Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Witness of the Spirit

I’d like to explain something called the witness of the Spirit. It’s very important that every disciple have this witness, so I want you to be clear what it is and how to have it.

The apostle Paul wrote, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” (Rom 8:16, MKJV)

The Spirit of God actually testifies with our spirit that we are the children of God. But let’s not forget what the Scripture says in the next verse:

“And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; so that if we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.” (Rom 8:17, MKJV)

If the Spirit bears witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, then you should expect to suffer with Christ. The Word says, “IF” we suffer with Him, we may also be glorified together.

Thank the Lord for the witness of the Holy Spirit! This is the blessed assurance that Fanny Crosby wrote about in her famous hymn by that title, describing it as “echoes of mercy, whispers of love.” It’s when you know that Jesus is yours and you are His. You know that you’ve been born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. Therefore you are praising your Savior all the day long, perfectly submitted to Him and perfectly delighted to be so.  All is at rest between you and your Savior, and you’re happy and blessed. You are filled with His goodness and caught up in His love.  You spend your time watching and waiting for His return, looking above for that glorious day when He will come with power and great glory with all His holy angels with Him.

When some people are asked if they know where they would go if they would die today, they say they hope they would go to heaven. But when asked why they think so, they often say it’s because they are a good person who helps people. We cannot get to heaven by our own good works. (Eph 2:8-9).  Of course, we must do good works once we are saved, because we were created for this purpose. However, it’s by grace we are saved through faith, not by works. Paul wrote, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Only then can we do the good works we were created to do. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph 2:10).  But we don’t trust in our own good works to save us. We trust only in His blood, only in His cross, only in His mercy to save us.

Nevertheless, there are many ways you can know you are saved. I believe these are all part of the witness of the Spirit. John wrote about some of them:

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” (1Jn 3:14)

“But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;” (1Jn 3:17-21)

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” (1Jn 2:3)

“The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” (1Jn 3:24)

“But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:” (1Jn 2:5)

By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1Jn 4:13)

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.” (1Jn 5:2)

Putting it All Together
To summarize what John said, we can know we are children of God that abide in Christ and are in the truth if we love the brethren in deed and truth. That’s how we know we have passed out of death into life. We know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. We know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. We know that we will be glorified with Christ, if we suffer with Him. We know we abide in Him, because He has given us of His Spirit. That’s how you can have the blessed assurance, the witness of the Spirit. That’s how the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  "Receiving the Spirit" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. 

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Main Directory for this blog, such as Baptized with the Spirit, Holy Fire Baptism, The Holy Spirit Speaks, The Holy Trinity, and The Spirit without Limit. I also recommend Faith Works!, Practicing Your Righteousness, Is Practical Righteousness a Lost Truth?, Righteous Deeds and White Robes, The Law of Christ, and Law of Love in the New Testament. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."  

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.