While we are in this life we are still engaged in waging war against sin, despite the fact that it has no lawful power over us.
I'm sure that no-one will remember CHARLES OLMEN. This runner, from Haiti, came in last in the 10,000 meter race in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Not only was he the last to finish, but he arrived 1 hour and 14 minutes after the penultimate runner!
Everyone had just about gone home while he was still running.
Although personal salvation depends on a decision you make during your lifetime, the final salvation will take place when you are in the presence of God.
It is really quite simple to understand: while we are in this life we are still engaged in waging war against sin, despite the fact that it has no lawful power over us.
Bible scholars call this ongoing process 'sanctification'. Let's explain the process in more detail.
1. Justification is the deed by which we find ourselves free from the PUNISHMENT of sin.
2. Sanctification is the process by which we reach, bit by bit, victory over the POWER of sin.
3. Glorification will be attained when we are completely released from the PRESENCE of sin.
The Bible teaches us that we are justified by God's grace, through faith, when we accept Christ, who died for our sins on the cross. God makes us 'holy', which means 'set apart for him' from this moment, but we are sanctified so we can triumph over the power of sin during our lifetime.
Only when we, ultimately, come before Him can we be glorified, for then sin will no longer exist... and don't forget that no-one can be perfect until sin has disappeared for good.
Our justification has been carried out by the Lord Jesus, through whom we have peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Our sanctification is worked out through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) who works in us.
Our glorification will be put into effect by God the Father (Romans 8:17) in heaven.
One more thing. The structure of the process of justification, sanctification and glorification is the same for all God's children, but not the details of sanctification.
We must not fall into the error of limiting God to five or ten equal laws or rules for everybody. God does not always treat his children in exactly the same way.
What happens is that what is right for one person may not be ideal for another. Don't lose hope, or judge others, if God works in a different way with you - remember that Paul had to put up with a 'thorn in his flesh'., whilst others seemed to be free of this 'dilemma'.
God is sovereign, and everything he does is adequate. Don't ever forget that fact.