Because I can’t find much online on this theological term, I’m redone an old post from my old blog so I can link to it when I do this week’s theological term post.
The historia salutis refers to the history of salvation — what God did to work redemption in history. The ordo salutis explains the order of the application of the benefits of redemption to an individual person, but the historia salutis explains the events God worked in history to bring salvation to the world. Or it might be better to start with the historia salutis—God’s work in the history of the world to accomplish redemption of his creatures and his creation—and then move to the ordo salutis, which tells us how the redemption accomplished historically by God becomes effective in the life of one who is being saved.
Christ’s work—his coming in the incarnation, dying, rising, and sending the Spirit, etc.—is at the center of the historia salutis, but God’s creation, mankind’s fall, God’s covenant with Abraham, and God’s establishment of the nation of Israel, etc. would also be included. It is with the historia salutis that we see the big change that occurred with the death of Christ and the new age ushered in at the time of his death/resurrection/ascension. Pentecost, the growth of the church, and spread of the gospel throughout the world are all part of the history salutis because in them God is working out in history the results of Christ’s accomplishments.
When someone speaks of the “history of redemption”, they are refering to the historia salutis. The concept of “already/not yet“—the acknowledgement that the kingdom of God was inaugurated with Jesus’ life and ministry, but will not be consummated until his second coming—is also closely associated with the historia salutis.