Contend Earnestly: Ordo Salutis - Introduction

Monday, May 21, 2007

Ordo Salutis - Introduction

Because of a great question over at a forum that I am apart of at the Reformed Evangelist I thought I would do a series on my thoughts on the Ordo Salutis. First, so that everyone at least starts on the same page, Ordo Salutis is the Latin term meaning, "The Order of Salvation." It usually refers to Romans 8:29,30 and what is called by the Reformed tradition: The Golden Chain of Redemption.

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Romans 8:29,30


The golden chain of redemption is known to most Reformed theologians as the proof of the Calvinistic belief of the Doctrines of Grace. It is the hinge of predestinarianism and is fought off by most Arminians by their stance in one of two ways.

1. God's foreknowledge here is speaking of an entire people in mind. They take this passage to speaking of an entire race, namely, the Gentiles. They also see Romans 9 as exegetically teaching the same principle, even though individuals are mentioned throughout the chapter, and not nations (Pharoah, Jacob, Esau, etc.).

2. God's foreknowledge is speaking of God knowing beforehand who would choose Him and then He chose those whom He knew would respond to His grace. The ole "God looked down the portal of time" eisegesis.

My time that will be spent in these posts will focus on my views of my personal, which I believe to be mostly Reformed if not totally Reformed, exegesis of the Order of Salvation. I will not spend much time deterring other views of the order of salvation, but my focus will be on the affirmative of the Reformed view and not the negative.

To let all know where I stand before I start, I am Reformed in my beliefs on salvation and therefore see God as completely sovereign, never allowing God to give up this sovereignty in any way, even in the wide spread Aristotilian belief of free will and reason.

I find this first and foremost in the Golden Chain of Redemption, as the passage's focus is purely on God and His grace and us being merely the one's receiving the grace. Look at the passage again.

He foreknew
He predestined
He conformed to the image of His Son
He would be the firstborn among many brethren
He called
He justified
He glorified


Ephesians 1:7,8 lets us know what our one and only true gift to God in salvation: our trespasses.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
Eph 1:7,8


God imputed to us Jesus Christ's righteousness, and God imputed to Christ our sin. What a gift we gave to Christ!

The Ordo Salutis that I will defend is the following:

God's election
Common Call
Regeneration
The Gift of Faith
The Effectual Call
Repentance and Confession
Justification
Sanctification
Glorification

As I did with the Five Solas of the Reformation my intent will be to guide the reader to a "good start" in their study of these subjects. I will not be exhaustive but simply desire to see the people of God understand the greatness of God and foolishness of man. I believe a firm understanding of the order of salvation aids us in this attempt. I pray that you will glean some understanding through this series.


14 comments:

luvvom said...

These are great opportunies for learing. Ok, I'm reformed too...let's see how close we come in theology. I'm from the OPC what church are you from? Anyway, here it goes:

Election
Effectual call(regeneration)
conversion (by free gift of faith and repentance)
Instant justification
Adoption
Gradual sanctification
Death:body in grave soul with Christ
Resurrection last day
Glorification

so some differences...looking forward to learning what you believe!

Bob said...

Seth-
I'm looking forward to your insight on this topic.

Barry said...

Hmmm? Order of salvation. I haven't heard of this yet and I am of the reformed theology. I wasn't aware that salvaion had an order.

When did you receive salvation?

When God elected you be the foundation of the earth?
When Christ died on the cross and satisfied the wrath of God the Father?
When you trusted in Christ?

I have always liked those verses in Romans 8. We just looked at them in our study through Future Grace, chapter 8, coincidence?

Stefan said...

Seth,

historic Reformed Christianity has viewed the ordo salutis as distinctly saving, so that the common call that goes out to all men is not, strictly speaking, a part of the ordo.

Also, historic Reformed Christianity has viewed effectual calling and regeneration as essentially the same thing (read the Westminster Confession's definition of Effectual Calling and you'll see what I mean). And this blessing precedes the gift of saving faith.

Hence, the "ordo salutis" of traditional Reformed theology is:
1. election in Christ
2. effectual calling/regeneration
3. faith & repentance
4. justification
5. adoption (sometimes included as part of justification, sometimes given a seperate entry in the systematic theologies)
6. progressive sanctification, assurance, and perseverance
7. glorification

Do you take a different view on something here?

Seth McBee said...

Stefan...

