Psalm 118: 24
Salvation -- the process by which the all powerful God who created the universe reaches out in love to experience fellowship with humankind -- can be considered in three tenses: past, present, and future.
In the past, God acted in history to compensate for the mistakes we humans made in the exercise of our own free will. God entered recorded history as a flesh and blood person: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus experienced our humanity, but lived a life in perfect harmony with God. He allowed himself to be killed as a sacrifice in our place, so we might experience forgiveness from God for our selfish and unloving ways. By his resurrection, he proved his Godly nature and power over death. These events really happened! Many will never believe them. But for us who do -- our salvation occurred at the time of our belief. This event, in our individual past histories, marks our salvation from the penalty of sin, which is eternal separation from God.
In the future, we Christians understand there will be further intervention by God in human affairs. Jesus Christ will return -- no one knows when -- but whenever and however he chooses to do so, he will remain with us and we will experience perfect joy and peace. In our new life with God, freed from the imperfections of this body (think about THAT) we will have salvation from the very presence of sin.
In the meantime, however, we must live in this world. Salvation in the present tense is a continuing, day to day process. No, we don't have to "get saved" repeatedly. God had the power to save us, and he has the power to keep us saved forever. We rely on God, in the present, to save us from the power of sin in our lives. When we sin, we do not lose our salvation; we lose the joy of fellowship with God and the abundant blessings he wants to give us. We may fall into patterns of anger, contempt, or hatred; failure to consider the feelings or needs of others; treating others as objects to be used. We transgendered persons, who are naturally introspective, are at risk to develop a self-absorption which can become selfishness to an unhealthy degree. When we exclude everything but "self" from our thoughts and plans, we have placed ourselves back under the power of sin.
Day to day living, which concentrates on God in a positive manner, allows us to experience his love and freedom from sin's power. We let him speak to us, through his word and as we pray. He will show us enough guidance -- in his word he calls it giving us "light" -- for our present circumstance. If we follow this guidance and act accordingly, he will give us further guidance. If not, we step off into the darkness and can lose contact with God. Eventually we must return to the light. This is the "present tense" of our salvation.
Do you remember the old Jimmy Durante television show? When Jimmy closed each episode -- after he said, "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are," -- he walked off stage using a series of spotlights. On the darkened stage, one light would appear. He stepped into it, then another light appeared. One step at a time... he finally reached his goal.
We must live life one step, one day, at a time.
Imagine you are traveling by passenger train across the American west. You can already picture your destination. How great it will be to finally arrive! Bands will be playing; the sun will shine; and everyone will welcome you with open arms. As your train takes the scenic route, you pass through the Tetons and Jackson Hole, the Colorado Rockies, and the Canyonlands. You can glimpse the Grand Canyon as the train heads west to the coast. But you never notice any of this magnificent land. You are too focused on your destination.
What preoccupies us on our life's journey?
"When I can pass in public -- that will be IT!"
"When my wife understands -- that will be IT!"
Or the big one:
"When I finally get SRS -- that will definitely be IT!"
Listen, ladies: that will not be IT. Life will still go on.
Life is a journey -- not just a one-time destination. Setting goals is good and wise, but not so much we cannot experience the pleasure and joy in everyday life. This is what is meant by salvation in the present tense, one day at a time. Our Lord is ready to bless us in rich and surprising ways, if we remain open to receive it!