Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 2. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
“Orderly Arrangement of the Doctrines Pertaining to the ‘Ordo Salutis’” Loc. 9396.
Many will say the Lutheran Confessions do not present a way of salvation in order. Pieper says this is not the case (Pieper 1968, Loc. 9401). Though the Confessions were not written as a dogmatics text there is an order expressed in Formula of Concord Solid Declaration III.41 (Ibid., Loc. 9406). The first step is faith created by hearing the Gospel. Faith holds God’s grace and justifies. Then the person is sanctified, from which good works follow. Luther also uses the same order in his catechisms when explaining the Third Article of the Creed (Ibid., Loc. 9411). In any case, the center of a biblical view of salvation is saving faith in Jesus (Ibid., Loc. 9448). This leads Pieper to discuss multiple facets of saving faith, as he finds it poorly defined and easily misunderstood in the Church. I enumerate his headers in his words.
- The Sole Object of Saving Faith is the Gospel (Ibid., Loc. 9478). This is distinct from trusting “the Bible.” It is specifically the substitutionary atonement of Christ.
- Saving Faith Is “Fiducia Cordis” (Ibid., Loc. 9520). The heart relies on the Gospel’s promises of grace.
- Saving Faith Is “Fides Specialis” (Ibid., Loc. 9596). By this Pieper means it is personal faith, appropriated to oneself.
- Saving Faith is “Fides Actualis” (Ibid., Loc. 9627). There is an element of “apprehension of the divine promises of the Gospel by an act of the intellect and will” (Ibid.)
- The Function of Faith in Justification (Ibid., Loc. 9690). Pieper reiterates that faith is merely the instrument for apprehending justification. It is not a work of goodness in itself.
- Saving Faith is “Fides Directa” (Ibid., Loc. 9796). It is directed toward Christ, not faith in faith itself.
- Saving Faith Embraces the Assurance of Grace. Faith and the Testimony of the Holy Ghost (Ibid., Loc. 9817). There is an assurance of grace from the Holy Spirit.
- Saving Faith is Trust in the Grace That is Offered to Us in the Gospel (Ibid., Loc. 9842).
- The Faith of Infants (Ibid., Loc. 9866). Scripture says children can have faith and eternal life regardless of their capacity to reason.
- On the Meaning of the Term “Faith” (Ibid., Loc. 9886). Sometimes the Bible uses “faith” to refer to faithful behavior. This behavior does not justify. It is the belief that Jesus’ death was for the believer which justifies.