Monday Minutes With Pastor Chris McCool: Time vs. Eternal Salvation, Part 4 (November 6, 2023)

In today’s post, we turn to the topic of “conditional time salvation,” also sometimes called simply “time salvation.” This is a doctrine taught almost exclusively by Primitive Baptists, although I have encountered at least one independent Baptist church that also teaches this. Today, we search the scriptures to see if, indeed, time salvation is a biblical doctrine. We will see that there are many examples in the Bible of this type salvation.

We will also discover that time salvation is a conditional salvation; it depends largely upon the choices we make in life! Remember that eternal salvation is unconditional; Christ accomplished our eternal redemption on the cross, without conditions. However, as we will see today, there are conditions on time salvation.

I pray our discussion today is edifying. May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor


By Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Zion Primitive Baptist Church

Mat. 1:21:  . . . for he shall save his people from their sins.

Acts 2:40:  And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.


So what about conditional time salvation?  What do Primitive Baptists believe the Bible says about this type of salvation?  Does such a concept exist in Scripture?

A.  Time salvation is a Scriptural doctrine.

The first question we must ask when dealing with any doctrine is, “Does the Bible teach it?”  In the case of “conditional time salvation,” the actual title of the doctrine does not appear in Scripture.  The title is simply a convenient way to refer to the teaching, but the question is not whether the title itself appears in Scripture, but whether the Scripture teaches the doctrine.  The term “Trinity” never appears in the Bible either, but it is clearly taught!

In Exodus 14, we find the children of Israel facing the Red Sea before them, and the Egyptian army behind them.  Their situation looked desperate, but Moses told them, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.”  Ex. 14:13.  Later on, we read that “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”  Ex. 14:30.

Clearly the Israelites here were not clamoring for “eternal salvation”.  Had they wanted to be eternally saved, they could have run back upon the spears of the Egyptians, or drowned themselves in the Red Sea!  The salvation under consideration was not eternal, but temporal:  it was called a “today”, or a “that day”, salvation.  This is a clear reference to a type of salvation that was timely and not eternal.

In Matthew 8, we read of a similar situation.  Verses 23 through 27 give the account of the disciples on the sea in the midst of a storm, while Jesus was asleep in the ship.  When they woke Him up, they cried, “Lord save us:  we perish!” Mat. 8:25.  Were they asking Him to save them eternally?  No!  They were afraid of drowning in the sea, and needed to be delivered from the stormy waters!

One final passage that we should examine is found in 1 Peter 3:21.  In this verse, Peter has been discussing Noah and the Flood, and makes the comparison that “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.”  Does this mean that a child of God must submit to water baptism in order to go to heaven?  No!  This passage is speaking of another type of salvation, and NOT eternal salvation!

B.  Time salvation IS conditional.

Simply put, conditional time salvation is indeed “conditional.”  This means that a child of God CAN achieve it, or can fall short of it!  This type of salvation is conditioned on our obedience to God in this life.  This was what Peter was speaking of in Acts 2:40, when he told them to “save yourselves from this untoward [crooked] generation.”  He was speaking NOT of eternal salvation, but of a “time salvation” that was conditional on what they did or did not do.

Let us look at some examples of “conditional time salvation,” that is dependent in large part upon whether we are obedient to God or not.  Perhaps nowhere in Scripture is this summed up better than in Isaiah Chapter 1: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:  But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isa. 1:19-20.  In other words, there are blessings in obedience here and now, but these blessings are conditioned upon our willingness to be obedient to God!  This is a conditional blessing (salvation) that is contingent on our actions.

What about membership in church?  There is certainly a conditional time salvation in becoming a member of the visible aspect of the Kingdom of God!  In Luke 16:16, Jesus makes the following statement:  “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”  The word “presseth” means “to force” or “to crowd oneself into” (Strong’s Concordance).  Can a person “force” or “crowd himself into” eternal heaven?  No!  But he CAN “press into” the Kingdom of God that is “here and now” – i.e., the Church Kingdom.  This is another example of conditional time salvation:  a blessing that we will only experience if we are obedient to God and join one of His churches.

We have already mentioned 1 Pet. 3:21, wherein we read that baptism “saves” us.  Once again, we must ask, “saved from what?”  In this case, the salvation is clearly not “eternal”, but rather involves conditional time salvation – a “here and now” deliverance that occurs when we are baptized.  We are told here that baptism is an “answer”: it is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.”  If we never submit to baptism, we will never have relief from this nagging question of conscience; when we DO submit, we are “saved” from our conscience’s continual prodding to be obedient to God.

There are many other examples of conditional time salvation.  We can save ourselves from alcoholism by abstaining from alcohol, or only drinking in moderation.  We can save ourselves from drug addiction by avoiding the use of any drugs.  We can save ourselves from the breakup of our marriages by following the biblical pattern for our homes.  The list goes on and on.

But before we leave this topic, I want to look at one more issue and examine one more set of Scriptures found in the 10thchapter of Romans, which give us another important example of “conditional time salvation.”

To be continued. . . .