What is the ordo salutis?

by Matt Slick
5/21/14

The ordo salutis is Latin for "order of salvation."  It deals with of what God has revealed to us about how he saves sinners regarding the order of his work upon them.  Though the scriptures do not list a direct order of the events ordained by God that bring us salvation, different theological camps have, nonetheless, proposed different orders.

"A term found particularly in Calvinistic theology to indicate the temporal order of the process of the salvation of the sinner according to the work of God. Elements include calling, regeneration, adoption, conversion, faith, justification, etc."1

 

Calvinist

Arminian

Catholic

  1. Election - God's choice of people to save. This choice occurred before the foundation of the world.
  2. Predestination - God's  The work of God to ordain to salvation those who have been elected to it.
  3. Calling - The preaching of the gospel message.
  4. Regeneration - The change in the person produced by God.
  5. Faith - The trust an individual has in the work of God on the cross.
  6. Repentance - Turning from sin.
  7. Justification - The imputation of righteousness to the individual bus making him righteous according to the law.
  8. Sanctification - God's work in the individual to make him more like Christ.
  9. Perseverance - God's work in the individual results in the person continually believing throughout his life.
  10. Glorification - Resurrection to glory with God.
  1. Calling - The preaching of the gospel
  2. Prevenient Grace - A grace from God that enables a person to believe.
  3. Faith - The trust an individual has in the work of God on the cross.
  4. Repentance - Turning from sin.
  5. Regeneration - The change in the person produced by God.
  6. Justification - The imputation of righteousness to the individual bus making him righteous according to the law.
  7. Perseverance - God's work in the individual results in the person continually believing throughout his life.
  8. Glorification - Resurrection to glory with God.
  1. Actual Grace - God enables a person to respond to God's call of faith
  2. Faith - The trust an individual has in the work of God on the cross.
  3. Contrition - Attitude of remorse for sins committed.
  4. Regeneration/Baptism - The change produced in a person at baptism were all previous sins are removed.
  5. Penance - The process of regaining grace lost via sinning so that salvation is maintained.
  6. Glorification - Resurrection to glory with God.

Of importance is the order of faith and regeneration.  In the Calvinist perspective, regeneration proceeds faith where in the Arminian and Catholic perspectives, faith precedes regeneration.  In the Calvinist perspective, this is a logical order and not necessarily a temporal one. Where as in Arminianism and Catholicism it is temporal.  The logical necessity of regeneration preceding faith, according to the Calvinist perspective, would be the same as the logical necessity of electricity preceding light in a light bulb. It is logically necessary that electricity precedes light, but it is not logically necessary that light precedes electricity. When electricity is present, the light is the necessary result, but not the reverse. In Arminianism and Catholicism, faith precedes regeneration temporally. In other words, both of their orders affirm that there is a duration of time where faith temporally precedes regeneration. They teach that a person must be enabled by God to believe:  prevenient grace in Arminianism and actual grace in Roman Catholicism. The Calvinist perspective would teach a person is not able to believe in God from within his sinfulness and most experienced regeneration before he is able to leave.

In all three perspectives listed above, the final state of the ordo salutis is the glorification of the individual. This glorification is the full resurrection and glorified bodies which all true Christians will enjoy for eternity in the presence of God.

References:

  1. Grudem, Wayne (2009-05-18). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 670). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
  2. monergism.com/topics/ordo-salutis
  3. frame-poythress.org/salvation-and-theological-pedagogy
  4. arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-arminian-and-calvinist-ordo-salutis-a-brief-comparative-study/

 

 

 

  • 1. McKim, Donald K. The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, Second Edition: Revised and Expanded (Kindle Locations 9884-9886). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.