“Sin is guilt, pollution, and misery: a breach of the covenant of works, a loss of the image of God, and submission to the domination of corruption. Christ redeemed us from all three: by His suffering, by His fulfillment of the law, and by His conquest of death. Thus Christ’s benefits consist in the following:
(1) He restores our right relation to God and all creatures (the forgiveness of sins, justification, the purification of our conscience, acceptance as children, peace with God, Christian liberty, and so on);
(2) He renews us after God’s image (regeneration in the broad sense, renewal, re-creation, sanctification);
(3) He preserves us for our heavenly inheritance and will some day free us from all suffering and death and grant us eternal blessedness (preservation, perseverance, glorification).
The first group of benefits is given us by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, is accepted on our part by faith, changes our consciousness, and makes our conscience free. The second group of benefits is conferred on us by the regenerative activity of the Holy Spirit, renews our very being, and redeems us from the power of sin.
The third group of benefits is communicated to us by the preserving, guiding, and sealing activity of the Holy Spirit as the guarantee of our complete redemption and wrenches us free in soul and body from the domination of misery and death. The first group of benefits is that which again anoints us as prophets, the second as priests, the third as kings.
In the first, our eye is especially directed toward the past, to the historic Christ, to the cross of Golgotha, where our sin was atoned. In the second, our gaze is directed upward to the living Lord in heaven, where He is seated as high priest at the right hand of God’s majesty.
In the third, we look forward to Christ’s future, a future in which He will have put all His enemies under His feet and deliver the kingdom to God the Father. These benefits, though distinct, are not separate. Like faith, hope, and love, they form a threefold cord that cannot be broken.
It is Christ Himself, the crucified and glorified Lord, who by His Word directs our faith to His sacrifice, by His Spirit incorporates us into His fellowship, and by both Word and Spirit prepares and preserves us for heavenly blessedness.”
–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 594-595.