Dead or Alive? The Ordo Salutis

A summary statement of the Ordo Salutis: Calling

The Calling is that event during which the lost sinner becomes aware of the message of the gospel. He/she may or may not believe it at that time; most frequently it is initially rejected without much thought.

It is important to realize that the lost sinner is culpable before the LORD long before the Calling. That is, the lost sinner is guilty before the LORD regardless of whether he/she has heard the gospel message:

Act 17.30-31
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

The grace of the LORD is clearly revealed in the calling because the lost sinner is hopelessly guilty and justly condemned. The resurrection was the proof that the LORD will “judge the world in righteousness”; ignorance of the LORD’s justice can’t be used as an excuse.

The resurrection removed any and all objections of “Well, I’ve never heard the gospel! How could the LORD hold me guilty? I never knew!” 

[A distinction is made in Systematic Theologies between the general call and the effectual call. The former is the simple command to “repent”; the latter is heard by the sinner who was made alive to respond by grace.] 

Relative to the sinner, the gospel call to repentance is the first step to salvation. 

[I say “relative to the sinner”, that is, viewed from the sinner’s perspective. He/she knew nothing of the foreknowledge of the LORD or His election of grace. As far as the lost sinner is concerned, salvation began at the moment of his/her “positive response” to that gospel call. 

The truth of the matter, though, is that when that particular call was “heard” by the sinner it was the next step in the chain of events which began in the LORD’s election of grace.] 

Relative to the Ordo Salutis, genuine repentance is the indication that the effectual call is at work in the lost sinner. That sinner is in the divine and unstoppable process of salvation and is destined to be glorified!

The Calling is variously described in the Scripture. Frequently, it is referred to simply as the gospel (or gospel call):

Mat 4.23
Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. 

Mat 24.14
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. 

Luk 9.6
Departing, they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. 

Act 8.25
So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. 

Rom 1.16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 

1 Cor 1.17
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. 

Eph 1.13
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 

1 The 2.2
but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition. 

2 Tim 1.9-10
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel ... 

1 Pet 1.12
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. 

Rev 14.6
And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 

[cf., Mat 9.35; 11.5; Mar 1.-14-15; Act 8.40; 14.15; 16.10; 1 Cor 15.1; Eph 6.19; 1 The 2.4,9; 2 The 2.14; 2 Tim 1.10; 1 Pet 4.17;] 

Also often, the Calling is presented as the simple command to repent from sin:

Mar 2.17 [Luk 5.32]
And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Mat 3.2
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Mat 4.17
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 

Mar 6.12
They went out and preached that men should repent.

Act 2.38
Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 3.19
Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Act 17.30
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

Act 26.20
but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

1 Cor 1.2
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:

The Calling is never merely a “feeling” or “impression”, some abstract, indefinite or mystical “experience”. It is always the truth of the message found in the Bible, the Word of God, revealed in the heart of the lost sinner with the result being genuine repentance.

1 Cor 1.18, 21-24
For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. … For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

To those who claim to have been saved without any exposure to the Word of God—the Bible—I have only this warning for you: your “salvation” never happened:

Rom 1.16a
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes …

Jam 1.18a
In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth

If there was never any “gospel” presented to your understanding, there can’t have been “salvation”; you continue to “[store] up wrath for the day of wrath”. (Rom 2.5)

The Calling of God is effectual, irresistible and permanent:

Rom 11.29
… for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Comments powered by CComment