"are saved" versus "are being saved" I Cor 1:18


#1

In the vein of the Protestant idea that Once Saved Always Saved, I have run across I Cor 1:18 reference to "who are being saved" (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible) versus "who are saved" (KJV). I have looked up this word in the Strong's Concordance, but don't get any sense that this is a word that reflects that "saved" is an ongoing process. Anyone have anything that I can refer to that explains why this is correctly translated as "are being saved"? Thanks!


#2

1 Corinthians 1:2 tells us, “…to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy…” The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root. This verse is declaring that Christians are both sanctified and called to be sanctified.

The Bible presents salvation as a gift that is received the moment a person places faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16). When a person receives Christ as Savior, he/she is justified (declared righteous –Romans 5:9), redeemed (rescued from slavery to sin –1 Peter 1:18), reconciled (achieving peace with God –Romans 5:1), sanctified (set apart for God’s purposes –1 Corinthians 6:11), and born again as a new creation (1 Peter 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Each of these are accomplished facts that are fully received at the moment of salvation. Christians are then called to live, practically (called to be holy), what is already true, positionally (sanctified).


#3

Unfortunately, concordances do not show something like this, because they typically only show the root term, not the particular form in use in that location:
τοις δε σωζομενοις 'ημιν δυναμις θεου εστιν
to the - and - ones being saved - to us - power - of God - it is

It is a present participle, which does not really help, because that only means that it falls to the same time as the finite verb, εστιν (“is”), and Greek often did not bother to distinguish between the immediate present (“I am doing”) and the indefinite present (“I do”).

However, the wider context of the same letter provides some useful considerations: 1 Co 3:15 uses the same verb in the future tense, 5:5 and 10:33 use it in a subjunctive (hypothetical) for a future event, 15:2 in the present tense again, but with a condition attached. Paul’s usage of it here, therefore, is not as an already-accomplished event, but as something yet to be fully achieved, which makes the English present continuous passive (“are being saved”) a better rendering. This is also the general pattern of the usage of the term throughout the NT.


#4

[quote="gracegray, post:1, topic:301652"]
In the vein of the Protestant idea that Once Saved Always Saved, I have run across I Cor 1:18 reference to "who are being saved" (Ignatius Catholic Study Bible) versus "who are saved" (KJV). I have looked up this word in the Strong's Concordance, but don't get any sense that this is a word that reflects that "saved" is an ongoing process. Anyone have anything that I can refer to that explains why this is correctly translated as "are being saved"? Thanks!

[/quote]

Our Lord said 'he who perseveres to the end will be saved" (Matthew 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13) Paul wrote "Know you not that they that run in the race, all run indeed, but one receiveth the prize? So run that you may obtain." (1 Corinthians 9:24) The author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us," (Hebrews 12:1)

OSAS is nonsensical, contradicts our Lord and promoted spiritual laziness.


#5

Though word analysis (exegesis) is helpful, please be cautious and remain away from fundamentalism …

When you see “are saved”, “are sanctified”, “counted as righteousness” or anything like that, it doesn’t offer any guarantee for the future. In other words, at moment X you are truly justified, but it doesn’t say whether you remain cooperative to God’s grace, remain faithful and remain obedient to Christ’s Commandments for the rest of your life. True faith can truly fall away. See this wonderful blog post: pauliscatholic.com/2009/09/can-you-lose-your-salvation/

~

Romans 4:2-3 "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ "

James 2:21 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?”

That’s a big contradiction isn’t it? “Faith alone”, “OSAS”, “TULIP” Protestants simply can’t figure this out! The only plausible explanation is that justification is a process, starting from the faith in Christ (whose death and redemption is clearly not a result of our works) but continuing in our daily works, i.e. cooperation with God’s grace, to preserve and strengthen that faith. Therefore, what it means is that Romans 4:2-3 says faith cannot be merited by works, while James 2:21 says the perseverance of existing faith depends on continuing works!

This explanation is Catholic. It’s even biblical; James 2:22 clearly explains it: works keep the faith active, and works is required to make the faith complete.


