Please Consider this Powerful Ministry

sponsor a child inn ministries

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Christianity Investigation Files #1: Holy Spirit Confirmation--What is it?

Christianity Investigation Files #1: Romans 8:16 "The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God..."

What exactly does this mean? What exactly is the "our spirit" spoken of here? Is it our thinking-consciousness? Is it a physical feeling? And in what sense does the Holy Spirit "bear witness" ...that we can sense with our spirit?

This has been one of the most vexing things about living as a Christian and sometimes wrestling mightily wondering if I really am a Christian. I've often thought that it would have been nice if all people came equipped with one of those oven-stuffer-roaster pop up things, so that when we become a Christian, -*POP*- the little thing pops up, and we know.

Alas, no pop up widget for us. But the Bible definitely seems to declare that the Holy Spirit will confirm our adoption into the family of God, ie: Getting Saved. What does this feel like? I mean really, all cliches aside. What are the specifics that we can tic off as to Holy Spirit confirmation?


Sevenwaters said...

this is interesting. More questions for me to consider now. So what you are saying is that we may not know truly if we are a Christian but the Holy Spirit knows and confirms our adoption with God.

WayneThomasBatson said...

Sevenwaters: I'm not sure that's what I'm saying. I'm actually just investigating this scripture passage and trying to square it with experience. I think the Scriptures make it pretty clear in other places that we can KNOW that we are saved. The whole book of John was written for just that purpose. I'm just wondering about the human experience of the Holy Spirit.

Aratrea said...

I thought about this a lot over the summer and was trying to wrestle through what it means to have the Holy Spirit as an evidence of our salvation. The answer I finally realized was to look at Galatians 5, where it gives the list of the fruit of the Spirit. Paul seems to be saying clearly in Galatians that we can know that we have the Spirit when we display the fruit of the Spirit, in contrast to the works of the flesh which Paul lists before it.

I think a similar thing is going on here. Before in Romans 8, Paul was talking about those that are in the flesh thinks about the things of the flesh and drawing a contrast with those who love fleshly things and those who love the things of the Spirit. In addition to this, Paul seems to place a strong emphasis on calling upon the Lord as our God and praying to him (we have the amazing passage about the Spirit interceding in our prayers a couple verses later.) And so, in my humble opinion, I think Paul is saying here that we are confirmed in the Spirit by our crying out to God in our prayers and walking in the fruit of the Spirit.

Anyways, that's how I'm viewing this passage. :)o

Anonymous said...

I think this means that we (and others!) will know that we are Christians because of the way we act. I think this verse says that if we are Christians, others will know because of the fruits of the Spirit (love joy, etc.)showing through our actions.

Anonymous said...

I like and agree with the post about the fruits of the Spirit. I remember years ago struggling with whether or not I was truly saved. I used to "pray the prayer" at every invitation just to make sure. Someone told me - I believe it was my pastor (also my uncle) - that one way you can know you are saved is by seeing the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. That was a great comfort to me, because even when I did not FEEL saved, I can always look back on my life and see that God has done some major changes. He has made a huge difference in me, and I am definitely not the same person I was.
Once I got past that hurdle, it gave me the freedom to go deeper into relationship with Christ. It provided a foundation of confidence that I am saved, and God has been building on top of that salvation confidence, adding confidence that I am not only saved, but accepted. Then He adds to that confidence that I am His (chosen). Confidence that I am loved. And so forth.

Not to say that I am perfect in ANY of those categories, but it's fun to see God work. :)

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Colossians says God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. I think the Holy Spirit will increasingly make us aware of our rescued state. We'll grow more grateful for God's goodness, for our salvation, for the family of God and the inheritance we have.

In short, as we grow closer to God, we'll simply be more aware of Him and what He has done, is doing, and will do in and through us.


WayneThomasBatson said...

@Becky: Uh, oh. That doesn't bode well for me. {sigh} Y'know, this really shouldn't be that hard.

Eliandr said...

There is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not the gift of the Holy Spirit which we revieve at Salvation, but the baptism that is a separate experience. Usually, baptism in the Holy Spirit is evidenced initially with Tongues, as recorded in Acts 2, 10:46, and 19:6. This connects our spirit with the Holy Spirit directly as He can speak and move through us.

Sara said...

Sir Batson,

One thing I have to remind myself of is this: Being saved is a fact, not a feeling. It doesn't come one day and go the next like my "saved" emotions do. It's not based on how well I follow God or how well I perceive what He's doing in me; it's based on the FACT that He has traded me His righteousness and salvation, as a gift. I can't put my confidence in how I feel to determine whether God loves me and has saved me or not. I used to do that, and God really threw me under the emotions-bus to break me of that bad habit.

You said it shouldn't be that hard. :) Well, it's not complicated, but I personally think it is hard - often at least.
It's simple: We trust in Jesus Christ, in Jehovah Tsidkenu, and we are saved.
It's hard: The world, our sin nature, and Satan all do what they can to drag us down, discourage us, pull us off track, and generally make us miserable and unproductive. Plus, we mess up - or at least I do, all the time. But that doesn't mean we are doomed failures; it just means we failed. Time to get up, 'fess up, & keep going.

Sorry for the long post. I may very well be just rambling on and missing the point. Honestly, I think my pastor is much more eloquent than I am:

Going back to the issue of "our spirit" inside... my thoughts on this are that we do have a spirit, and as Christians, we also have the Holy Spirit. I say we can't put confidence in our feelings, but at the same time, I have had experiences where I knew it was God speaking to me. There are times I can feel His Spirit nudging me. But there are also times that I get battered by feelings of guilt that I'm afraid come from the Spirit (they don't; I believe He corrects, but He doesn't drag us down in discouragement and despair). So how do we tell? I think we just have to balance. We have to balance and compare what we feel with input we receive from the Bible and from godly influences/people in our lives.

Wow, long post. Sorry again. Love y'all!

God bless!

Seth said...


I am not sure I understand what you mean. When you become saved, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells in you. You get all of him. Not just a part. You don't have to fix things in your life and become more spiritual to recieve more of him.

Also your reference to tongues, I believe, is slightly incorrect. Baptism of the spirit IS salvation. As Jesus told Nicodemus, you must be born of water AND the spirit to see the kingdom of heaven. Born of water is the physical birth, and born of the spirit is the spiritual birth (Nicodemus was confused, thinking he must be reborn physically).

Also, the gift of tongues has ceased, since "that which is perfect" has come (the completed Bible! Thank God!!). My quote here comes from 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. At that time, the New Testament was not completely written. Even when the first century Christains were using the gift of tongues, it was not for the saved, but as a sign for the unsaved (1 Cor 14:22). If you study the scriptures, you will ind that the word tongues means language or dialect of a specific region. It was a gift of the holy spirit to allow the disciples to spread the Gospel without having to know many languages.