We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Take your sins to Christ’s cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified with him. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus. To give an illustration—you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way? It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, “Lord, I trust thee to deliver me from it.” This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell him, “Lord, I have trusted thee, and thy name is Jesus, for thou dost save thy people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!” Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears—the whole of them put together—are worth nothing apart from him. “None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;” or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among his olives in Gethsemane.
—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (23 April, Morning)
I will be tremendously encouraged for the spiritual health of Christ's body when a believer, if asked "When were you saved?," is confident to simply respond with one powerful word: Today.
At risk of jumbling theological terminology, many of us make too little of salvation. A popular (largely Western, contemporary, and evangelical) understanding of salvation is primarily concerned with and limited to justification—through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, the Christian's sin-stained record before God is cleared once and for all. Also, through Christ's resurrection, we know the promise of abundant, eternal life at peace with God. These are all marvelous and true, but left here, we are simply waiting in lifeboats for Jesus to come pick us up, and while waiting is surely a large component of our faith, we may exercise it very little within the current context of our lives.
In other words, what about now?
A limited understanding of being "saved" is a breeding ground for a powerless and fragmented life. What if Moses or David never cried out to God for salvation in their immediate circumstances? Not only would the Hebrew Bible be empty and uncompelling (the Psalms alone would be more than decimated), but the glory of God would never have been revealed in the same way. And, as we might well know, our enemies are not merely flesh and blood, but cosmic powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
As well as being the Founder of our faith, Jesus is also its Perfecter (Hebrews 12:1-2). Among other things, His teachings and miracles refocus our perspective on our true enemy in this world, from which we need to be saved both once and for all and again and again. Did He intend for our current struggles with sin to be met with our hands folded neatly upon our laps, looking wistfully into the distance? Or did He save us from the future penalty of sin just to abandon us to our own devices when we face it today? I don't know about anyone else, but left to my own strength, sooner or later I fold like a house of cards. Sin is still an enemy I cannot beat. It is God-sized. For whatever reason, it gives God glory for such battles to be fought in our lives today. And it stands to reason that our accountability partnerships, battle verses, and seven-principled plans have, even at their very best, limited value in bringing Him glory on their own. We don't need to be stronger so much as we need to be saved.
He must save us, today. We need salvation, today.