Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ordo Salutis

At the Valiant For Truth blog at the Westminster Seminary California web site, Kim Riddlebarger has an excellent article titled Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Order of Salvation.  He writes in part:

"This is not an abstract concept because Scripture itself speaks of our salvation as being accomplished for us according to a divinely-ordained progression. The first of these passages is the so-called “golden chain” of salvation found in Romans 8:28-30. In that passage Paul writes, “and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 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. And those 
whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”

"The passage has been described as the “golden chain” of salvation because Paul not only speaks of an unbreakable order to the plan by which God saves us (the chain), but the apostle is clear that our salvation from beginning to end is the work of a gracious and sovereign God, who having begun the process of our salvation, sees it through the end (the “gold”)....

"In yet another passage, Paul lays out a similar “order” of salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11), when the apostle writes, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”...

"Washing refers to regeneration, that divine act whereby we are given new life and are cleansed from the guilt of sin, and when sin’s power over us is broken. All those “washed” are also said to be sanctified. That is, those regenerated by God’s Spirit are now set apart for God’s holy purposes and begin the life-long process of dying to sin and rising to newness of life (sanctification). Those set part by God for his own holy purposes are also said to be justified–that is when we are regenerated, we come to life and place our trust in Jesus Christ. When we place our trust (faith) in Christ, Christ’s merits are reckoned or credited to us, so we are declared righteous before God. Paul ends this particular list of benefits by informing us that all of this was accomplished by the Holy Spirit, who applies to us the saving work of Jesus Christ."

Read the whole thing!

1 comment:

  1. The next time you hear that same old Calvin quotation (as long as outside us, 3:11:10), please read L Berhof back to the quoter. (from his systematic, p 452)

    “It is sometimes said that the merits of Christ cannot be imputed to us as long as we are not in Christ, since it is only on the basis of our oneness with Him that such an imputation could be reasonable. But this view fails to distinguish between our legal unity with Christ and our spiritual oneness with Him, and is a falsification of the fundamental element in the doctrine of redemption, namely, of the doctrine of justification. ”

    “Justification is always a declaration of God, not on the basis of an existing (or future) condition, but on that of a gracious imputation–a declaration which is not in harmony with the existing condition of the sinner. The judicial ground for all the grace which we receive lies in the fact that the righteousness of Christ is freely imputed to us.”

    In his preface to the new Presbyterian and Reformed edition of Gaffin’s By Faith Not by Sight, Mark Jones confuses John Cotton’s position oo faith and justification. Mark Jones falsely identifies Cotton teaching imputation before faith with Cotton teaching justification before faith.In A Faire and Easy to Heaven (1978, p43), William Stoever quotes Cott0n: “We must be good trees before we can bring forth good fruit. If then closing with Christ be a good fruit, we must be good trees before we can bring it forth. And how can we be good trees, before we be engrafted into Christ?”

    Cotton was not teaching that anybody can be justified before or without faith. Cotton was denying that faith is something the elect have before or without God’s imputation of Christ’s death to these elect. The assumption for Jones and Gaffin is that faith is a condition of what they they call “union”. What they call “union” is a condition for their view of “justification”, a view in which justification continues to have “not-yet” aspects, so that final justification is conditioned on continuing works of faith.

    Gaffin and Jones insist on faith before “union”, but if their logic holds, then “union” also has “not-yet aspects”, which are conditioned on the “not yet” aspects of “faith after”. Thus they have an incomplete union and an incomplete justification.

    It is a CONTRADICTION to say that all of God’s acts depend on “union”, and then to turn around and also say that “union” depends on faith. Does faith also depend on “union”? Or does “union” depend on faith” While Gaffin and Jones never clearly define “union”, it seems like they think that we receive the “personal presence” of Christ inside us BEFORE we receive the benefit of Christ’s finished work. In other words, since Jesus is now the Holy Spirit in redemptive history, for Gaffin and Jones, this is read to mean that we must obtain possession of Christ as a person not only before we are justified but also before God will impute Christ’s righteousness to us.