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2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. (NASB)

Reading this passage, I am struggling to make sense of the word soteria (σωτηρία), which is translated as salvation here. From what I gather, the word is used in the New Testament predominately to mean "made right with God, the securing of the soul, justified before God." Yet the context of this verse seems to be Paul addressing believers, those who already have salvation.

The word seems to have a range of meanings though. For instance:

1 Peter 2:2 ...like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation

This verse seems to be referring to sanctification (spiritual growth).

How should soteria (σωτηρία) be understood in the context of 2 Corinthians 7:10?

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  • Salvation refers to the general act of God's saving you from this world and the sin attached to it and to us. You might call the end of being in heaven as 'being saved.' Whereas for now, none of us know the future, i.e. whether we will be one of those who prove to be not true believers, presuming on which we commit a sin of presumption, demanding God necessarily saveus because we believe ourselves to be of those. Rather, we are justified, purified, by baptism into Christ's death, and reconciled between then and now, and that living the life of grace is the working out of your salvation. – Sola Gratia Jul 16 '17 at 14:34
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Paul was talking to a group of rather wayward Christians. He pointed out in the previous verse that he was glad they were grieved, not because they were grieved but because it was a godly grief. He then explains this type of grief leads to salvation. Sure some of the people in the church were saved but certainly not all of them. This is still speaking of justification salvation. Much like the parable of seeds in Luke 8 they may have only been a seed on a rock that seems to be growing but will wither and die. Paul's letter that grieved them produced a godly grief that led them back to a true salvation, one they wouldn't regret, or turn away from.

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This "salvation" is not denotative of "eternal salvation" that is obtained by the Holy Spirit entering and indwelling the human spirit and giving it true spiritual Zoe life. He is speaking to the New Testament church at Corinth, and this church was composed of people who had already believed in Jesus Christ in their hearts, by faith, and had received eternal salvation. The "Salvation" here denotes deliverance from the bondage (demonic or otherwise) that comes through the committing of sins.

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