christ in Baptism. May you be sustained on your pilgrimage toward the Promised Land through Christ’s manifest Presence in the Eucharist and in his Word. And may you one day experience the fullness of salvation, which is seeing God face to face!