Lectures on Soteriology

Joel Beeke

The links below constitute the entirety of the lectures in this course.  Those items in the outline that are not links are included in the previous link.

I. Introduction: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit

A.  Its importance
B.  Its difficulties

II. The Nature of the Holy Spirit

A. His Deity
B. His personality
C. Concluding implications

III. The Work of the Holy Spirit

A. In the Old Testament
B. In the life of Jesus
C. In the life of non-Christians
D. In the life of Christians
E. Concluding implications

IV. The Order of the Application of Salvation (Ordo Salutis)

A. The term ordo salutis

1. Its definition
2. Its nature

a. Not strictly temporal
b. Experiential
c. Logical

3. Its reasons

a. Salvation is a life-long process
b. Salvation consists of distinct blessings
c. Salvation is worked by an orderly Spirit
d. Salvation is experienced in distinct blessings
e. Salvation must be preserved from error and heresy

4. Its historical development

a. Pre-Reformation theology
b. Reformation theology
c. Post-Reformation theology

B. Developing a biblical order of salvation

1. The foundational model: union with Christ
2. Aspects of the model

a. Calling
b. Regeneration
c. Repentance
d. Faith
e. Justification
f. Adoption
g. Sanctification
h. Assurance
i. Perseverance
j. Glorification

3. Summary

C. Objections to an ordo salutis

1. You can’t categorize what is essentially mysterious
2. Scripture doesn’t present the Spirit’s work this way
3. Aristotle promoted and Christ demoted
4. Fails to emphasize salvation’s historical accomplishment
5. Danger of minimizing the role of faith
6. Oriented to the model of adult conversion
7. “Flattens” out salvation’s multidimensional character

D. Other orders of salvation

1. Roman Catholics
2. Lutherans
3. Arminians

E. Concluding cautions

1. Don’t separate any aspect from Christ
2. Don’t neglect the focus of grace in each aspect
3. Don’t stray from the sovereignty-responsibility balance

V. Union with Christ

A. Its scripturalness

1. Old Testament
2. New Testament

a. The Gospel of John
b. Pauline theology
c. Illuminating illustrations

B. Its placement in the ordo salutis

C. Its nature and progressive realization

 1. Union rooted in election from eternity
2. Union based on Christ’s redemptive work
3. Representative, covenantal, federal, or legal union
4. Flesh union via incarnation
5. Experiential union mediated by the Spirit

a. An organic, vital union
b. A personal, faith union
c. A spiritual, mystical union
d. An indissoluble, life union

6. Union to eternity
7. Erroneous views

a. Pantheism
b. Unbiblical mysticism
c. Sympathetic unity
d. Sacramentalism
e. Separation of legal and experiential aspects

D. Its fruit and implications

1. Communion with Christ
2. Transformation
3. The cost of discipleship
4. Confidence in prayer
5. Strength in temptation
6. Transcendent dignity
7. Imperishable grace
8. Motivation for liberality
9. Absurdity of unkindness
10. Lacking no good thing
11. Cause for self-examination
12. Glorious future

E. Summary

VI. Calling

A. Biblical background

1. Qara (to “call” out and “invite”)
2. Kaleo (to “call”); proskaleomai (to “summon”); klesis (“calling,” “invitation”); kletos (“called,” “invited”)

B. Theological background

1. Vocatio realis—calling through the things (res) of the world
2. Vocatio verbalis—calling through the Word

a. Vocatio externa—external calling by Word to all hearers
b. Vocatio efficax—efficacious calling by Word and Spirit

C. External calling

1. Its nature and characteristics

a. God’s plan of salvation
b. God’s invitation to salvation
c. God’s promise of salvation

2. Its significance

D. Nature of the internal call

1. Called by God the Father
2. Called by Jesus Christ
3. Called by Word and Spirit

E. Implications of the internal call

1. From divine initiative to divine ends

a. Called by sovereign grace
b. The multifaceted purpose of God’s gracious calling

