Thursday in the Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 John 4:13-15

Because He Has Given Us His Spirit

So how do we know that we abide in God and God in us?  We have spoken of tests whereby we may examine ourselves: Believing and confessing Christ, doing good deeds, and loving our brothers.  And these are good outward tests; I say “outward” because they are matters we may observe.  But there is ultimately only one way to know for sure, and that is simply this: “Because he has given us of His Spirit.”

In a word, the Christian knows that he has been born again because God has sent His Spirit into him as seal and guarantee (1 Corinthians 1:22).  Granted, this appears very subjective, but it is true.  Salvation is the inward work of the Spirit upon the heart of the one the Spirit brings to saving faith.  He comes to convict and convince (John 16:7-15) working inside the person through outward means such as the word, the testimony of other believers, and circumstances until that person finally surrenders.  Only the spiritual man can understand spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14), but to do so he must be made into a spiritual man.  This is the work of the Spirit who rebirths that one unto saving faith.  And as the Spirit takes up residence and abides in that one born again, then that one has the testimony of the Holy Spirit within and may know and declare, “I am a child of God.”

The Holy Spirit is the greatest gift the Father gives to believers (Luke 11:13; Acts 2:33).  Prior to our conversion, he convicts and convinces.  Upon our rebirth through the Spirit and after, he sustains, empowers, gifts, sanctifies, nurtures, and most important for John—abides within us.  Indeed, the Spirit is God in us, and it is because he resides in us that we believe.

And because the Spirit lives within us, we are able to affirm wholeheartedly, “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.”  But we were not there to see the Son.  We were not there to see his miracles, his crucifixion, his resurrection and ascension.  Even so, none of this matters.  For we believe none of this on the basis of our senses; we believe the gospel on the basis of the work of the Spirit within us.  No argument will persuade us otherwise, for the believer requires no other proof.  And as we believe, so we confess that Jesus is the Son of God.

And this is ultimately how we know that we abide in Him, and He in us. Indeed, the three outward tests are to confirm the inward: That we have been born again of the Spirit who provides the inward witness.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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