We’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in the 17th century. We’ve seen that the mediation of Jesus brings justification, which is a legal declaration that you are right before God. This justification comes by the Word of God. But is there another way that this justification comes to you?
The faith that justifies is brought about in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit of God. Paul explains in his letter to the church in Corinth:
‘4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”– the things God has prepared for those who love him– 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:4-16).
Paul clearly teaches that understanding the message of God requires the Spirit of God. If you only have the Word of God, but not the Spirit of God, you will not be able to discern God’s message. In fact you will consider it foolishness. We see this regularly in the lives of unbelievers. They may have the Word of God and know much about it. But they reject it because they do not have the Holy Spirit.
So we need both the Word of God and the Spirit of God if we are to be justified before God. And thankfully God does give both to his people.
But do you have the Spirit of God working in you so that you comprehend the Word of God? If you think the answer is no, ask God to give you his Holy Spirit so you can understand the word of God and be justified.