2. From divine particularity to human irresistibility
3. From divine immutability to obedient lives and assurance of calling

F. Relationship to regeneration, repentance, and faith

G. Erroneous historical interpretations of divine calling

1. Natural ability to answer God’s universal call—Pelagians and Liberals
2. Special ability provided to resist the gospel—Lutherans
3. Universally restored ability to obey God’s gospel call—Arminians

H. Conclusion

VII. Regeneration

A. Introductory concerns

B. Definition

1. What regeneration is not
2. What regeneration is

C. Biblical terminology and pictures of regeneration

1. Three related but different senses

a. Narrow sense: implanting of spiritual life (Ezekiel 11:19-20; John 3:3, John 3:5)
b. Broad sense: life of conversion (1 Pet. 1:23)
c. Full sense: restoration of entire creation (Matt. 19:28)

2. Pauline terminology of recreation, resurrection, circumcision of the heart, washing
3. Johannine terminology of new birth

D. The nature of regeneration

1. The source of regeneration: Divine monergism
2. The agent of regeneration: the Holy Spirit
3. The characteristics of regeneration: like the wind

a. Indispensable and real
b. Free and sovereign
c. Irresistible and mysterious
d. Heavenly and instantaneous

4. The means of regeneration

a. Immediate or mediate?
b. Relation to the Word of God

5. The completeness of regeneration: transformation of the whole man

a. Spiritual renewal of the mind
b. Spiritual liberation of the will
c. Spiritual cleansing of the heart

E. The necessity of regeneration

1. Due to depravity

a. Sinful flesh
b. Spiritual blindness
c. Spiritual impotence
d. Spiritual resistance

2. Due to its being essential to salvation

a. No regeneration means no salvation
b. No preparatory grace leads to regeneration

F. Evidences of regeneration

1. Holistic results
2. Wind-like results
3. Marks of grace result

a. Manifesting faith in Jesus Christ
b. Struggling against indwelling sin
c. Conforming to God’s character and will
d. Practicing righteousness
e. Loving fellow believers
f. Overcoming the world
g. Showing the fruits of the Spirit

4. Excursus on children

a. How do you see evidences of regeneration in children?
b. Are children who die in infancy saved?

G. Theological issues

1. Relation to baptism
2. Relation to faith
3. Relation to conversion

H. Erroneous historical interpretations of regeneration

1. Baptismal regeneration: Ancient Church, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and Anglo-Catholics
2. Self-actualized regeneration: Pelagians and Liberals
3. Synergistic regeneration: Arminians
4. Presumptive regeneration: some Reformed theologians

I. Practical concluding implications

1. Don’t rely on Christian parentage or baptism for new life
2. Rely on the Holy Spirit to make sinners new creations
3. Preaching the doctrine of regeneration

VIII. Conversion

A. The term “conversion”

1. Varied use

a. Sub and epistrepho: turn back, return
b. Entire renewal: mortification and vivification
c. Conversio habitualis and conversio actualis
d. Conversio actualis prima, conversio continua, and conversio actualis secunda

2. Comprehensive character

a. Intellectual change
b. Emotional change
c. Volitional change
d. Heart and life change

B. Elements of conversion

1. Negatively: repentance
2. Positively: faith
3. Unity of repentance and faith

C. Characteristics of conversion

1. Varied in pattern

a. Time factor and emotional accompaniments
b. Predominant usage

i. Law or gospel
ii. Bavinck on variances among magisterial Reformers
iii. Intellectual, emotional, or volitional

c. Age factor: young or old
d. Excursus: Preaching the varied patterns

i. Don’t neglect preaching the typical steps in conversion: the prodigal son
ii. Do leave room in preaching for exceptions and unusual cases

2. Necessary in experience

a. The exception: covenant children who die in infancy
b. The norm: both for covenant members and worldlings

D. Theological Issues

1. Relation to regeneration: not a passive act

a. Conversion as the work of God
b. Conversion as the work of man

2. Relation to false conversions

a. National conversions
b. Genuine revival versus man-made revivalism
c. Temporary conversions
d. Counterfeit conversions

