In Psalm 32:5, the psalmist says, ‘I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
In this verse, ‘sin’, ‘iniquity’, and ‘transgressions’ are all mentioned. These three words communicate the same idea of evil and lawlessness, as defined by God (see 1 John 3:4). However, each word also carries a slightly different meaning. Our salvation, however, is not complete after ‘giving our lives to Christ’. We also need the infilling of the Holy Spirit in order to bear the fruit of the Spirit to glorify our Heavenly Father.
This is the second part of a 2-part series providing short summaries of these sometimes complicated terms! (Read part one: Sin, iniquity and transgressions.) In this second part we focus on justification, sanctification and the fruit of the Spirit.
Father teach us more accurately concerning our Christian faith, so that we may bear more fruit in Your Kingdom and lead others in the ways of our heavenly Father.
What is meant by justification?
Justification is simply a verdict of the court declaring or pronouncing a person to be righteous. In the case of God’s verdict, He declares the believing sinner to be righteous because the sinner’s representative – Jesus – is righteous. To put it another way, when the sinner claims the righteousness of Christ as his own and presents it before God, the Judge acknowledges that the debt has been paid, and the sinner is set right before the law. Justification is not based on the holiness of the one who believes, but on the holiness of Him in whom the sinner believes. This point is crucial. In this matter of our acceptance by God, we are not to be anxious about what God thinks of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our substitute. If we confuse justification with the internal sanctification process, faith totters, and we find it impossible to stand before God with a pacified conscience. Justification pertains to what God does for us, not what He does in us.
Father, I praise Your name for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to be the propitiation of all my sin, and the One who justifies me from all sin.
The role of the blood of Jesus
Biblical writers used different words to refer to sin in its many forms. Regardless of how depraved a human heart may be, Jesus’ death on the Cross was sufficient to cover all sin. (John 1:29; Romans 5:18). Psalm 32:5 says, “And you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”
Thank you, heavenly Father, for accepting the blood of Your Son Jesus Christ as atonement for all my sins. Help me never to reject such great pardon of sin, and never to resist, grieve or sin against the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification is a work of God’s grace.
What is meant by sanctification?
Sanctification is what God does in the believer. It is not the good works of the believer. Important as they are, neither sanctification nor good works are the basis for salvation or the foundation of the Christian’s hope. Sanctification is a work of God’s grace, of course; but it is the result of a more fundamental act of grace. Unless sanctification is rooted in justification, and justification in election, sanctification cannot escape the poisons of subjectivism, moralism or self-righteous Pharisaic behaviour.
Father, I ask for sanctification to always be active and powerfully at work in my soul through the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit. Change me and transform me into the image of Jesus Christ, day by day, all the days of my life. (2 Corinthians 3:18).
What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
The phrase ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’ occurs two times in Acts, first in Acts 1:4-5 and then in Acts 11:16. Other terminology is used in Acts to indicate baptism by the Spirit, such as ‘filled’. John reveals Jesus as the One who baptises with the Holy Spirit in Matthew 3:11; I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. As much as salvation is a free gift of God, we receive the companionship of the Holy Spirit from the Lord Jesus to walk with God in a personal relationship in power.
Father, thank You for sending the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for baptising me with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Please transform my life into Your image and lead me into a deep personal relationship with You through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, have Your way in me.
Bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit
When we become a Christian by accepting the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we say to Him, “Lord, have Your way in me. No longer I that live; but You live inside me.” Galatians explains the characteristics of such a life: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-24).
Father, I pray today to become more sensitive to the promptings of Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I. (Psalm 61:2). Lead me to grow and excel in every fruit of the Holy Spirit.