“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:9
Today men talk about salvation only as something done in the experience of time with eternal consequences. But in the Bible, salvation is described as something done by God in eternity past, revealed and experienced in time, and enjoyed in eternity future. Read the Word of God, marking the verb tenses used, and you will see that salvation was accomplished for God’s elect in the covenant of grace before the world began (Romans 8:29-30, 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:4-6).
Before the world began, we were accepted in Christ, according to the will of God. We were accepted in Christ as our covenant Head and Surety, accepted in union with him by electing love, accepted in his heart as the objects of his mercy, from eternity.
But why is this eternal aspect of salvation so important? The nature of God’s covenant demands it. In the infinite mind of God, all things are eternally present. What he purposed is accomplished. Before the world was he blessed us with every spiritual blessing of grace in Christ. God’s holy character tells us that he must have looked upon his people as being justified and accepted in Christ from eternity. Had it not been for the chosen seed in Adam’s loins, whom God had eternally justified in Christ, at the moment Adam sinned, a holy God would have wiped our race off the earth. The only thing that keeps God from destroying the world in his wrath right now is the fact that he has an elect remnant in it, whom he accepts and is determined to save. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness: but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). And the immutability of God demands that our salvation by him be eternal. God never changes. Neither does his attitude and relation to men change. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3:6). God’s will to elect is election. God’s will to adopt is adoption. God’s will to justify is justification. And God’s will to save is salvation. I do not suggest that this is the whole of salvation. Redemption, regeneration, repentance, faith, and perseverance are necessary. But in the mind and purpose of God, his people were as truly saved before the world began as they shall be when all are gathered around his throne in heaven.