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Ordo Salutis - The Order of Salvation

T.U.L.I.P. - The Doctrines of Grace
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“And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house…” (Luke 19:9).

“For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Thess. 5:9).

The phrase, “ordo salutis” is a Latin scholastic term that designates, “the order of salvation,” as it appears in Scripture. This is the theological doctrine dealing with the logical sequencing of the covenant planning and application of benefits in the redemptive work of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the holy Spirit.

The Belgic Confession (1561)—BC
The Heidelberg Catechism (1563)—HC
The Second Helvetic Confession (1566)—SHC
The Thirty-nine Articles of Religion (1571)—TNAR
The Canons of Dort (1618-1619)—CD
Westminster Confession of Faith (1647)—WCF
Westminster Shorter Catechism (1647)—WSC
Westminster Longer Catechism (1648)—WLC
1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)—BCF

1. The Decrees Of God
Two Possible Views On the Order of Decrees:


  1. Decree purposing the revelation of God’s virtues in electing some and reprobating others
  2. Decree to create those men elect and reprobate
  3. Decree to permit them to Fall
  4. Decree to provide Salvation through Jesus Christ for the elect, and condemn the reprobate

(Ps. 115:3; Prov. 16:4; Is. 10:15; 45:9; Jer. 18:6; Matt. 20:15; Rom. 9:17, 19-21)


  1. Decree to create men in holiness
  2. Decree to permit them to Fall
  3. Decree to Elect some and Reprobate others
  4. Decree to provide Salvation through Jesus Christ for the elect, and condemn the reprobate

(Deut. 7:6-8; Matt. 12:25, 26; John 15:19; Rom. 9:15, 16; Eph. 1:4-12; 2 Tim. 1:9)

The Decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he has fore-ordained whatsoever comes to pass.  Romans 9:11, 13, 16, 18; 11:33; Ephesians 1:11

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head 1, Article 6
WCF, 3:1-8
WLC, Ques. 12-14; WSC, Ques. 7-8
BC, Article 13
BCF, 3:1-5

2. Predestination
“The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all.” (Psa. 103:19).

Predestination is the eternal decree of God, by which He has decided by His good pleasure alone what is to become of each and every individual person in relation to salvation or damnation.  Eph. 1:4-5, 9, 11; Rom. 8:28-30, 9:11, 13, 15-16;  2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:12-13

Confessions and Catechisms

TNAR, Article 17
WCF, 3:5-8; BCF, 3:5
SHC, Chapter 10, Articles 1-9


3. Election
“They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.” (Isa. 65:22).

Election is the unchangeable purpose of God, where before the foundation of the world, He has out of mere grace, according to the sovereign good pleasure of His own will, chosen from the whole human race, a certain number of persons to redemption in Jesus Christ. Isaiah 45:4; Romans 9:11-13; 11:5-28; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:10; Ephesians 1:22; 2:6-8; Colossians 3:12

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head 1, Article 7
WCF, 7:1-6; WLC, Ques. 66
BC, Article 16
HC, Ques. 54
BCF, 3:6

The opposite of Election is:

Reprobation: The rest of mankind God was pleased to pass by; and to ordain them to wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice. Mat. 11:25-26; Rom. 9:17-22; Jude 1:4; 1 Pet. 2:8; 2 Tim. 2:19-20


4. Outward Call
“”Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”” (Jon. 3:2).

Men are dead in sin, Ephesians 2:1-3

The outward call is the indiscriminate preaching of the Gospel in the Word of God proclaiming the benefits of Christ to sinners, where He calls and commands men to believe, have faith, repent, and turn from their sin to Him for salvation.  Matt. 3:1; 4:23; 2 Cor. 2:16; Titus 1:3

Confessions and Catechisms

BC, Article 14
CD, Heads III & IV, Articles 8, 9, Rejection 5
WCF, 10:4, 16:7; WLC, Ques. 60, 68
BCF, 10:4

5. Effectual (Inward) Call
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh,” (Eze. 36:26).

Effectual Calling, Regeneration, or the New Birth, is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby changing our hearts, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel. John 1:12-13; 3:1-10; 6:44, 45, 63-65; Ephesians 2:1-5; Titus 3:3-6; Romans 8:30

