Condensed Theology

A Primer in Systematic Theology

Soteriology: The Doctrine of Salvation
What does the Bible teach about salvation?

Introduction
What Is Soteriology?

Introduction: What Is Soteriology?
• Moving from Christology to Soteriology is a natural progression… • For we move from the work of Christ itself, which is objective • To the application of the work of Christ to individuals, which is subjective. • Hence Soteriology is often referred to as ―The Application of Redemption‖

The Ordo Salutis
The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis
• That there is such nomenclature implies that we can (or believe we can) discern from Scripture an order to the application of redemption.
– Rom 8:30: …and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

The Ordo Salutis
• Romans 8:30 appears to be preserving for us a sequence in the application of redemption
– – – – First, we are predestined. Second, we are called. Third, we are justified. Fourth, we are glorified.

• We discern that there is a sequence not only from the ordering of the four elements of salvation, but also according to how each element is understood by Paul.
– For example, by definition predestination precedes calling, justification, and glorification.

The Ordo Salutis
• From the rest of the New Testament we see the following aspects of the application of redemption in order:
– – – – – – – – – – Election Predestination Effectual Calling Regeneration Faith Repentance Justification Adoption Sanctification Glorification

The Ordo Salutis
• The order should not be understood strictly chronologically; • Instead, it should be understood as the logical ordering of the different aspects of salvation.

The Ordo Salutis
• There are some elements that are both logically and chronologically prior to/following others (e.g. election and predestination precede faith and repentance).
– Eph 1:4, 13: …just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him….13In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.

The Ordo Salutis
• There are other elements that cannot be related to one another in terms of chronology; yet they relate to one another in a logical sequence (e.g. regeneration and faith).
– God’s act of causing us to be born again involves applying the gift of faith to the individual such that he or she inevitably and invariably believes. Thus they are inseparable. – At the same time, since a new heart (being born again) is required to exercise faith we can say that logically regeneration precedes faith.

Union with Christ
The Central and Organizing Motif of the Ordo Salutis

Union with Christ
• Our discussion of the application of redemption provides an excellent segue into what is the central and organizing motif of the biblical understanding of the application of redemption; namely, • Union with Christ

Union with Christ
• It is in Christ that we have been elected and predestined for salvation. • It is in Christ that we are called and regenerated. • It is in Christ that we receive the gifts of faith and repentance. • It is in Christ that we are justified. • It is in Christ that we have received the adoption as sons. • It is in Christ that we are sanctified. • And it is in Christ that we are glorified.

Union with Christ
• In other words, all of the aspects of the ordo salutis belong to us only through union with Christ. • They are his and through our union with him by the Holy Spirit all of them are ours—from eternity past to eternity future—we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph 1:3).

Union with Christ
• ―We must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us‖ (John Calvin, Institutes 3.1.1).

Union with Christ
Christ Our Representative

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Jesus saves us from within our humanity, the first from humanity to break out of this fallen world into the eschatological reality of the redeemed world.
– Heb 2:10: For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. – Heb 12:2: …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author [pioneer, founder] and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Rom 8:29: For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. • For Christ to be the firstborn among many brethren does not mean that the eternal Son is a creation of the Father; • Rather, it means that as a human being he goes before us, doing everything for us and ahead of us.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Rom 5:19: For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. • 1 Cor 15:20, 23-24: But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep….23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. • As our representative, Christ not only accomplishes redemption for us, but as a human being is himself redeemed for us.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Therefore, we may say that Christ experienced/accomplished all of the elements himself before any of us.
– In union with Christ we have been chosen and predestined:
• Eph 1:4-5: …just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• In union with Christ we have been effectually called to salvation.
– 1 Cor 1:2, 9: To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours….9God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• In union with Christ, we have been born again, made alive with Christ
– 1 Pet 1:3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – Eph 2:5-6: even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Our faith and repentance are secured by the ―in Christ‖ relationship.
– Acts 13:48: When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. – Phil 1:29: For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Our faith and repentance are secured by the ―in Christ‖ relationship.
– 2 Tim 2:24-25: The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. – Being in Christ before the foundation of the world ensures that we will make our way into Christ after the foundation of the world.

