Soteriology (Primer)

This week we will begin a series of explanations centered upon the doctrine of soteriology. Soteriology is the study of salvation. The reason I say we will begin a discussion is because of the need to work through a pile of technical material in a manner that does not make your eyes glaze over and your brain turn to mush; which has been known to occur in many a seminary class.

So starting next week we will look at each of the main individual aspects of salvation that have been given this week. Consider this week a fly-over look at the doctrine of soteriology.

Salvation is described as a series of events that occur (some simultaneously) that result in God rescuing sinners from their sin, and to Himself. In theology we refer to this series by the Latin phrase the ordo salutis (literally meaning—the order of salvation). This may seem superfluous to state this way, but it is necessary to help you live in an increasingly diverse Christian world. I say that because ALL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS believe the things articulated by the ordo salutis, they merely disagree with the place they occupy on the list. Whether they be: Calvinists, Arminians, Traditionalists, or whatever other name; all agree these things are present on the list.

So here we go in paragraph form:
Sin has broken the relationship between God and people. Our nature is ruined and we are incapable of, standing before or being in relationship with, a holy God. God through the work of Christ has justified us. Our legal status is changed from guilty to not guilty and we are united to Christ. We are adopted by God and made fellow heirs with Christ as children of God. We are regenerated, meaning we have a new “heart” and motivation to desire righteousness and are declared righteous by God. We are engaged in the lifelong process of sanctification. Through this cooperative work between the sinner and the Holy Spirit we are made holy, putting sin to death each day; in order to look more like Christ. Upon our death we will be glorified and complete sanctification as we are removed from the presence and pull of sin and made perfect (humanly speaking) before God. And the hallmark of this process is the perseverance of each believer to complete this process (true Arminians will deny this aspect of the ordo).

So there you go, and I know what you are asking………..

So what?!?? You said this stuff was going to be important to my life!!!!! By seeing the depth of what God has accomplished we can see the magnitude of the work of Christ and the continuing work of the Holy Spirit. Saving sinners is a big task that involves our relationship to: God, each other, and even ourselves. What Christ accomplished in redemption was more than just a removal of stain, but a total transformation of the believer. My prayer life is strengthened as I see the faithful working of God for my sanctification. My praise life is elevated as I see the greatness of justification (that I did not deserve). My hope is renewed as I think about regeneration and realize how God has made me and remade me. These doctrines matter because they are the motivation for our daily lives of praise and service to our God and King.