I love having smart friends...most don't know but Stefan and I went to college together...just don't ask which college cause we won't tell you...

anyway...

to answer your question...I include common call because it is a genuine call in my opinion to all sinners and of course some of those sinners are the elect. Now, I will insert here, and exegete later, that the common call is not effectual for salvation but effectual for damnation...

I also, honestly didn't know that effectual call and regeneration were in the same category...I would need some convincing in this because I do not see this as the same thing. John 3 regeneration, John 6:44 effectual call, two separate instances in my opinion, and will defend it from that stance.

I do see as justification as an instant and eternal act and didn't include adoption for no specific reason, but I am always up for correction,as many know here...

Sanctification, I will include the already not yet scenario along with assurance and perseverance...

Thanks for the clarity on these issues, and Stefan, as usual, come and defend your points when we get to them. I would definitely like to interact with you more on the common call.

I love smart friends.

Stefan said...

Seth,

I prefer to tell people only where I went to seminary. So, thanks for keeping our alma mater a secret between us (and the thousands of other students who went there).

I look forward to these posts.

One suggestion: read the Westminster Confession of Faith on effectual calling. This will help you understand why I (and they) view effectual calling and regeneration together. The way in which the Confession expresses this doctrine ought not to lead us to separate completely what Jesus is talking about in John 3 and John 6.

Stefan

Seth McBee said...

Thanks brother...

Question:

What's the Westminster Confession?

Heart drop yet? kidding of course...

Good suggestion...and will do...

luvvom said...

Romans 8:30 helps to answer the regeneration/effectual being the same.

Seth McBee said...

I would disagree with that...just because there is a lot that is not described in Romans 8:30 that goes into salvation...

So Romans 8:30 isn't the only place we can go...I find regeneration elsewhere but not in this verse...

Positional Sanctification, Progressive Sanctification, Assurance and perseverance are all left out as well in this verse...

Stefan said...

Seth,

To make further suggestions, I'd read the following on this subject: John Murray's Redemption Accomplished and Applied (pp. 79ff., esp. pp. 79-87), as well as Sinclair Ferguson's Holy Spirit (pp. 93-113). If you have the time, section 3 of Calvin's institutes is also well worth the read, especially the first several chapters.

Stefan

luvvom said...

Of course Romans 8:30 infers "call" to be regeneration. Look at the wording. Also, notice that these verses do not hold every step of salvation in them but only touches on the ones that are done solely by Him. For example, when He predestined us we had absolutely no part of cooperation in predestination as we do in confession and sanctification...granted we cooperate because of the free gift from God to do so but we nevertheless use our personal minds and hearts and tongues to confess. Anyway, Paul touches only on the things that God does solely:

"30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified."

1. The first word in our list is the first in Paul's...election or predestination.
2. The second word in my list is the second in Paul's...call or regeneration for the "making alive" has to occur before justification which is next in his list. You also have call before justification but as you can see in Paul's list he only hits upon the "God only" actions and leaves out the "God actions done through you and done by you through His free gift of you being able to do them" action...:o) how do you like that adjective? :o) Anyway, where in Paul's list can you place your effectual call and your regeneration? Both of which you would have to agree we are not at all involved with except that we get new natures. You don't find the word regeneration because call is regeneration.
Is that clear as mud. :o)

luvvom said...

Also, and correct me if you can find where I'm mistaken, but regeneration is only found once in the Bible and that is in Titus. Therefore, regeneration has to have another name that it goes by.

Josh said...

Seth Said:
"Positional Sanctification, Progressive Sanctification, Assurance and perseverance are all left out as well in this verse"

Josh: They are implied in Romans 8. The two key words in Romans 8 are justified and glorified. So how can you not have in between those two words; Positional Sanctification, Progressive Sanctification, Assurance and perseverance?

Josh said...

Seth, your order is listed as:


God's election
Common Call
Regeneration
The Gift of Faith
The Effectual Call
Repentance and Confession
Justification
Sanctification
Glorification

I agree with Stefan.

Common call is the vehicle for the gospel not part of the ordo per se.
Also your order is not logical. You have regeneration before the effectual call and repentance.

I would rearrange your order (if you insist on the current wording) as..

God's election
Common Call
The Effectual Call
Regeneration
The Gift of Faith
Repentance and Confession
Justification
Sanctification
Glorification

Again thats a logical order, since the effectual call, regeneration, faith, justification, and positional sanctification really happen all at once.

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