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Heads III & IV, Articles 6, 10-13, 15-16
CD, Heads III & IV, Rejections 6-9
WCF, 10:1-3, 16:7
WLC, Ques. 58-59, 66-68 WSC, Ques. 29-32
BCF, 10:1-4

6. Saving Faith
“Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him,” (John 9:38).

Saving faith is a sure knowledge and hearty trust of all that God has revealed to us in His Word, which the Holy Spirit works in us by the Gospel, where forgiveness of sins, everlasting righteousness, and salvation are freely given by God, merely of grace, only for the sake of Christ’s merits.  Psalm 19:7-10; Acts 20:21; 13:48; 16:14; 18:27; 24:12; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29; James 2:14

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head V, Article 7
HC, Ques. 2, 81, 87-90
WCF, 15:2-6; WLC, Ques. 76; WSC, Ques. 87
SHC, Article 14:1-4, 7
BCF, 14:1-3

7. Repentance
“Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes,” (Job. 42:6).

True Repentance is a saving grace, fashioned in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit and word of God, where out of the sight and sense of the danger, filthiness and odiousness of his sins, and on the apprehension of God’s mercy in Christ, he grieves for and hates his sins, so that he turns from them all to God, purposing constantly to walk with him in all the ways of new obedience.  Job 42:6; Acts 11:18; 2 Corinthians 7:10-11; Hebrews 6:6; 2 Peter 3:9

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head V, Article 7
HC, Ques. 2, 81, 87-90
WCF, 15:2-6
WLC, Ques. 76
WSC, Ques. 87
SHC, Article 14:1-4, 7
BCF, 15:1-5

8. Justification
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” (Rom. 1:17).

Justification is both virtual and actual. It is virtual, completed in Christ’s work on the cross on behalf of his elect, (John 19:30), and it is actual, at a specific point in time during the conversion of a sinner in any time period.

Justification is an act of God’s free grace, where He pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in His sight by a legal declaration, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.  Deut. 25:1; Luke 18:14; Acts 10:43; Rom. 3:21; 2:13; 3:26-28; 4:5-8; 5:1-2; 5:8-18; 8:30; Gal. 2:16-17; 3:11; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9; Titus 3:7

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head II, Article 3, Rejection 4
HC, Questions 1, 37-39, 45, 56
WCF, 11:1-6; WLC, Ques. 69-71; WSC, Ques. 33
BC, Article 23
BCF, 11:1-6

9. Adoption
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12).

“Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” (Eph. 1:5).

Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, where we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the Sons of God.  Romans 8:15-17, 23-25; Galatians 4:1-5; John 1:12-13; John 8:40-59; 1 John 3:1-2; Ephesians 1:5

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head V, Article 6
HC, Ques. 33
WCF, 12:1; WLC, Ques. 74
WSC, Ques. 34
BCF, 12:1

10. Sanctification
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality,” (1 Thess. 4:3).

Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, where we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die to sin, and live righteously.  Lev. 11:44; 19:2; Matt. 5-7; Rom. 13:11-14; Eph. 5:8; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Cor. 13; Gal. 5:16-23; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2 Peter 1:1-10; 3:18

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head I, Article 13; Head 5, Article 13
HC, Questions 32, 43, 76, 86, 115, 122, 124
WCF, 13:1-3; WLC, Ques. 75, 77-78; WSC, Ques. 35
BC, Article 24
BCF, 13:1-3

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die,” (Gen. 2:17).

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Heb. 9:27).

11. Glorification
“Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified,” (Rom. 8:30).

Glorification is the work of God’s free grace, where the elect alone shall be received into heaven, where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery, and filled with inconceivable joys, made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul.  1 Thess. 4:17; Matt. 10:32, 25:33; 1 Cor. 6:2-3; Matt. 25:34, 46; Eph. 5:27; Rev. 14:13; Psalm 16:11; Heb. 12:22-23; 1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 13:12; 15:42; 1 Thess. 4:17-18; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Phil 1:23; 3:20-21; Revelation 21:4-5

Confessions and Catechisms

CD, Head II, Article 3; Rejection 4
HC, Ques. 57
WCF, 32:1-3; WLC, Q. 84-89; WSC, Q. 38
BC, Article 37
BCF, 32:2

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