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How sinners are saved

How sinners are saved: Benefits of salvation in this life.

Below is a question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism with answers and supporting Scripture proofs. Explanatory notes follow.

 

Q: 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 Ghost1, increase of grace2, and perseverance therein to the end3.

1 Romansans 5:1, 2, 5 — Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (v2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (v5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

2 Proverbs 4:18Proverbs 4:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  

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— The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

3 1John 5:13John 5:13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. a multitude...: or, from the multitude that was  

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— These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.

 

The benefits that belong to those who have been justified, adopted and are the objects of sanctifying grace may be divided into three sorts:

a) Benefits in this life

b) Benefits at death

c) Benefits at the resurrection

The benefits that belong to justified, adopted and sanctified persons in this life are set before us in this statement. The five statements made here may be sub-divided into two sections:

 

I  BENEFITS THAT COME FROM A PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE AND SENSE OF JUSTIFICATION, ADOPTION AND SANCTIFICATION.

Here the first three benefits listed above are in view: assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost. These benefits come from a personal sense of justification etc. Whether or not we possess them at any given moment does not alter our legal status before God. In other words, the fact I may not feel confident of my justification does not alter the fact that if I have trusted Christ I am really justified.

In considering these matters we need to acknowledge two realities:

1. Many unregenerate people profess to possess these benefits which flow from a personal knowledge/sense of redemption applied. Many are living in confidence of God’s love for them and consequent carnal security but theirs is a false assurance; carnal security rather than real peace with God; and counterfeit spiritual joy that has no basis in reality.

2. Many who are truly God’s people do not enjoy the first order of benefits because they do not have at times a conscious sense of being justified, adopted, sanctified. They may lose their assurance, peace and joy finding instead doubt, fear, a troubled conscience and sorrow rather than joy.

 

A. Assurance of God’s love. Those who truly believe in the Lord Jesus, love Him sincerely and endeavour to walk before Him in all good conscience may have this glorious assurance that they are the beloved of God. Cp Romans 5:1-2, 5Romans 5:1-2, 5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  

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. Assurance of God’s love is based on: the infallible promises of God in the gospel; the inward evidences of the graces to which the promises are made (e.g. faith, repentance, holiness); the witness of the Spirit of adoption with our spirit.

B. Peace of conscience. A sense of peace may be enjoyed by the believer — not merely a sense of peace with God but the very peace of God, Philippians 4:6-7Philippians 4:6-7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  

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.The conscience is quieted by a believing consideration of the work of Christ’s atonement. Understanding the full power and effect of Christ’s finished work of redemption which we trust in, adds greatly to the peace we may enjoy. Cp Hebrews 9:14Hebrews 9:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? spot: or, fault  

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C. Joy in the Holy Ghost. One of the fruits of the Spirit’s working in the lives of the justified is joy. Cp Gal 5:22Gal 5:22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  

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. The degree to which we know the working of the Holy Ghost in our lives, is the measure of the joy we may know.

 

II ADDITIONAL BENEFITS THAT FLOW FROM JUSTIFICATION, ADOPTION AND SANCTIFICATION PROPER.

Here the last two benefits listed are in view: increase of grace and perseverance therein to the end. A different order of benefit is in view here. These are actual benefits which are not dependent on our sense and understanding of justification etc. but actually accompany or spring out of our justification etc.

1. All justified, adopted and sanctified persons increase in grace. Cp Prov 4:18Prov 4:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.  

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. It is true that the increase may be at times sporadic and may suffer reversal on occasion but no truly justified child of God can ever completely fall from grace. He cannot apostatize. In Gal 5:4Gal 5:4
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.  

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Paul is speaking of those who were never truly saved and who have abandoned their profession of salvation by grace. We cannot have any part in the redemption of free grace and adhere to justification by works. Any who do finally and completely forsake their profession were never truly born of God. Cp I John 2:19John 2:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  

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.

2. All truly justified, adopted and sanctified persons persevere in grace to the end. The faithfulness of God’s promise guarantees this, Romans 11:29, 1Romans 11:29, 1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. 11 1 I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.  

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Peter 1:3-5; the true believer’s union with Christ; the constant indwelling of the Holy Spirit;  the very nature of grace itself, I John 3:9John 3:9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  

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; secures this final perseverance. Cp Phil 1:6Phil 1:6
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: perform: or, finish  

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, Matt 10:22Matt 10:22
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.  

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—the saved endure to the end.

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