Signs of the Order of Salvation
I. The Church Is Holy
qadosh, hagion: Cleansed,
pure; set apart from "the world" (1 John 2:15)
- Israel/Church is holy (Ex. 19:5,
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.)
- II. How Does It Happen? The Order
of Salvation (ordo salutis)
New Time: "new creation,"
where we're headed (Rev. 21:5, Rev. 21:22-22:5)
Old Time: What won't be around anymore (Rom. 8:18-24a)
What time is it? Both (Rom. 8:29-30, John 5:24, 2 Cor. 5:17)
Salvation is a trip to "New Time":
- Justification: Relational change
(being considered or made right) before God
- Jet lag: The believer is in New
Time, but Old Time is in the believer
Sanctification: Real change, growth in holiness; the overcoming of jet
III. From Old Time to New Time in Three (or So) Steps
Augustine: Salvation is (1) an event, (2) a process, (3) an endpoint
- (0) Preparation: Evangelism, mission,
- Operative (prevenient) grace precedes
- Greeting signifies God's and the Church's hospitality
to insiders and outsiders
- (Deut. 10:12-22, James 1:27-2:9)
- Pacifism as missionary strategy?
(1) One big event: "Being saved" (Rom. 8:15, Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:17-23)
- Later Protestants call this "justification"
by grace through faith alone
- God gives us his righteousness
for the sake of Christ
- Baptism signifies (and/or accomplishes) this transformation
- Passing the peace signifies the believer's new community of
- Must conversion be experienced? Wesley
(2) A long process: Renewing justification, growing holy (Rom. 6:22)
Later Protestants call this "sanctification" (after Melanchthon)
- Jesus' community gains his character,
which is God's character
- A holy community will be different
as Jesus is different (Holiness Christianity)
- Christian life is perfect holiness,
along with limitless mercy (Matt. 18)
- Life in eucharistic fellowship
Old Time is a zombie, Christian life is a Spirit-powered "endgame"
- We give and receive the gifts
of the Holy Spirit to edify the body
- Signifying practices include discipline
and reconciliation (Matt. 18, 1 Cor. 5)
- Thomas Aquinas: God infuses righteousness,
virtue through sacraments
- Radical Reformation: Discipline
is a necessary mark of the Church
- Other signifying practices include
confirmation, marriage, ordination, healing
(3) The final result: Christian maturity or perfection
(1 Cor. 3:1-3, 2 Cor. 7:1, Eph. 4:11-16, Col. 1:28-29, Heb. 5:11-14, James
Perfection = finishing; the Christian life is "finishing school"
- The death of jet lag, full acclimation
to the New Jerusalem
- Christians with such stories become
authoritative examples, "saints"
IV. The Earliest Order of Salvation: Faith, Baptism, Eucharist
Baptism: The once-only event of justification (and sanctification)
Eucharist: The ongoing process of sanctification (and justification)
Sacraments are the signs of incorporation
Church is an unfinished work of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:15-25a)
Church is a colony of New Time in a world of Old Time (1 Cor. 7:29-31)
V. When Does It End?
(1) Sanctification before death: Wesley
"Entire sanctification" (2 Cor. 7:1), with works "conditionally
(2) Sanctification after death: Roman Catholicism
Transformation continues to take time, in the afterlife
The place of perfection: purgatory (Dante)/paradise (Wesley)
- (3) Sanctification at resurrection
Justification is first imputed, alien righteousness
Result: a civil war between the natures (simul justus et peccator)
Resolution at the general resurrection, when righteousness is imparted
Effect: Growth in holiness, but jet lag never eases
(4) Sanctification at resurrection (II): Calvin
Salvation results from incorporation into Christ, "spiritual union"
Justification and sanctification come together, and progress
Victory is only complete at death, then comes perfection
VI. In the Meantime: Whatever Happens to the Soul?
Problem: Do soul and body separate between death and resurrection?
- Radical Reformation: The "intermediate
state" is of "soul-sleep"