#6

I’ve never studied this passage before, AFAIK, but I noticed something, and am curious why you didn’t mention it (maybe there’s something that I’m missing?)…

In 1 Cor 1:18, you’ve got two present middle/passive participles: ‘perishing’ (the word also means ‘destroyed’; since it’s cleaner to express it this way in this context, I’ll be using ‘destroyed’ instead of ‘perishing’) and ‘being saved’. In combination like that, I’d presume that you would want to translate them in the same way (either both as continuous (“those who are being destroyed” and “those who are being saved”) or both as undefined (“those who are destroyed” and “those who are saved”)). Now, it would seem to me that “those who are destroyed”, while possible grammatically, is not possible in context: after all, if someone is already irreversibly perished, then it makes no sense to talk about what the message of the cross appears like to him. So, it would seem that it would be most reasonable for these to both be continuous. (Am I mistaken?)

However, the wider context of the same letter provides some useful considerations: 1 Co 3:15 uses the same verb in the future tense, 5:5 and 10:33 use it in a subjunctive (hypothetical) for a future event, 15:2 in the present tense again, but with a condition attached.

Interestingly, we also see Paul turning to exactly this expression in 2 Cor 2:15 (“For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”), and there it seems even more clear that the context should be continuous. In the following verse (“to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life”), we see that the ‘being saved’ / ‘perishing’ pair matches up to “from life to life” / “from death to death”. (“ἐκ θανάτου εἰς θάνατον” … “ἐκ ζωῆς εἰς ζωήν”.) So, if we’re leading toward something that we haven’t yet reached (life or death, respectively), then again, the continuous makes more sense than the undefined.

Am I missing something here? :confused:


#7

Using word studies can be misleading. Often what Catholics call “salvation”, others label as justification, sanctification and glorification. As it is said,

I was saved (justification)

I am being saved (sanctification)

I will be saved (glorification)

The last two are clear, the first is not. I would say I was saved on the Cross. When I accepted God’s gift of eternal life at a point in time or as a process is open to discernment. In sacramental churches, we can say our sins are forgiven at baptism and that we cooperate when we reach the age of reason.


#8

Honestly, we are not saved until we sit in the judgment seat of Christ and receive the Lord’s mercy.

Salvation is like breathing: a life-long process.


#9

It’s just me being lazy: I am afraid that I did not even glance at the first half of the verse.
:blush:

In 1 Cor 1:18, you’ve got two present middle/passive participles: ‘perishing’ (the word also means ‘destroyed’; since it’s cleaner to express it this way in this context, I’ll be using ‘destroyed’ instead of ‘perishing’) and ‘being saved’. In combination like that, I’d presume that you would want to translate them in the same way (either both as continuous (“those who are being destroyed” and “those who are being saved”) or both as undefined (“those who are destroyed” and “those who are saved”)).

Well spotted. :thumbsup:

It is certainly worth mentioning: breaking the parallel of the original would require a very good reason.

Now, it would seem to me that “those who are destroyed”, while possible grammatically, is not possible in context: after all, if someone is already irreversibly perished, then it makes no sense to talk about what the message of the cross appears like to him. So, it would seem that it would be most reasonable for these to both be continuous. (Am I mistaken?)

Απολλυμι is not necessarily that total, though, and was used for losing things as well as for destroying them, q.v. Mat 10:6 - πορευεσθε δε μαλλον προς τα προβατα τα απολωλοτα οικου ισραηλ (cf Lk 15:6, 9, 32), where the sheep are lost, not destroyed. This is the main reason why I would use the somewhat softer form “the ones perishing” in preference to “the ones being destroyed”, accompanied by the fact that “perishing” is more clearly middle voice in English, whereas “being destroyed” is passive, and then we do not have an agent for that action; “the ones destroying themselves” would sound too much like suicide, further confusing things for the audience.

Interestingly, we also see Paul turning to exactly this expression in 2 Cor 2:15 (“For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing”), and there it seems even more clear that the context should be continuous. In the following verse (“to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life”), we see that the ‘being saved’ / ‘perishing’ pair matches up to “from life to life” / “from death to death”. (“ἐκ θανάτου εἰς θάνατον” … “ἐκ ζωῆς εἰς ζωήν”.) So, if we’re leading toward something that we haven’t yet reached (life or death, respectively), then again, the continuous makes more sense than the undefined.

This is another good point, and I agree, as I said, that the present continuous is better and is more coherent with Scripture generally, but that is not to say that the present simple is impossible: where the KJV refers, in both locations, to “them that perish”, it is referring to the end-point of a process not yet completed (because it is talking about what happens to them during life), and thus “them that are saved” ought to be read in parallel with that as also referring to the end-point of a process not yet completed. The present continuous just gets that same idea across much more efficiently.


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