The “Vita Salutis” is latin for “the life of salvation,” which refers to the vital or ‘living’ connection of each element of salvation to the Christian’s union with Christ. For example, even though sanctification occurs after regeneration and justification, it is built on and receives power from a vital union with Christ. (John 15:1-11, Colossians 1:15-20, 2 Peter 1:3)
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Pastor Sammy Davies gives a great account of how the Ordo Salutis should relate to our Union with Christ. He says, “(It may best) to understand the ordo as taking place within the union. It is almost as if union with Christ is introduced as a new stage in the ordo salutis, but is perhaps better thought of as, “the dominant motif in any formulation of the application of redemption and dominate feature of any “order” of salvation.” The ordo salutis takes place in union much like a fish resides within water.
Robert Letham expresses this understanding of union with Christ as “the foundation of all the blessings of salvation. Justification, sanctification, adoption and glorification are all received through our being united to Christ.” Furthermore, “The whole process of the application of salvation to us by the Holy Sprit (what has been known as ordo salutis – the order of salvation) fits in here as part of what it means to be united with Jesus Christ.” Essentially union with Christ isn’t actualised (in the life of the believer) until the Holy Spirit works faith and repentance in a believer. Perhaps one difficulty associated with this stance is a relegation of the distinctiveness of union. (One) must be very careful to not simply reduce union to a mere additional stage in the ordo, but (also) maintain it’s altogether different nature.”
Pastor Davies’ full article is found at: http://saintbeagle.wordpress.com/papers/ordo-salutis-and-union-with-chirst/