Do you ever struggle with doubts about your relationship to God? Are you secure in your knowledge that you are truly God’s child? The Lord wants us to have this affirmation if we are truly a follower of Jesus. So how can we know? Scripture leads us to a place of assurance with our Heavenly Father: “Yet to all who received Him, he gave the right to become the children of God” (John 1:12). Our faith in Jesus assures us that we are God’s children, but God has also given us another sign as confirmation of our adoption into his family.
The apostle Paul said, “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba Father’” (Galatians 4:6). Paul said something similar in the book of Romans: “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:15, 16).
As a Christian, the Holy Spirit now lives inside of you. The Spirit is a sign that you are a child of God. There should be a “Yes” in your spirit if you truly are God’s child. The Holy Spirit should be dwelling in you telling you, “Yes. You belong to God. He is your Father in Heaven.”
John Wesley is well known as the founder of the Methodist Church. He lived in the 1700’s and was a man greatly used by God. His early years, however, were spent with a great lack of assurance in his relationship with God. He was in ministry, but he was trying to work his way to heaven. He kept wondering if he was good enough. He even came here to our local area from England to convert the Indians to Christianity. His mission here to the coast of Georgia was actually not very successful though. He set sail on a ship back to England feeling very dejected and full of guilt. Was he a failure? Was he good enough for God?
While on the ship back, there was a terrible storm and he thought the ship was going to sink. On the deck was a group of Moravian Christians who were holding a praise service. Their faith and trust in God in this moment was a real testimony to Wesley. He talked to the Moravians, and one of the men asked Wesley if he had the witness of the Spirit. Wesley had no clue what he was talking about. The man asked again if Wesley had the witness of the Spirit that he was indeed a child of God. The Moravian man was speaking of the Holy Spirit whom God gives to his children as a sign when they put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Wesley left his encounter with the Moravians with a deep desire to discover a real and authentic faith like the Moravians. One night in 1738, Wesley had a life changing experience when he placed his faith in Christ and Christ alone. He said his heart was strangely warmed, and he knew that the Spirit of God had done a true work in his heart.
So for Wesley, the witness of the Spirit became a very important and much cherished doctrine. He believed it was very important for Christians not just to have faith in Jesus, but also to truly have a testimony in their heart that they were an adopted child of God.
By faith, I put my trust in God’s word that Jesus Christ can forgive me and save. I am grateful for God’s Word, but I am also just as grateful for the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. I can sense and feel His presence alive in my heart. What about you? Do you have the witness of the Spirit that you are indeed a child of God? And that’s the Word.
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at email@example.com or 912-634-2960.