One salvation in Christ by grace in three tenses
First Tense (past)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all menTitus 2:11
The grace of God has appeared – is in the past. This is true of every believer. The person was presented with the grace of God through the Gospel, they understood it chose to believe it and were saved.
This has to do with our Justification. When we are saved from the penalty of our sin.
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,Titus 3:5
Second Tense (present)
instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,TItus 2:12
The grace of God has appeared…instrucing us…(present tense). Here Paul speaks of us in reference to all those the grace of God has given salvation to.
Instructing us...grace in the present is instructing (training, teaching, disciplining) the believer how to deny ungodliness and to live godly lives in the present.
It is not the law that instructs the believer, but the grace of God.
Peter’s desire for the believers he wrote to was that they would be firm…
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness,2 Peter 3:17
Peter’s concern is for the brethren he wrote to was to have a firm standing and the next verse he explains the means for this…
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.2 Peter 3:18
The believer grows by the teaching of grace. This growth can be stunted by not teaching grace as we see the Galatian believers had fallen from their growth in grace (Gal 5:4). Does falling from grace mean God’s grace has been withheld and the believer has somehow lost it? No, it means the believer is not living (walking) by the means God provided to live victorious over sin (Rom 6:6) and bearing fruit (Rom 7:4). See more here.
If it is by grace it is not by means of works (Rom 11:6, Rom 4:5, 16). Works and grace are in direct opposition to each other! This means we walk in the same way as we initially received grace – by faith (Col 2:6).
This has to do with our sanctification when we are being saved from the power of sin. More here. The message of the cross is the power of God over the power of sin today!
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.1 Corinthians 1:18
This is the means God intends me to be instructed and as a result experience power over sin.
Third Tense (future)
looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;Titus 2:14
The grace of God has appeared…looking for the blessed hope….(future).
Grace gives us a correct perspective regarding our future. It is a secure and blessed hope (Titus 1:2). It shows us that the future is bright and gives us a confident expectation of this yet to come (2 Thes 4:13-18)!
This is in regard to our future glorification when we will be saved from the presence of sin in our lives.
And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.Romans 13:11
So there’s also a future grace for the believer! See more here.
These verses show how God has made salvation possible by grace. God has provisioned grace to be the means for our justification (past salvation from the penalty of sin), sanctification (present salvation from the power of sin), and glorification (future salvation from the presence of sin). Therefore, as we have received Him (by grace through faith) we walk in Him (empowered by grace through active dependence). One day we will be glorified by His unmerited favour to us through Jesus Christ.