Rebecca Stark is the author of The Good Portion — God, the second title in The Good Portion series, a series written specifically to encourage women to immerse themselves in the depths of Christian doctrine.

The Good Portion — God explores what Scripture teaches about God in hopes that readers will see his perfection, worth, magnificence, and beauty as they study his triune nature, infinite attributes, and wondrous works. 

Rebecca also blogs at Out of the Ordinary.


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Theological Term of the Week


ordo salutis
An ordered list intended to describe the logical order of the saving benefits of Christ’s work which are given to those who are being saved in order to  show the relationships between those benefits in the saved person’s experience of them; literally, the order of salvation.

  • From Romans 8:29-30:
    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.
  • From John Frame’s Salvation Belongs to the Lord, page 183:
    We should be flexible as to what goes into the ordo and what does not. The Bible itself doesn’t use the phrase ordo salutis… And Scripture does not include anywhere a list of all the events theologians typically include under that label. Myself, I think that the ordo is mainly a pedagogical device. As you go through the various items on the list, there is no consistent principle of ordering. Some items precede other items because the first comes earlier in time, the other later. That is the case with effectual calling and glorification. Other items on the list precede others because one is a cause, the other an effect, as with regeneration and faith. Still others come before others not because of temporal priority or causal priority but because of what theologians call instrumental priority, as in the relation of faith to justification. And still other pairs of events are simply concurrent or simultaneous blessings, like justification and adoption. So the order means different things: sometimes cause and effect, sometimes earlier and later, sometimes instrument and object, sometimes mere concurrence. Nevertheless, the order does bring out important relationships between these events, relationships that the Bible does set forth.
  • From, Ordo Salutis:
    Historically in the Church there has been disagreement about the order of salvation, especially between those in the Reformed and Arminian camps. The following two perspectives of God’s order in carrying out His redemptive work reveals the stark contrast between these two main historic views. Keep in mind that both viewpoints are based on the redemptive work which Christ accomplished for His people in history:

    In the Reformed camp, the ordo salutis is 1) election, 2) predestination, 3) gospel call 4) inward call 5) regeneration, 6) conversion (faith & repentance), 7) justification, 8) sanctification, and 9) glorification. (Rom 8:29-30)

    In the Arminian camp, the ordo salutis is 1) outward call 2) faith/election, 3) repentance, 4) regeneration, 5) justification, 6) perseverance, 7) glorification.

    Notice the crucial difference in the orders of regeneration and faith. While the Reformed position believes spiritual life is a prerequisite for the existence of the other aspects of salvation, the Arminians believe that fallen, natural man retains the moral capacity to receive or reject the gospel of his own power.
Learn more:
  1. Theopedia: Ordo Salutis
  2. What does the “ordo salutis” mean and why is it important?
  3. Here at Rebecca Writes: Ordo Salutis
  4. Third Millenium: Ordo Salutis
  5. Kim Riddlebarger: Basics of the Reformed Faith: The Order of Salvation
  6. Tim Challies: Visual Theology - The Order of Salvation
Related term:
Have you come across a theological term that you don’t understand and that you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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Reader Comments (2)

Thanks for posting this. I saw the term in the Pyromaniacs comments today and didn't know what it meant.

That comment is what reminded me of this term today. I'm still a little sick and wanted something that would be quick. Since I'd already posted previously on the ordo salutis, it fit the bill...

May 15, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

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