The District Church exists to make disciples by interrupting people’s lives with love, because the gospel changes everything. It’s a truth we repeat often, and it is something every member affirms and proclaims. The gospel is the center of every truth we teach and every act of service we engage in as a body of believers. On Vision Sunday, Pastor Boyd reminded us about what the gospel means for us.
The ordo salutis, or “order of salvation,” is a foundational part of how we understand the gospel and its work in our lives. It helps put into perspective who God is, as well as how reliant we are on him for our salvation. This isn’t something we’ve come up with individually but rather something we find in scripture.
"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." - Romans 8:29-30
1. Election or Predestination
The first step as seen in this passage is our election and predestination. Ephesians 1:4 tells us that God “chose us in him[Christ] before the foundation of the world.” By no merit or value inherent in us, God chooses us by his own divine pleasure.
Next is Christ’s atonement, of which the gospels offer an excellent portrait. We also read in Romans 3:21-26 that in his sacrifice on the cross, Jesus paid the debt we could not pay.
3. Gospel Call
This is the general, universal call issued to all hearers. In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus speaks in parable, describing a wedding feast to which many are called. Several of the called refuse the invitation, while only a few accept. Jesus finishes the parable by saying in verse 14: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
4. Effectual or Inward Call
This is the call that happens within the elect, God’s chosen. It is what Romans 8 refers to when it says, “Those whom he predestined he also called.” This is God’s calling to our very hearts, calling them to new life.
With God’s effectual call, our hearts are miraculously brought from death in sin to new life in Christ. In this new life, we are able to respond to the gospel call.
6. Conversion (or Faith and Repentance)
With our new hearts, we respond in the only appropriate way - by placing our faith in Jesus and by repenting, or turning away from, our wicked ways.
As we repent and place our faith in Jesus, his atonement is applied to our account, putting us in right standing before our Creator.
After justification, we begin the lifelong undertaking of sanctification. This is the process where, under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, we become more like Jesus, gradually removing sin from our hearts and lives.
At Christ’s return, he will take all those whom he has justified, and who the Holy Spirit has sanctified, and purge from them any trace of sin. In this, all things will be restored, and the curse of sin will be purged from the very earth itself.
While this has been a very brief look at each bit of the process, we can see that one thing is certain: everything we have we can only attribute to God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Without his work in our lives, we would remain dead in sin and hopeless.
A part of the process of sanctification is living in community with other believers so we may encourage one another to become more like Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit and to pray for one another. Be sure to join a group if you haven’t already.