February 8. Romans 8:16. Sonship (part 4), The Witness of the Spirit, and Doubt.

Romans 8:16. The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

What a glorious statement of our union with Christ. The Holy Spirit, God, witnessing with our spirit. Together. Same story. Same testimony. Same assurance. Same truth. Same reality. Our spirit is saying what THE Spirit is saying – we are children of God.

This union is a great mystery. It is spiritual. Mystical even. It is a matter of faith. It is not understood merely intellectually. It is experienced. It is felt. It is a part of our very consciousness. A precious little baby knows it’s parents. There is a connection from birth. So too a child of God knows their father. It has been placed in us by God, by the Spirit.

Romans 5:5. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The child of God knows it.

But what if I doubt it? What do I do when I don’t feel like a child of God? Does this verse leave any room for my insecurities and doubts?

The good news of this verse is that doubt is assumed. It’s in the word witness. In a court room there is always doubt. But then, to alleviate that doubt, the witnesses are called forward. They give testimony to the truth. You only need witnesses BECAUSE there is doubt.

Shylock’s forced conversion in The Merchant of Venice. There is no witness of the Spirit in the version of Christianity offered here by Shakespeare.

Praise God for the Spirit. Praise God that this verse doesn’t place all of our hopes in the testimony of our own conscience, our own spirit alone. Praise God that there are TWO witnesses – us and the Spirit. If it were all up to our own spirit, our own conscience, our own condition, we would never believe it. Doubt would always win.

The Spirit eliminates our doubts in two big ways. 1) By his written word. We know we are God’s children by the written testimony of the Spirit of God in the scriptures. The facts are laid out. It is plainly stated.

John 1:12. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

John 3:6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
1 John 3:1-2. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

2) By the indwelling living Word. The life of Christ in us receives the truth of the written word and applies it to our hearts. It is stamped upon us. It is poured into our hearts. We know we are children of God because, deep inside, we desire him. We want his love. we want to love. We want his holiness. We want to be holy. We seek forgiveness. We see our own need. We live humbly. We worship gladly. We sorrow deeply. We long for heaven. We see the transformation. We embrace “to live is Christ.” We cry Abba Father.

Can you say that you have experienced the witness of the Spirit as to your sonship? In the written word? Through the living indwelling Word?

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