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The Spirit and Assurance

A devotional by Grace To You for reading on September 21st

“You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him” ( Romans 8:9 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. ).

The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us an assurance of salvation.

Assurance of salvation is essential to our Christian lives, and I can’t imagine living without it. And we must have clarity about it from a truly biblical standpoint. This begins with realizing that a genuine believer is in the Spirit and has been given a new nature (see John 3:6 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. ). If the Holy Spirit lives in you, you are no longer controlled by the sinful tendencies of the flesh, as Paul suggests in Romans 8:9 9 But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. . The Greek term for “dwells” indicates that the Holy Spirit makes His home in you and in every believer.

But today’s verse also points out that if someone does not have the Holy Spirit within him, he doesn’t belong to Christ. From time to time—perhaps for you it’s the first time—we need to be warned about that. Being in the Spirit is not merely professing Jesus, having a pious appearance, or attending church. No matter what we claim, if we aren’t fulfilling God’s law, desiring to walk by the Spirit, and wholeheartedly seeking the things of the Spirit, He is not in us.

Second Corinthians 13:5 exhorts, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” You can do this by looking for evidences of the Holy Spirit in your life. Have you sensed the presence of the Spirit’s fruit in your life (Gal. 5:22-23)? Do you struggle with sin and have a desire to be free from all its influences (Rom. 7:14-25; Gal. 5:16-17)? Have you experienced the actions and attitudes the Holy Spirit brings to your daily life, as we studied earlier this month? Do you yearn for a closer communion with God and a deeper fellowship with other believers? If you can answer yes to these questions, you have solid reasons to be sure the Spirit lives in you and to know for certain that you belong to Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the reminders His Spirit gives you that you belong to Christ.

For Further Study

Read 1 John 5:1-12 Chapter 5 1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, `even' our faith. 5 And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, `even' Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. 7 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in him: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that God hath borne concerning his Son. 11 And the witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath the life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not the life. .

  • What indicators does John give us that would also provide us with an assurance of salvation?
  • What role does the Holy Spirit have in this passage?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Copyright 2016 by John MacArthur. Used by permission from Grace to You.

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