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The Order of Salvation

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The Order of Salvation

The Ordo Salutis or Order of Salvation begins with the understanding of the existence and acknowledgment of original sin and God's response to it. Steve Harper says, in The Way to Heaven, "At its base, sin is broken relationship" (Harper 2003, 23). Prior to beginning to name the order of any process we must understand where we are or have previously been positioned. Too many persons fail to recognize the need for salvation at all. Yet all persons begin in broken relationship through original sin. Salvation from original sin starts with justification continues on in regeneration, then to sanctification and finally ends (or one could say begins) with glorification. Intertwined in these stages are key "graces". These graces are Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace, and Sanctifying Grace.

Prevenient Grace

We as humans are unable to respond to God without God first empowering us to have faith in Him. This is called "Prevenient Grace." Prevenient Grace does not bring about salvation on its own but, this grace comes before anything that we do, giving us a desire to come to God, and making it possible to have faith in God. Prevenient Grace is the "starting point of salvation. It is God's prior and sustained action in our lives." (Harper 2003, 33) I recognize in hindsight God's Prevenient Grace at work in my life in my early 20's as I felt a tremendous desire to rid myself of substances that altered my thoughts and actions, to change my use of language, and to end unhealthy relationships. I had no logical or moral basis for my decisions. I only felt strongly drawn to do so. My decisions, I thought at the time, had nothing to do with God, as I did not know Him. It was God's Prevenient Grace at work in my broken life. John Wesley said this in his sermon, On Working Out Our Own Salvation:

Salvation begins with what is usually termed (and very properly)

preventing grace; including the first wish to please God, the first dawn of

light concerning his will, and the first slight transient conviction of having

sinned against him. All these imply some tendency toward life; some

degree of salvation; the beginning of a deliverance from a blind, unfeeling

heart, quite insensible of God and the things of God." (Wesley, Sermon

#85)

Faith

Once we have come towards God through Prevenient Grace, we are then enabled by this grace to respond to the gift of Salvation through faith, and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. As I experienced Faith I was overwhelmed and yet began to understand that the journey was just beginning. Wesley states, "Salvation is carried on by convincing grace, usually in Scripture termed repentance; which brings a larger measure of self-knowledge, and a farther deliverance from the heart of stone. Afterwards we experience the proper Christian salvation; whereby, "through grace," we "are saved by faith;" consisting of those two grand branches, justification and sanctification." (Wesley, Sermon #85) It is important to note that Prevenient Grace and faith are not part of the order of salvation but are nevertheless essential to salvation. Prevenient Grace makes a person's response to faith possible, and this faith response must be made before God will do the saving. Faith is an authentic response made possible by God's enabling grace. While God's salvation results from faith, faith does not cause salvation. God causes salvation in response to faith according to His promise to save all those who believe in Him.

Justifying Grace

Justifying Grace negates our sin and brings us into the family of God. This is when "Full Regeneration" takes place and we are made in the same spiritual state as Adam and Eve in the Garden. Wesley states, "If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed fundamental, they are doubtless these two, -- the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: The former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the

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