May 26, 2009

Pauline Ordo Salutis?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8: 28-30 NIV)

Does Paul give us an inspired "ordo salutis" in this passage? Does he list the parts of salvation in a logical or chronological order? Some think yes, while others think no.

I believe there is a divine "ordo" in these words. Those who reject the idea of an "ordo" in these words will often ask rhetorically - "then where are regeneration and sanctification in the order?" Or, "why are regeneration and sanctification omitted?"

Is the "calling" the same as regeneration or new birth? If so, then it precedes justification and glorification. Or, is "calling" a post regeneration "conversion," as some affirm?

If "calling" be regeneration, then the Hyperist has an argument in affirming that regeneration precedes justification. But, if "calling" be conversion, that which is by faith in the gospel, then where is regeneration? Is it part of justification or of glorification?

The Catholics, because they do not see justification as strictly forensic, and believe in "infused" righteousness as well as "imputed" righteousness, make sanctification a part of justification. But, Protestants, for the most part, have viewed justification as strictly forensic, and sanctification as internal renovation, and put it after justification in the order of things. However, those Protestants, like the "Reformed" Calvinists, or Hyperists, who put regeneration before justification, are following the ordo salutis of Rome.

I believe rather that regeneration or transformation or renewing is contemplated under the term "glorification," and therefore it is what logically follows calling (conversion, or faith and repentance), and justification or pardon.

But, how can "glorification" be equated with regeneration or transformation?

John Piper wrote (emphasis mine):

"The transformation that comes from beholding the glory of Christ in the gospel happens incrementally. "Beholding the glory of the Lord, (we) are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Speaking of our transformation in terms of "glory" shows that Christian glorification begins at conversion, not at death or resurrection. In fact, in Paul's mind sanctification is the first phase of glorification." (God is the Gospel By John Piper, pg. 93)

See here

First, I agree with John Piper. The passage cited by Piper from Paul prove that glorification is connected with spiritual renewal and transformation, or regeneration. Conversion is the first phase, or beginning of sanctification; And, regeneration is part of sanctification. If regeneration, or conversion, is part of glorification, then it properly follows both calling and justification.

Romans 8: 28-30, when rightly interpreted, refutes the ordo salutis of both Arminians and Hyper Calvinists.

I plan on elaborating on these verses in the book I am working on, called "The Ordo Salutis Debate."

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3: 18 KJV)


Nick said...

Why is 1 Cor 6:11 never mentioned in Ordo discussions?

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Nick:

"And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (I Cor. 6: 11 KJV)

Probably the only ones who would argue for a fixed ordo salutis from this passage would be the Catholics. They insist that sanctification precedes justification or else make them virtually the same.

One cannot make an ordo salutis simply on the order of terms given in a particular verse. Oftentimes we find terms in reverse order in listings, showing that nothing can be made by listing priority alone.

The passage in Romans 8, however, is different. The language is such that Paul is clearly giving an orderly progression.

Thanks for the comment and question.


Nick said...


What are some examples where we cannot have an ordo because terms are given in reverse order? Regarding the order of sanctification and justification, 1 Cor 6:11 is critical because it is the only text I know of where the two appear together. Without an anchor like that, the ordo of sanctification and justification becomes almost arbitrary.

Also, I'd like to see on what exegetical grounds you equate glorified with sanctified. To me, the most logical is to see sanctification as part of Paul's mention of "justified."

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Nick:

"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (I Cor. 1: 30 KJV)

Righteousness in this verse is the same as justification, and it is mentioned before sanctification, just the reverse of I Cor. 6: 11.

Sometimes faith is mentioned before repentance, sometimes repentance is mentioned first.

In 2nd Peter 2: 10 we have calling mentioned before election, but in Romans 8: 29, 30 we have calling after it.

My argument on glorification encompassing sanctification was based upon II Cor. 3: 18 where intitial sanctification and regeneration (transformation) is called being glorified. Conversion is glorification begun.



Nick said...

Regarding the 1 Cor 1:30 verse, the term "righteousness" is there but it does not appear to be the same Greek word as "justify." So given that I don't think you can say that is an Ordo passage. Plus the notion of becoming for us "wisdom" doesn't fit any Ordo I know of. As for "redemption," that applies to both the beginning and end of the Christian life.

I wouldn't think there was a Ordo for faith vs repentance, but rather two things which must occur together.

In 2 Pt 1:10 is speaks of "making your calling and election sure" and speaks of the risk of falling away, so I dont see a need to be an ordered set unless maybe the Greek demands it (and I cannot read Greek that well). However, when I compare this to Rom 8:29-30, I don't see the term "elect" there at all. So either "elect" is under the subject of calling or there are more details than 8:29-30 really shows.

I do see what you are saying on 2 Cor 3:18, though from my consulting of the Lexicon the term "glorified" (though a Greek root of it is) nor "sanctified" appears here. That said, if 'glorified' is something begun at conversion, then it doesn't fit the notion of Ordo in Rom 8:30 which puts "glorified" as the final step rather that one encompassing the whole life.

I have one thing that I think I should make clear, I havn't looked into this subject that deeply, but just what I've seen thus far in the limited detail the Bible gives, I'm not comfortable building much of an Ordo at all. Though if I had to settle, I'd see sanctification before or part of justification based on passages like 1 Cor 6:11 and 2 Thes 2:13, and even stuff like Acts 15:9 & 26:18.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Nick:

Even though the word justify is not the same as righteousness, yet it is used with it. Justification is the declaring of a person as righteous.

Also, foreknowledge and predestination in Rom. 8: 29 involves election.

You don't have to see the precise term in order to see the idea. There are synonyms or terms that are equated, in the Bible.

Just as you think there s no ordo for faith and repentance, seeing they are used interchangeably, so also with other terms in the Bible.