Signs of the Order of Salvation

I. The Church Is Holy
qadosh, hagion: Cleansed, pure; set apart (1 John 2:15).
Israel/Church is holy as God is holy (Ex 19:5, Lev 11:44/1 Pet 1:16, 1 Pet 2:9, Eph 5:27, 1 Cor 5:6-8, 2 Cor 6:14-7:1).
Its people are hagioi, holy ones (Phil 1:1, etc.).
Salvation describes that remaking of cosmos, people of God, and persons.
The "order" of salvation (ordo salutis) describes the steps in that remaking:
II. Step Zero: Preparation III. Step One: Regeneration IV. Step Two: Renewal and growth V. Step Three: Maturity or perfection
'Old Time' describes an order that is 'passing away' and marked by both natural evil and moral evil (Rom 8:18-24a).

Entry into the Kingdom of God is relational change with God and others (2 Cor 5:17, John 5:24).

Our habituation to Old Time leads to 'jet lag': disorientation, inconsistency between our identity and actions, fatigue, even doubt.

'Abiding' in the Kingdom yields real change in persons and relationships: re-orientation, growth in holiness, suitability for service, confidence.

'New Time' describes 'new creation', when all things are made new (Rev 21:5, Rev 21:22-22:5) and "God will be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28).

God initiates blessing to all families through Abraham (Rom 10:11-17).
 
God creates Israel through patriarchs, liberates it with exodus, and constitutes it at Sinai (Rom 9:4-5).
 
God sustains and matures Israel, forgives after sins, and grafts in Gentiles (Rom 9:25-28).
God promises to remake Israel, have mercy upon all (Rom 11:2, 11:26-36), and finally renew the waiting creation (Rom 8:18-25).
God welcomes 'strangers' through the Kingdom's hospitality, evangelism, and mission. 'Rebirth' newly creates believers (John 3:1-8, 2 Cor 5:17) whose identity is now in Christ. In a context of holiness and mercy (Matt 18), disciples receive and practice gifts of the Spirit to build up ('edify') Christ's body. Perfection means finishing, reaching the goal — full acclimation to 'New Jerusalem' (Isa 65-66, Rev 21) with its tasks (Isa 2) and responsibilities (1 Cor 6:1-11).
Operative (prevenient) grace precedes cooperative grace. Protestants associate regeneration with justification by grace (favor) through faith (trust) alone. Later Protestants call this process sanctification (after Melanchthon). Catholics/Orthodox: Disciples who "have run the race to the finish" experience glorification or theosis as authoritative examples: 'saints.'

Greeting signifies God's and the Church's hospitality to insiders and outsiders.

Church pacifism (distinct from both Gandhian pacifism and 'sixties pacifism') is radically sacrificial missional hospitality.

Baptism signifies this transformation (1 Cor 10).

Passing the peace signifies believers' new community of just relationships.

Discipline and reconciliation (Matt 18, 1 Cor 5) renew justification.

Confirmation, marriage, ordination, healing etc. aid church life.

The powerful Spirit is a 'guarantee' or 'earnest' of the church's destiny (so 'Spirit-baptism' and tongues?).

Life in eucharistic fellowship signifies, anticipates, and embodies its hope; excommunication warns of consequences of unreadiness (1 Cor 5).

The benediction blesses a congregation unconditionally in God's power and will (Jude 24-25).

God desires to draw all people to himself (2 Pet 3:9, John 12:32). Ascetic rules of Christian behavior are a purgative way.*
*Note that in another lecture, these three ways are not placed in this sequence.
Our 'walk' with Christ takes us along the illuminative way.*

The unitive way* yields 'the beatific vision' and perfect eternal communion.

 
God and God's elect agents act through the Holy Spirit's love, joy, and kindness toward sinners, "calling to freedom" and even absorbing their distortion and rejection. New disciples receive peace with God and reflect this spiritual fruit (Luke 7:47). "They have crucified the flesh." The arrabon of the Spirit supplies assurance, self-control, and other resources to "walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4). We "walk in the Spirit" using and learning patience (cf. Rom 5:1-11) and exchanging gentle discipline ('grace and truth'). The virtue of God's good and faithful ones makes them worthy to "inherit the Kingdom of God," serving in love with new freedom and authority and the Master's joy (Matt 25:19-23, Luke 19:15-19).

Catholics: Human wills are free but wounded. Grace perfects nature.

Calvinists: To remedy total depravity, prior grace realizes unconditional election selectively, definitively, and irresistibly, implying 'perseverence of the saints'.

 

God imputes (Luther) or imparts (Catholics) his righteousness, for the sake of Christ.

Catholics: Infant baptism cleanses from the guilt of original sin.

'Constantinians': One's identification with Christianity determines civil status and social structure, sometimes regardless of spiritual development.

Arminians: Election is conditioned on God's foreknowledge of our response and perseverance.

Wesley and evangelicalism: Conversion ought to be experienced and evident as such.

Catholics: God infuses righteousness, virtue through sacraments.

Luther: God's imputed alien righteousness makes the believer simul justus et peccator. Holiness grows, but jet lag never eases in this life.

Calvin: 'Spiritual union' with Christ progressively brings both justification and sanctification.

Wesleyan Holiness Christianity: Spiritual formation and disciplines will manifest Jesus' difference in his holy community.

Wesley: 'Entire sanctification' may come before death (2 Cor 7:1), with works 'conditionally necessary'; or, we may turn away and fail to inherit (Heb 6:4-12).

Most traditions: The souls of the dead go "to be with the Lord" until resurrection. The Church is both militant and triumphant: of the living and the dead.

Catholics: Glorification comes after death (so the dead are prayed for). Transformation continues in purgatory (Dante) or paradise (Wesley).

(Orthodox, Catholics invoke the assistance of saints in this intermediate state, whereas for Radical Reformation the intermediate state is of soul-sleep.)

Luther: Righteousness is imparted and the battle resolved at the general resurrection. God will see us through (Rom 8:31-39, Phil 1:6).

Calvin: Sanctification culminates at resurrection with the gift of glorification.

Deut 10:12-22, James 1:27-2:9. Rom 8:15, Acts 2:38, Rom 6:17-23. Rom 6:22, 7:15-25a, 1 Cor 7:29-31. 1 Cor 3:1-3, 2 Cor 7:1, Eph 4:11-16, Col 1:28-29, Heb 5:11-14, James 1:2-4.
VI. Conclusion
Calvinists root all salvation in God's prior sovereign will; universalists claim all will be saved as God wills. Regeneration is definitive for Lutherans, Anglicans, and Constantinians (in their way); Arminians insist on free human response to grace. Wesleyans stress sanctification; (Ana)baptists stress discipline as a necessary mark of the Church.

Eastern Orthodox anticipate final consummation in liturgy and church iconography.

No one step characterizes Catholics, who have distinctive stances on all.

Creation is the object or target of new being. Righteousness is the outward aspect (justice) of new being. Holiness is the inward aspect (worthiness) of new being. Glory is the goal and proof of new being (2 Cor 3).

Self-Test