“Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I


June 22, 2014 by directorfsm


Ask 100 “Christians” what Salvation means to them and the vast majority today will reply “my sins are forgiven and I believe in Christ as my savior. Ask them how this process of Salvation comes about (order of) and again the vast majority will give you a funny look, as if to say don’t you know; by faith of course. The result is a very narrow theological view of what salvation is and worse an unbiblical view of how it comes about.

I found this while surfing the web and it applies here:

      Religious people talk about “getting saved.” Yet even most religious people understand no more of what the Bible teaches about salvation—the real meaning of the word “salvation”—than a certain young man did about another religious expression.

      He said to me, “I gave my heart to the Lord at the revival meeting last night.”

     “Well,” I said, “Just what do you mean—you gave your heart to the Lord? Just how did you do that? Did you reach in your hand, take your heart out, and actually hand it to the Lord—and was He really right there, in Person?”

     “Well, uh—uh—” he stammered, confused, “uh—well, no, I didn’t do that.”

     “Then just what did you do? How did you give your heart to the Lord?” He stammered some more, then guessed he didn’t know.

     That’s the way it is with a lot of people who say “I got saved.” They don’t really know what they mean by “getting saved.”

     Do you know what the Bible teaches about salvation? Millions of sincere people have supposed they knew—yet have been deceived into accepting a false salvation.

The Oxford English Dictionary (online) defines salvation as: Deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Christ

I like this definition for its use of the words brought about in the definition. This explicitly implies it is a process. One I prayerfully hope to unfold for you.

Let me give credit to Tim Challies for his article entitled, Visual Theology – The Order of Salvation, {hereafter noted as VT} from which I drew the outline for this sermon. I will further acknowledge that in an effort to write an introduction the one at the top of his visual was in fact better, so here it is:

“Ordo salutis” is Latin for “the order of salvation”, which refers to the sequence of conceptual steps involved in the salvation of the Christian. The sequence is meant to be logical instead of chronological; some steps occur sequentially while others occur instantaneously. What follows is a classically Reformed understanding of the way in which God saves his people.

The order is:










Since we could spend a year or more digging deeply into these topics I will attempt to provide an overview of each over the next several weeks starting with the election tonight.

The Doctrine of Election is nearly a curse word in some circles. Yet few Doctrines are so clearly defined in scripture.

Dr. William Crews of Spartanburg SC noted in his manuscript of this topic: “The doctrine of election perhaps encounters stronger opposition than does any other Bible doctrine . . . . I have seen people become violent under the preaching of the doctrine of election.

I was preaching a special meeting years ago when on the next to final night of the meeting a young man rose at the end of the service, after I finished preaching on God’s sovereignty in election, furiously enraged. He made his way to the front of the church expressing before the congregation his disagreement and detestation of what had been preached. His appearance indicated that in his fit of rage he might become sufficiently violent to physically attack me. It was obvious that he was so mad that he was beyond the point of self-control. The man was not an infidel, agnostic, or atheist. He was not an irreligious person. He was a professing Christian” (The Bible Doctrine of Election, 4-5).

My hope is not to stir such anger but to stir the very hearts of the listener and reader to do as the Berean’s and search the scripture as to the truth of the matter.

     Election “before creation because of his sovereign good pleasure, God chooses some people to be saved”{VT}

     R.C. Sproul puts it this way: The Reformed view of election, known as unconditional election, means that God does not foresee an action or condition on our part that induces Him to save us. Rather, election rests on God’s sovereign decision to save whomever He is pleased to save.

     John MacArthur says: In the broad sense, election refers to the fact that God chooses (or elects) to do everything that He does in whatever way He best sees fit. When He acts, He does so only because He willfully and independently chooses to act. According to His own nature, predetermined plan, and good pleasure, He decides to do whatever He desires, without pressure or constraint from any outside influence.

     The Baptist Faith and Message, p. 12 says “Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners”.

First when discussing any biblical doctrine we must affirm that God is God and therefore sovereign over all things. If your belief is otherwise you cannot have a right understanding of biblical Doctrines, for all doctrines hinge upon this principle. He is ruler and in control of all. He rules justly and righteously over all things and requires no assistance from us in this process.

Ex 15:18 The Lord shall reign for ever and ever

Ps 22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

God is in control and it pleased him to choose some to be saved. Why some and not others or all I have no idea. I do know this, it pleased Him and therefore it was right and just.

It is not over only a select few that God’s election is seem; God makes righteous and just choices all the time. I have heard some say that His choice to allow Job to be tempted and tried by Satan was unfair, unjust, I even heard someone call it cruel. Really, that is what you take away from that book, a sense of God’s abandonment? Hate to tell you but ya missed the whole message of hope, promise, and comfort. Job’s belief on God never wavered, he got it, “but with God all things are possible” Matt 19:26.

