Catechism, Chapter 4: The Holy Spirit & New Life

Q. 36. Whom did God send to apply the benefits of Christ’s redemption?
A. God poured out the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to apply the benefits of Christ’s redemption by uniting us to Christ by faith and to one another as a people out of every nation, tribe, and tongue. Through his Spirit, Christ calls, convicts, comforts, guides, sanctifies, defends, and gives gifts to his church.

Q. 37. Who is the Holy Spirit?
A. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, and is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, true and eternal God.

Q. 38. Can anyone be saved without the help of the Holy Spirit?
A. In our fallen and corrupt condition, we cannot turn to God, or begin to have faith, by our own natural strength or works. But God’s grace has been provided in Christ, and goes before us by the Holy Spirit, enabling us to exercise the faith necessary for salvation.

Q. 39. How can you be saved?
A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to me for sin, I must repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as he is offered to me in the gospel, diligently using all the outward means by which Christ communicates the benefits of redemption.

Q. 40. What are faith and repentance?
A. Faith in Jesus Christ is receiving and resting upon Christ alone for salvation; repentance is turning from sin unto God, out of a true sense of sin, with grief and hatred for sin, and the full intention of new obedience.

Q. 41. What is justification?
A. Justification is the work of God’s free grace, by which he pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only on the basis of Christ’s merit, received by faith alone, and not for our own works or deservings.

Q. 42. If we are justified by faith alone, are good works unnecessary?
A. Good works are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and living faith, so that by them a living faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Q. 44. What is adoption?
A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, by which we become the sons of God through union with God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and have a right to all the privileges of sonship.

Q. 45. What is sanctification?
A. Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, by which our whole nature is renewed after the image of God, and we are enabled to die unto sin and live unto righteousness and true holiness.

Q. 46. Is entire sanctification possible in this life?
A. Entire sanctification is possible in this life, and is nothing higher or lower than pure love reigning alone in the heart and life. Every Christian should earnestly seek for the love of God, poured out in their hearts by the Holy Spirit, to run through all their attitudes, words, and actions.