E. Conclusion: The call to conversion

1. Despite man’s inability to convert himself
2. The grounds for the demand of conversion

a. God’s gospel and covenant
b. God’s heart of mercy
c. God’s command

3. Must be preached clearly, faithfully, and fearlessly

IX. Repentance

A. Introduction
B. Its nature

1. Old Testament usage:

sûb שׁוּב,
nãham נחם

2. New Testament usage:

metanoeõ μετανοέω,
metamelomai μεταμέλομαι,
epistrephõ ἐπιστρέφω

C. Elements in repentance: A study of Psalm 51

1. Sorrowing over sin
2. Confessing specific sin
3. Forsaking sin
4. Casting ourselves upon mercy
5. Yearning for holiness
6. Serving others
7. Worshiping God

D. Necessity of Repentance

1. Repent or perish: message to the unbeliever
2. Repent lifelong: message to the believer

a. Vain thoughts
b. Worldliness
c. Backslidings
d. Burying talents
e. Ingratitude
f. Unbelief

E. Motives and Encouragements to Repent

1. Consider our obligations to repent
2. Consider what sin is
3. Consider what death is
4. Consider the Judgment Day
5. Consider the sufferings of Christ
6. Consider injuries done to God
7. Consider the spiritual blessings that repentance brings

F. Obstacles hindering repentance

1. Thoughtlessness
2. Spiritual lethargy
3. Negative views of true religion and repentance
4. Love and cares of the world
5. Presumption
6. Fatalism
7. Delay

G. Fruits of repentance

1. Righting wrongs
2. Indignation against sin, Satan, and sinful self
3. Godly fear
4. Vehement desire for righteousness
5. Watchfulness against sin
6. Zeal for God

H. Practical conclusions for preaching repentance

1. How to distinguish true and false repentance
2. Allow for degrees in repentance
3. Stress the “gift character” of repentance

X. Faith

Α. Introduction: Richness Of Doctrine Of Saving Faith

1. Heart of relationship to God
2. Heart of life itself
3. Heart of theology
4. Heart of ordo salutis
5. Heart of all the benefits of salvation

Β. Word Study

1. He’min הֶאֱמִן, batach בֶטַח, chasah חָסָה
2. πιστις, πιστευω

C. Scriptural Usage

1. Old Testament
2. New Testament

D. The Object Of Faith

1. The Bible as the Word of God
2. The Person and work of Jesus Christ

E. Elements Of Faith

1. Knowledge (cognitio)
2. Assent (assensus)
3. Trust (fiducia)

F. Faith’s Experiential Dimension

1. Faith empties self of all its righteousness
2. Faith wholeheartedly assents to the gospel
3. Faith closes with Christ
4. Faith lives out of Christ

G. Coming To Christ By Faith

1. What coming to Christ is not
2. What coming to Christ is

a. Recognition of need for Christ
b. Revelation of suitableness of Christ
c. Appropriation of Chirst

i. Active appropriation
ii. “Universal” appropriation
iii. Exclusive appropriation

3. Reasons for not coming

a. Ignorant of need
b. Impenitent before Christ
c. Fear of presumption
d. Genuine presumption
e. Extra-biblical revelation needed
f. Resting in common convictions
g. “Nothing happens”
h. Danger of delay
i. Wrong conception of God
j. “Making light” of Christ
k. Not enough conviction of sin
l. “I’ve sinned too much”
m. “I have resisted the Spirit”
n. “I’ve committed the unpardonable sin”
o. “I am unworthy”
p. Unwillingness

H. Evidences Of Faith

1. Purification
2. Humility
3. Tenderness
4. Love
5. Obedience
6. Warfare
7. Endurance
8. Victory

I. Variety In Faith

1. Dealing constructively with doubt
2. Dealing constructively with degrees of faith
3. Dealing constructively with diversity in faith
4. Dealing constructively with assurance of faith

