23 November 2003
Romans 5:1, Colossians 1:10, Proverbs 4:18, Jeremiah 32:40, 1 John 2:19, Revelation 14:12 & 1 Peter 1:5
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 36. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are: assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.36. What benefits in this life go with or come from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A. The benefits that in this life go with or come from justification, adoption, and sanctification are: the assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit, and growing and persevering in grace to the end of our lives.
1. What do we mean by “assurance of God’s love?”
We mean the persuasion that we are the children of God and the heirs of eternal life (Romans 5:5).
2. Do all believers experience this persuasion?
According to the Westminster Standards, a man may have faith sufficient for his salvation, and yet “may not have enough of faith or of its fruits to enable him to attain to assurance.” (Whyte). Although the possession of assurance is not essential to one’s salvation, it is essential to one’s spiritual well-being; and the Bible clearly teaches that the believer ought to seek such assurance.
(2 Peter 1:10; Hebrews 6:11).
3. What do we mean by “peace of conscience?”
We mean the inward quietness that is a result of being justified by faith. Since we have an assurance of our reconciliation to God, our lot is determined by his love, and peace is our heritage (Rom. 5:1).
4. What do we mean by “joy in the Holy Ghost?”
Joy of salvation and the sense of God’s favour imparted by the Holy Spirit who indwells believers as his temple. (1 Peter 1:8; Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22).
5. What do we mean by “increase in grace?”
We mean the “growth in holiness and progress in piety” (James Harper). This is the work of the Holy Spirit and is manifested in an increase in faith, love, submission, patience, meekness, etc. (Galatians 5:22, 23).
6. What do we mean by “perseverance therein to the end?”
We mean the perseverance of God (not the saints) to keep the believer to the end. We mean that the believer cannot totally or finally fall from grace. This is due to God’s promises, God’s faithfulness, the Holy Spirit’s indwelling and the believer’s union with Christ (1 Peter 1:5).