What is the Ordo Salutis / order of salvation?
Ordo Salutis connotes a process, as salvation indeed is. Everything has a “process” or mechanism/steps/stages/pathophysiology for the action to come to fruition. Even a simple “knee jerk” would not happen without a mechanism of action.
Before getting to the process, salvation needs to be defined. As far as I understood it, salvation is a state of being liberated, delivered or free from “eternal death”, the second death from which there is no more resurrection; salvation, aka “eternal life” or “immortality “. This death should be contrasted from the first death, of which resurrection is a surety, as in “It is appointed for man once to die and after that, the judgment of the living, whether to go to Gehenna fire or have salvation/immortality .…”Heb 9:27” And before the second death, there will the “last judgment” that will happen to all humans at their “appointed time, (beginning with those in the house of the Lord) and will come only after the living received the gift of “in-dwelling Holy Spirit” that guides towards truth, empowers the person to act, follow good and shun evil. Receipt of the “in-dwelling HS/JC/Comforter/Advocate is crucial before judgment begins for that particular person; without it, he/she will still be “weak” and not be empowered to act as prescribed by God; and this to prevent us from using the “Satan made me do it” defense. Moreover, this second death is the endpoint to inculcate the foundational basis for salvation, which is to be freed from eternal death, an expression of ultimate love (John 15:13) , as in John 3:16
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have an everlasting life”.
God did not like anyone to die forever; his vision is for man (as in 2 Peter 3:9) to have “everlasting life” that emanates from him , not from “good works of any man”, “so no man can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Since no one has “everlasting life” but God, to have eternal life meant “being like him” through a “process of salvation“. Adam failed in his wish to “be like him” because he tried to attain this through his own works by “eating the forbidden fruit”. This is not man’s but God’s mission for mankind to be “one with him and be like him” choosing good over evil; that will be fulfilled through a strategic plan, some call Ordo Salutis. The Father is “reproducing”’through “man-Jesus Christ” (1 Tim. 2:5) for all to be ”one with him”. The Father, through Yahweh(the proximate Creator-God) has shown that by creating “spirit-bodies beings like the angels” they did not automatically become “one with him”; Satan and 1/3 of angelic beings went against the Father.
That said, my humble take on Ordo Salutis is as follows:
It is a given that God started all. So, here is how I see this process;
A Creation of mankind. An “image/template or temple” has to be created. This happened in Gen. 1:26 ” And God said, Let us make man in our image,…” An image, as perfect as it was, is only a “template/precursor”, a reflection of the final product; it is temporary, the beginning and a preparation for the final reality. It is like an artist’s mold from which one creates the final product as Potter/Clay prophecy in Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:4. This is so important so that in the future, God’s spirit will dwell in this “temple, not made by hands“, for development and completion of a “new creation.“. Without this “in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit”, there will be no human spiritual empowerment towards re-creation. Also see the future in-dwelling of the spirit of God Acts7:48; 17:14; I Cor. 3:16,6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Ez.36:27; Isa 63:11; 2Tim 1:14; Rom.8:9,11,15;John 16:13.
B. The created humans have to be ”like him”. And, to be “like him“, man has to have two attributes, viz., “know good and evil” and “eternal life”. In the garden of Eden, everything including “tree of life” Adam & Eve can have, except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. What was forbidden in the Garden of Eden was “to eat the fruit of knowledge of good and evil”; everything else they can have including the “tree of life”; notice that after Adam sinned, mankind was not allowed to take the fruit from the “tree of life”. Nevertheless, notice that God’s plan is for man to have eternal life even in Genesis. Through “disobedience and by their own works”man has become “like us, knowing good and evil”(Gen 3:22). However, Adam and Eve did not have to disobey the commandment “not to eat the fruit” just so that they would know good from evil. Not that God liked to deny them to “know good and evil” since later on God gave them the 10 commandment in Exodus 20:1-17 that defined what is good or evil. Rather, God did not like them to decide on their own what is good and evil. Being God is not just having eternal life but also having the wisdom to decide good from evil; this is a prerogative of God that man could not get, “on their own works”. It has to be given. Yet, Adam & Eve chose to do it on their “own works“, instead of being given as a gift of love, as planned and determined by God. By disobeying God, Adam/Eve sinned and were cast from the Garden of Eden, prevented from eating the fruit of the “tree of life”. Thus, Adam and the whole mankind ( by the doctrine of imputation in Romans 5) all sinned, therefore needed to be “reconciled” to God; a reconciliation step. As planned, the proximate Creator God-YHVH had to incarnate as “man JC”(1 Tim. 2:5) for him to die by crucifixion for “without shedding of blood, there is no remission/forgiveness of sin”, thus taking on death of mankind as a consequence of Adam’s sin, and thereby reconciling humanity to the Father.
C. Establish that to “be like him“, the Holy
Spirit/Comforter/Advocate/Jesus Christ has to in-dwell in man as “God does not dwell in temples made by hands” as in Acts 7:48. And this came about as a precursor of/example for the future of mankind when man-JC had “in-dwelling” of this Holy Spirit by River Jordan and witnessed by John the Baptist. Notice that after this “in-dwelling”, JC was able (as a human) to be empowered to overcome “pull of the flesh”(hunger/thirst), temptation of Satan in the wilderness and do miracles afterwards.
D. With the in-dwelling of Jesus Christ /Comforter/Advocate/High Priest in us, our mind will be guided to the truth as in the “sanctification stage”. This is a crucial stage were we already received the “in-dwelling of JC/Comforter/Advocate/High Priest “ guiding us towards “good and shun evil”; a stage of overcoming as only “overcomers will seat with God”. If anyone consistently rejects the guidance of the HS in him/her, there will be no more sacrifice (of JC) akin to the person “going back to his own vomit” and he/she will be looking at the coming “Gehenna fire”.
E. Change from “mortal bodies to immortal bodies”. I Corinthians 15-54. We will then be with God through eternity.
God’s plan is to “reproduce beings that are one with him”. It could not start from a “spirit-being” as shown what happened to Lucifer and a third of angels who went against him. It could not be from an “Adam in Genesis” with inherent weakness of the flesh and sinned. Nor could it start from Job who boasted of his “own works”. They were all examples of human templates or precursors. But, it had to start with a specific and unique “man-Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 2:5) who would be the first human endowed with a gift of the empowering Holy Spirit of power given as a gift at River Jordan, as witnessed by John the Baptist, to overcome “pull of the flesh (hunger, thirst, covetousness, etc) and temptations from Satan; also the first human to be resurrected to eternal life, as proof of the promise the Father made and planned. The creation of Adam was a template/precursor for the first-man through which the plan would materialize through JC, the first of the firstfruits, the wavesheaf offering.
With YHVH-proximate Creator incarnated to man-JC, he then became the “Passover lamb”to die by crucifixion for “remission of mankind’s sins” for “reconciliation” to God having been thus credited as “justified by faith(of Jesus)” and thereafter, “sanctification” through the “in-dwelling of JC in us by/through the Holy Spirit”empowering us to follow God’s law “written not in tables of stones but in the “fleshly tables of our mind and heart”( see also Jer 31:33-34)
As overcomers with a life of overcoming as empowered by the gift of the “holy spirit of power”, we shall be changed from mortal bodies to immortal/eternal bodies at our appointed time of resurrection/harvest .
As I understood it, the preceding are the steps, the ordo salutis, of the salvation process towards immortality and eternal life.
Original Post: 2/8/2019
Revision published 1/6/2022 in hypertext version
Hypertext version: please tap on hypertext links for references.
Critique is welcome after reading all for context.