Case Study: Anthony Burgess

J. Forms Of Non-Saving Faith

1. “Vague faith”
2. Historical faith
3. Temporary faith
4. Miraculous faith

K. Practical Theological Issues

1. The “Lordship salvation” debate
2. Faith’s warrant

a. The universal invitation of the gospel
b. The command to believe in Christ
c. The promise that faith will not fail
d. The all-sufficiency of Christ

3. Difficulty of faith
4. Faith and reason
5. Faith and knowledge
6. The faculty of faith and the act of faith
7. Faith as God’s gift
8. Will there be faith in heaven?

L. Conclusion

1. Warning to unbelievers: The wickedness and danger of not believing in Christ
2. Encouragement to believers: Pursue increase in faith

XI. Justification

A. Introduction

B. Obstacles To Justification

C. Biblical Terminology

1. tsadaq
2. dikaioõ
3. Biblical evidence for the forensic character of justification

D. The Elements Of Justification

1. Negatively: forgiveness of all sins and annulling of all condemnation
2. Positively: adoption and a right to eternal life

E. The Ground Of Justification

1. Not personal worth or works
2. Christ’s gracious, meritorious righteousness

F. Reformation View: God’s Legal Declaration And Imputation Of Righteousness

1. Martin Luther
2. John Calvin
3. Reformed standards

G. The Means Of Justification

1. Sola fide (Romans 3:21-26)
2. Is faith a “condition” of justification?
3. How should James 2 be understood?

H. Aspects Of Justification

1. Eternal justification (Revelation 13:8)
2. Collective justification (Romans 4:25)
3. Objective justification (Romans 8:30)
4. Subjective justification (Philippians 3:9)
5. Public justification (2 Timothy 4:8)

I. Theological Issues

1. Relation to sanctification and good works
2. Relation to assurance

J. Practical Fruits Of Justification

1. Spiritual peace and communion with God
2. Deliverance from guilt
3. Deliverance from the burden of perfectionism

K. Erroneous Historical Interpretations Of Justification

1. Moral improvement—Pelagians and Liberals
2. Righteousness infused—Roman Catholics
3. Restoration of moral order—Remonstrants and some Arminians
4. Conditioned upon faith—most Arminians
5. Justification by faith minus works—Antinomians
6. Political and social emancipation—Liberation theologians
7. God’s eternal verdict on mankind—Neoorthodox view

L. Conclusion

XII. Adoption

A. The Meaning and Amazing Wonder of Adoption

B. Scriptural Evidence for Adoption

1. New Testament terminology: huiothesia
2. Old Testament background

C. The Trinitarian Reference of Adoption

1. The heavenly Father: the act of adoption rooted in election
2. The brotherly Son: the basis of adoption rooted in propitiation
3. The witnessing Spirit: the entrance into adoption inseparable from regeneration

D. The Evidences of Adoption: Becoming Conscious of Adoption

1. Obtained by faith
2. Recognized by bearing God’s image
3. Bearing the inward marks of the sons of God
4. The Spirit’s leading and witness (Romans 8:14-16)

E. The Blessings and Implications of Adoption

1. Relationship to God
2. Relationship to the world
3. Relationship to the future
4. Relationship to ourselves
5. Relationship to the family of God’s children
6. Relationship to “freedom”

F. The Duties toward the Father Springing from Adoption

1. Trust the Father with everything
2. Show childlike fear of the Father in everything
3. Request all good things from the Father
4. Submit to all chastisements of the Father
5. Obey the Father and strive to be like Him

G. Theological issues

1. Relation to justification
2. Relation to sanctification

H. Conclusion: The completion of adoption

XIII. Sanctification or Holiness

A. Introduction: Holiness as the Heart of Christian Living

B. The Nature of Holiness

1. Removing misconceptions
2. Holiness in the Old Testament: קֹדֶשׁ qodesh

a. The holiness of God
b. The holiness of divine phenomena
c. The holiness of God’s covenant people

i. Israel called to holy separation and consecration
ii. Israel called to holy worship and inner holiness

