Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 36: What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?

 

Answer: The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, (1) joy in the Holy Ghost, (2) increase of grace, (3) and perseverance therein to the end. (4) (1)Rom. 5:1,2,5 (2)Rom. 14:17 (3)Prov. 4:18 (4)1 John 5:13; 1 Pet. 1:5

 

Scripture Memory: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13)

 

An Explanation: What a glorious joy it is to be one of God’s beloved children! What lavish grace God has been kind enough to bestow upon repent sinners who receive the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord! To be in Christ by His grace is to be the treasured possession of the Triune God, possessing an imputed righteousness given by faith alone in Christ alone because of grace alone, knowing confidently that one is loved by a good and faithful Heavenly Father, and enjoying some measure of growth in Christ-likeness, and in conformity to the holiness of the Son of God (Rom. 3:24-26; 5:21; 1 Jo. 3:1-3; Eph. 1:3-6, 4:19ff; Rom. 8:29-30; Tit. 2:11-14).

And there are glorious benefits of this salvation that we should be enjoying in this life on our way to heaven!! Though we suffer, and are often weary from battling flesh, the allurements of the world, and the temptations of satan, we can possess assurance that we are loved by God (1 Jo. 5:13), and we enjoy the joy of the LORD that is our strength (Neh. 8:10). Though the unbelieving world is often given moments of happiness (Matt. 5:45; Acts 14:17), it does not possess the joy of the LORD which is a (as I paraphrase from Dr. David Murray) “God-given…God- centered understanding of God’s love for you in Christ”. Only believers possess true and lasting happiness which is true joy, and found in the love of God in Christ. The Holy Spirit has been given to believers so that we are sealed as God’s children until the Day of Redemption, and enjoy God’s love that has been poured out abundantly into our hearts (Eph. 1:14; Rom. 5:5).

And another benefit is that believers, the children of God, possess consciences that have been reconciled to God its Creator, and have peace that passes all understanding, though shaken at many times by different temptations and trials! (Rom. 5:1-11). Our consciences tell us about God and His righteous requirements for all mankind, but they will only haunt us if we do not possess as God’s children the reconciling mercies of God our Creator found in Christ! The Bible teaches that in fact there is “no peace for the wicked” (Isa. 57:21), and their consciences bear witness to the fact that they offended the true and only living, Triune God (Rom. 2:15; cf. 1:32). Only justification, adoption, and sanctification can bring peace to a sinful, troubled soul!

And as God is committed to making His children holy as Christ is holy, we can expect fruitfulness in Christ as we abide in His love, keeping His commandments, and loving God and one another by His grace (John 15:1-11). We ought to be thankful that this very day, we can expect an increase of grace as we turn from our sins to more grace in the Living God because of Christ. Christ is enthroned as Mediator at God’s right hand full of grace for all we need, full of mercy for all of our sinful struggles, and whatever grace we need, we can find it. We are promised this as God’s Beloved children! “God gives more grace…” (2 Pet. 1:3-11; Heb. 4:14-16; John 1:14-18; James 4:6).

And if this is not enough, because heaven has begun in us now through union with Christ by His Spirit, we shall also confidently, yet humbly persevere until the end because Christ is praying for us that our faith will not fail us in His Heavenly Intercessory ministry (Heb. 7:24; Rom. 8:34; cf. Luke 22:32). Yet we do not grow lazy because of this, but work all the harder, knowing that as we have been possessed by Christ and we have a zeal to possess more of Him! (Phil. 3:8-16; Tit. 2:14; cf. Phil. 2:12-13). In fact, as beloved children of God, we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, growing in holiness and in the fear of the LORD, and attain to our full heavenly inheritance knowing that nothing can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ, and no one, or nothing—absolutely nothing!!—can snatch us out of the tight and loving grip of Christ’s beautiful, strong, and saving hand (Heb. 12:1-2, 10, 14; Rom. 8:31-39; John 10:27-30; 1 Pet. 1:5). Let us rejoice in the benefits that do accompany and flow from our salvation in Jesus!

 

A Prayer: Father, I am your treasured possession. Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. Your heart is with beloved children. Grant me to grow in the benefits of my salvation, in possessing more joy in Christ, in growing in holiness, humility and honesty, in enjoying more peace, and persevering grace unto the end all for your glory! Amen. Let my life adorn your precious gospel this day! Amen and amen.

 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs

 

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