God’s elects or chooses:

     1.  His angels 1Tim 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

     2. His peculiar people, Israel Exo 6:7; Deu 7:6-8; Deu 10:14-15; Psa 33:12;

     Isa 43:20-21 Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

     3. Individuals to salvation

This is obviously the sticking point for so many. Yet before we look at some verses let us consider what it would be like with man in control or with man’s assistance in this matter.

Many years ago while I was incarcerated there was a volunteer who used to come and preach once a month. He was a very “nice” man; he attended a main stream church and seemed to truly love God. Yet he would end his sermon/study each time with an invitation to accept Christ as Savior offering the incentive what have you got to lose? Well I searched and search the bible trying to find a biblical case for “what have you got to lose?

I hope you can see this. His theology was so flawed. In an attempt to “save souls” he had minimized the work of Christ on Calvary to a flip of the coin, 50/50 shot at heaven or hell. He had put the emphasis on your decision not on the sovereignty of god. Those who would deny the biblical doctrine of election would seem to so the same.

     – Ps 65:4tells us God chooses individuals

     – Mt 24:31 His angels (whom He chose) will gather His elect (choosen)

     – John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God

Our salvation is not of man but of God.

     – Romans 8:28- 30And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 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.

Here it is in a nutshell. Those who are saved are called according to God’s purpose. Notice God’s choice in election is first, then He calls them that He knew before their birth. He predestined or predetermined them to salvation (become conformed to the image of His Son) Nothing on our part not even faith has entered into the process. It is by God’s grace alone.

     – Romans 9:11for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,

How was it that Jacob had favor before God over Esau? Was it because of his faith or maybe his good deeds? NO!!! it was only because God chose him.

     – Romans 9:15-16 (the whole chapter) For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Again God’s sovereignty in election is explained.

     – Rom 11:2God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel?

Who are the saved ones? The ones God will not cast out? The ones He foreknew His elect.

     – Romans 11:5-7In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;

Who are the ones who receive God’s Grace? Those who were chosen obtain it.

     – 1 Cor 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

Foolish and weak apart from God describes me pretty well, what about you?

     – Ephesians 1:5,11He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,…also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

     – 1 Thes 1:4His choice of you;

     – 2 Thes 2:13God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

God has chosen from the very beginning those for salvation. I cannot emphasize enough that the process does not (and as we have discussed, man’s evil sinful state many times, and understand) and cannot be initiated by any action of man.

     – Titus 1:1 for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,

     – 1 Peter 1:2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

     – 1 Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

God choses, not based upon anything (including our faith) we do. He has need of sinful, depraved man’s input.

Dr. Wayne Grudem in his work Systematic Theology, says Scripture Never Speaks of Our Faith As the Reason God Chose Us: In addition, when we look beyond these specific passages that speak of foreknowledge and look at verses that talk about the reason God chose us, we find that Scripture never speaks of our faith or the fact that we would come to believe in Christ as the reason God chose us. In fact, Paul seems explicitly to exclude the consideration of what people would do in life from his understanding of God’s choice of Jacob rather than Esau: he says, “Though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, she was told, ‘The elder will serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated'” (Rom. 9:11-13). Nothing that Jacob or Esau would do in life influenced God’s decision; it was simply in order that his purpose of election might continue.

     4.  Individuals to condemnation

Ex 4:21; Rom 9:17-18; Pharaoh

Rom 9:13; Esau

Rom 9:21-22 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

1Pet 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

5. Election (choice) in all things

– Numbers 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

– Gen 1:3-25 and 2:7 God chose what and how to create all things

– Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

– Matt. 5:45, “in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Let me close by recapping what we have heard. God chooses whom He will. The power to do so rests solely with God. Man has no say in the matter the choice was made before the foundations of the world.

In stating my case above I was careful and deliberate in choosing my words. The bible is explicit and specific in this fact. There is nothing, I say again, nothing implicit or implied about it. One need infer nothing unless it is their personal interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) which the bible clearly warns against.

Some say the doctrine of unconditional election is the most despised teaching of reformed theology, some would disagree. Many believe the most rejected doctrine is irresistible grace, better termed “effectual grace”, which is also oftentimes referred to as the internal call of God. We will look at “calling next time.

2 thoughts on ““Ordo Salutis” The Order of Salvation, Part I

  1. […] Note that Paul has put emphasis on the Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit here. All three persons are involved in the process of salvation. (see my series on the order of Salvation “Ordo Salutis“) […]

  2. […] is a link to one of the parts in a series on the Order of Salvation, Ordo Salutis, a few years back the further explains […]

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