3. Holiness in the New Testament: ἅγιος or ἁγιασμός, hagios

a. The holy Trinity
b. The holy saints

i. Ethical dimension of holiness accented
ii. Normativity of holiness highlighted
iii. Transformation of total person envisioned

4. Definitive and progressive
Excursus: Is the believer both an old man and a new man?

C. The Call to Cultivate Holiness

1. A “whole” task
2. A comprehensive task
3. A daily task

D. The Pattern of Holiness

1. Imitation of the ethical character of Jehovah
2. Conformity to the image of Christ
3. Submission to the mind of the Spirit
4. Obedience to the law of God

E. The Agents of Holiness

1. God’s effecting grace
2. The believer’s active response of faith and work

F. How to Cultivate Holiness

1. Know and love Scripture
2. Use the sacraments diligently
3. Regard yourself as dead to the dominion of sin and alive to God in Christ
4. Pray and work in dependence upon God
5. Flee worldliness
6. Seek fellowship and mentors in the church
7. Live present-tense, total commitment to God

I. Encouragements for Cultivating Holiness

1. Holiness works for good
2. Holiness resembles God
3. Holiness evidences justification and election
4. Holiness fosters assurance
5. Holiness purifies
6. Holiness promotes effective service
7. Holiness fits for heaven

J. Obstacles to Holiness

1. Self-centeredness
2. Spiritual lethargy
3. Spiritual pride
4. Shirking battle

K. Wrong Historical Interpretations of Sanctification

1. A personal reformation: Pelagians and Liberals
2. A sacramental process: Roman Catholics
3. A complete process via a “second blessing” experience: Wesleyans
4. A Holy Spirit baptism: Pentecostals
5. A decisive act of surrender: the Keswick movement
6. An objective, accomplished fact: the Neo-orthodox

L. The Joy of Holiness

1. The supreme joy: fellowship with God
2. The ongoing joy: abiding assurance
3. The anticipated joy: eternal, gracious reward

M. Conclusion: The Goal of Holiness (included with previous lecture)

XIV. Perseverance

A. Introduction: The Issue at Stake

B. The Calvinist View

1. Points in common with Arminians
2. Logical consistency
3. Scriptural proof

a. The indestructible quality of salvation
b. The persistence and power of divine love
c. God’s provisions
d. Direct promises
e. Interwoven with other doctrines

i. Predestination
ii. Union with and intercession of Christ
iii. New birth
iv. Indwelling of the Spirit
v. Assurance

C. The Arminian view

1. Warnings against apostasy
2. Exhortations to faithfulness
3. Examples of apostasy
4. Objections to Calvinistic understanding
Excursus: John Goodwin versus John Owen

D. Resolution of The Problem

1. Seemingly can, but factually will not, fall away
2. The role of warnings and commands
3. Cases of actual apostasy

E. The Call to Perseverance in Hebrews

1. Negatively: dread consequences of not persevering are ultimately irremediable judgment
2. Positively: astonishing comforts and gracious rewards in Christ as an incentive for persevering

F. The Canons of Dort on Perseverance

G. The Means of Perseverance

1. The Word of God
2. Obedience to duties
3. Christian fellowship

H. Conclusion: Practical Implications of Comfort and Challenge

1. Be encouraged: God will never abandon
2. Be diligent: Utilize God’s means of grace
3. Be submissive: Trust God in trials and persecutions
4. Be faithful: Love Christ to the end who loved you to the end

XV. Glorification

A. The Hope of Glorification

B. The Phases of Glorification

1. The intermediate state: soul in heaven; body in the grave
2. Glorification proper: body and soul reunited
3. Before the judgment seat: vindicated by Christ
4. Entering into heaven: embodied spirits forever in glory

C. The Nature of Glorification

1. The perfecting of the soul
2. The perfecting of the body
3. Full participation in the life to come

D. Conclusion: Practical Implications

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