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Factual benefits

September 3, 2010

If you are here to learn whether the appraisal of our home aligns with the lender’s requirements for our presumptive buyers, and whether these people have been magically transformed into competent homebuyers whose aspiration is now funded, then I invite you to camp alongside us on Cliffhanger Outlook.

The factual benefits that interest me right now are the benefits of justification, adoption, and sanctification: the properties of every believer granted true faith in Christ. These benefits are, assurance of God’s love; peace of conscience; joy in the Holy Ghost; increase of grace; and perseverance therein to the end.

I have been in the midst of a life lesson on these factual benefits. My husband and I desired a transition from life in urban Tacoma that had been compassed by a daily life-attenuating commute to Seattle, to life in a small, conservative, Western town. We targeted Clarkston for its beauty and the presence of a sister church to our own in Lewiston, Idaho, just a short bridge span across the Snake River from Clarkston. Somehow, I wanted this more than I have ever wanted anything before, except to marry my husband, and for my cat to live when he was very ill. We married, our cat is well for a diabetic, and soon we are moving to Clarkston. But assurance of God’s love means more than getting my way. It means knowing God’s way is the best, and in fact only way: God’s way is for my good, and it is my assurance that this is true — not the funding of my aspiration — that is the factual benefit.

I experience peace of conscience in conjunction with joy in the Holy Ghost; I don’t apprehend these to be separable. The word of God renews my confidence in his promises and his goodness and his forgiveness and the inevitability of his good will. At times, the Holy Spirit even seems to empathize, as with Solomon’s vexation of spirit resonating with my own. If you are selling your home these days, know that the Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to comfort you: Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. (Ecclesiastes 4:6)

Increase of grace may remain a belayed aspiration, but I catch glimpses of small increments at times and pray for more. Justification and adoption are acts of God’s free grace; sanctification is a work of God’s free grace. Sanctification is an ongoing thing. We can’t rush it.

In times of stress and trial, it becomes easy to forget that I do not requisition the factual benefits of justification, adoption, and sanctification; I already possess them, and they shine no less brightly for my dimmed vision.

As for perseverance, it is a promise, not something that can be presently manifest. I simply invoke the proleptic aorist: it’s a done deal. (Obviously, from my language, my mind has been too much lately in the real estate gutter.)

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