Union with Christ: Christ Our Representative
• Moreover, faith and repentance are the means by which we experience our union with Christ in time.
– Eph 1:13: In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation— having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. – Rom 16:7: Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Union with Christ
The Benefits of Our Union

Union with Christ: Its Benefits
• Justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification are not in the first place the results of our repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; • Rather, they are the blessings of union with Christ, which is received by faith. • Indeed, the reason we are justified, adopted, sanctified, and glorified is that Christ has already been justified, adopted, sanctified, and glorified. • Sound strange? Consider the following verses…

Union with Christ: Its Benefits
• Christ was justified that we might be justified in union with him…
– 1 Tim 3:16: By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. – Gal 2:16, 20: …nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified….20I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Union with Christ: Its Benefits
• Christ was adopted in order that we might be adopted in union with him…
– Rom 1:4: …who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord. – Gal 4:4-5: But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Union with Christ: Its Benefits
• Christ was sanctified in order that we might be sanctified in union with him…
– 1 Cor 1:30: But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. – John 17:19: For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Union with Christ: Its Benefits
• Christ was glorified in order that we might be glorified in union with him…
– Rom 8:17: …and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

Union with Christ
The Central and Organizing Motif of the Ordo Salutis

Union with Christ
• Union with Christ is thus the central and organizing motif for all of the elements of the ordo salutis. • Without the in Christ relationship, we would not be...
– – – – – – – – – Chosen Predestined Called Regenerated Granted faith and repentance Justified Adopted Sanctified Or glorified!

Union with Christ
Time and Chronology: Past, Present, Future

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• Union with Christ also helps to explain more fully the relationships between the different aspects of the ordo salutis; • It allows us to see the ordo salutis as logical rather than strictly chronological. • All three temporal aspects are ours in union with Christ.
– – – – We were in Christ before time began (eternity past) We were in Christ during his earthly life (historical past) We are in Christ as believers during our own lives (present) And we will be in Christ forever and ever (future)

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We were in Christ before time began.
– Eph 1:4, 10-11: …just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him….10with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We were in Christ during his entire earthly life.
– Since Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father, God thought of us as having obeyed.
• Rom 5:19: For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We were in Christ during his entire earthly life.
– When Christ died, God thought of us as having died
• Rom 6:6-8: …knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We were in Christ during his entire earthly life
– Since Christ was buried, raised from the dead, and taken up to heaven in glory, God thought of us as having done the same.
• Rom 6:4-11: Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We were in Christ during his entire earthly life.
– When Christ returned to heaven, all the blessings of salvation were earned for us. God thought of these blessings as being rightfully ours, just as if we had earned them ourselves.

Union with Christ
• We are in Christ as believers during our own lives.
– 2 Cor 5:17: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – Rom 16:7: Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Union with Christ: Past, Present, Future
• We will be united with Christ forever and ever.
– The blessings of Christ’s work for us have been stored up in heaven waiting to be applied to us personally.
• 1 Pet 1:3-5: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Union with Christ
Christ in Us

Union with Christ: Christ in Us
• Our union with Christ is also understood from the perspective of Christ in the believer… • Not only is the believer in Christ, • But Christ is in the believer. • The union is mutual.

Union with Christ: Christ in Us
• John 14:20: In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. • John 14:23: Jesus answered and said to him, ―If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.‖

Union with Christ: Christ in Us
• Col 1:27: …to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. • 2 Cor 13:5: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?

Union with Christ
Conclusion and Significance

Union with Christ: Conclusion and Significance
• Union with Christ as the central and organizing motif for the application of redemption. • Without a vital union to Jesus Christ none of the aspects of redemption may be enjoyed by any of us. • They will forever remain outside of us until we become one with the pioneer and perfecter of our faith and he becomes one with us.

Union with Christ: Conclusion and Significance
• Union with Christ reminds us that the various aspects of the ordo salutis are not like divine dominoes that the Lord flicks with his finger, setting them in motion for our salvation. • Instead, we see that each element of the ordo finds its meaning in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ, never divorcing the benefits of salvation from the benefactor of salvation.

Union with Christ: Conclusion and Significance
• It reminds us that our salvation is to a person; salvation is not a mechanism. • Our preaching is not the preaching of an element or aspect of the ordo salutis, but the preaching of Jesus Christ himself.

Union with Christ: Conclusion and Significance
• Finally, union with Christ reminds us that salvation is something that is accomplished completely outside ourselves; it is objective. • Therefore it can militate against what has become an all too common and all too morbid introspection with respect to our salvation.
When Satan tempts me to despair And tells me of the guilt within Upward I look and see him there Who made an end to all my sin.

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