Saturday, June 02, 2012

Apparent Contradiction of the Reformed View of Ordo Salutis

Two verses that seem to give an order contrary to the ordo salutis:

Acts 16:31

ESV Acts 16:31 And they said, "Believe (aorist imperative) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (future indicative), you and your household." (Act 16:31 ESV)

This seems to give the sequence of belief and then salvation. I see that salvation here is not the immediate gift of regeneration but a future state of ultimate salvation. The mystery of God working in our heart is not discussed but the outward sequence as we experience them. The man was asking about the disaster falling on him of a prison break, the salvation was not only the immediate salvation from the state suffering retribution of failure to fulfill his duties but an ultimate eschatological salvation.

ESV Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, "Repent (aorist imperative) and be baptized (aorist imperative) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive (future indicative) the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Act 2:38 ESV)

This seems to give the sequence of repentance and baptism first (conversion) and then regeneration. This is again showing the human experience side of things, not the heavenly realities.

Of note is that in both of these passages, there is discussion of the household of faith from one generation to another.

These two verses are more practical in nature, telling folks what they should do in response to the Gospel message. They really do not deny the Ordo Salutis so much as show that in human experience it is complicated.

The Ordo Salutis

From Grudem's Systematic Theology: Page 670

1. Election (God's choice of the people to be saved.)

2. The gospel call (proclaiming the message of the gospel)

3. Regeneration (being born again)

4. Conversion (faith and repentance)

5. Justification (right legal standing)

6. Adoption (membership in God's family)

7. Sanctification (right conduct of life)

8. Perseverance (remaining a Christian)

9. Death (going to be with the Lord)

10. Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)

ESV Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Rom 8:29 ESV)

The passage shows this sequence:

  • Foreknew
  • Predestined
  • Called
  • Justified
  • Glorified

ESV Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

(Rom 5:1 ESV)

Faith precedes justification.

ESV Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.

(Rom 6:22 ESV)

Justification precedes sanctification.

ESV Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8 ESV)

God's grace precedes the salvation.

ESV Titus 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit 3:5 ESV)

Ultimately it is not because we are sanctified that God saves us, but God's mercy. Sanctification does not precede regeneration. Salvation is culminated in glorification.

ESV John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (Joh 6:37 ESV)

Election precedes salvation.

ESV John 6:39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (Joh 6:39 ESV)

Conversion precedes glorification.

ESV John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (Joh 6:44 ESV)

Election causes conversion.

ESV John 10:26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. (Joh 10:26 ESV)

God is the reason for perseverance.

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