Saved or Always Being Saved?
1 Corinthians 1:18
KJV: For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
NIV: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Due to English/Greek grammar discord, scholars cannot assume a Greek present passive participle meaning are being saved in these verses tells us salvation is ongoing; indeed are saved is a non-ongoing contextual equi- valent. In the 2 Cor.3:7 Greek, the glory in Moses’ face is being done away, but context denies present tense, and the equivalent KJV was to be done away& NASV/NIV fading…it was have only a past ongoing sense. In 1 Cor.5:4 a church is being assembled in the Greek, and the aorist-present KJV are gathered together & NASV/NIV are assembled are equivalents that have only a sporadic ongoing sense. In the 1 Cor.11:24 Greek, Christ speaks of His body (represented by communion bread) in regard to the future, saying this is my body which for you (is) being broken, which can seem to refer to the bread rather than the later Cross, but refers to His body, as the KJV & NKJV equivalent is broken tells us in speaking of one breaking, not an ongoing breaking, though His body broken once (broken in the sense of pierced flesh) has ongoing benefit for many; the bread is often broken, but it signifies one breaking of His body (the NASV/NIV NU Greek text omits broken, omitting the sense in which His body is for you & omitting participle use). In Col.3:10 the NASV/NIV literally render a Greek present passive participle describing the new man, saying is being renewed, but the new man is God’s work not requiring ongoing renewal, as in the KJV & NKJV “the new man which is renewed (from the old man to the image of God by the Creator);” this is what the Greek present passive participle means, but is masked by grammar discord of two different languages.
Similar grammar occurs in the Hebrew where a participle like “the ones being invited” in 1 Kings 1:41 doesn’t refer to people being continuously invited, but those that are invited.
We conclude that the Greek participle in Corinthians presents salvation, not as ongoing, but as the power for ongoing soul sanctification. Thus 1 John 1:7 speaks of Christ’s blood as continually cleansing the redeemed in the sense of the one-time breaking of his body in a sacrifice that imparts the power of ongoing sanctification, as well as the power of salvation to generations throughout the centuries.
Clearly salvation continues to apply, and it has a future aspect in that all joy accompanying it will be realized, but that’s very different from the notion that the participle reveals a sense in which people are being saved in an ongoing process,* which is private interpretation that can't be assumed. Indeed an ongoing-salvation concept favors Arminian doctrine of ongoing loss & renewal of salvation, and it even supports the notion of salvation by ongoing ever-incomplete works. It may even encourage the freely-sinning antinomians to think the possibility of salvation never ends. If the Greek grammar is retained, corrective English is needed to speak of ongoing salvation only in the sense that new souls are being saved.**
*Defense of this modern rendering by J. R.
White (The King James Only Controversy p133) illustrates the illogical ways
modern scholars justify their preferences. He says this verse has living
earthly unsaved people perishing in an ongoing sense, which supposedly calls
for a parallel clause denoting living people being saved in an ongoing process.
That has no basis in fact, for while the living unsaved are on the path to
destruction, they can still be saved, as White admits, and as long as this
offer exists, they aren’t perishing. Only those in hell now are perishing now.
Literal Greek isn’t always good English, and translators must know when to
change the Greek to proper English, as those of the KJV obviously
**Guthrie, D. & Motyer, J.A. 1970. The New Bible Commentary Revised. Eerdemans. Gr. Rapids. p976.
Greek present passive participles can’t be assumed to have an ongoing sense, grammar mismatch being a common problem in translation. Today scholars seem at times to view grammar in accord with their private interpretations, inventing notions that may be their way of adding to the significance of scripture teaching, and that can be very misleading.