Assurance by the Spirit
The unbeliever, the heretic, and the false teacher cannot imagine the Christian’s assurance of salvation. The reason is both rational and experimental. The essence of the unbeliever is a lack of trust in the truth. At the same time, faith is not just in the mind of the believer, in Jesus Christ. Faith occupies the heart, and thus, it influences the will of the one to whom it has been given (Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; 5:22; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2; 2 Pet 1:1; Jude 3).
Faith arrives when the gift of the Holy Spirit is given to one of God’s elect (Rom 5:5). It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22), who produces it in the measure He wills (Rom 12:3), and He causes faith to grow (Lk 17:5; 2 Cor 10:15). The measure of stature which belongs to Christ is the standard. Thus, in glory, faith will not be necessary because the glorified saint will have attained perfected faith (1 Cor 13:13).
For now, not all men have faith (2 Thess 3:2) because faith has its purpose in distinguishing those who are saved through its instrumentation (Eph 2:8–9). In other words, when God gives His chosen ones the gift of faith (Phil 1:29), it serves as a fruit of identification. Good fruit comes from a good tree (Mt 12:33). Jesus said to His disciples, “I am the Vine, and you are the branches (Jn 15:5).”
It is the life of the Spirit, flowing through the living branches, producing His fruit (Gal 5:22–23). The Father must graft in the dead branch (total depravity), and once union with Christ is secured (Rom 6), immediately, the life-giving Spirit regenerates and new life becomes evident (Jn 3:1–8; 2 Cor 3:6; 5:17; 1 Pet 1:3). The born again believer will grow to maturity (Rom 8:29), according to the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23), who works all things according to the counsel of His will (Prv 19:21; Eph 1:11).
The increase in production of all spiritual fruit is the will and work of God (Phil 2:13). God does have a plan, and it will come to pass with His precision crafting (Jer 18:1–6). There is a guarantee of success in the future for God’s beloved church, the Israel of God (Jer 29:11; Mt 16:18; Is 49:1–6; Gal 6:16).
When Jesus’ disciples requested an increase to their faith (Lk 17:5), they needed to understand this would manifest through the pruning process (Jn 15:2). Jesus promised them, “In the world you have tribulation (Jn 16:33).” Moreover, the will of God is sanctification for each of His living stones (1 Thess 4:3; 1 Pet 2:4–5). These are being cut, with ever more meticulous means, to fit the Christian into his or her place in God’s Holy Temple in the Spirit (Eph 2:20–22).
When one considers the Spirit’s work, employing the Word of God — and especially the attributes of Torah — it is no wonder the believer can join the apostle Paul, in his claim of faith, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2 Tim 1:12).” That is an expression of faith, scribed at the end of thirty years of ministry stewardship, with all its joy and suffering (Jas 1:3; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 2:10; etc.).
God is true, and Jesus Christ is truth (Rom 3:4; Jn 14:6). It is the Spirit of truth who indwells the Christian (Jn 14:17), and who guides believers into all truth (Jn 16:13), as the One who teaches us to do God’s will (Ps 143:10). The Word of truth is God’s revealed will (Ezek 12:25; Amos 8:11), which brings forth the elect, redeemed (Jas 1:18), who continue in God’s Word because they are truly disciples of Jesus (Jn 8:31).
The occupation of the Holy Spirit, in the Spirit-filled child, is operating night and day. How could the Christian not be aware of this abiding Resident? How could one who is born again of the Spirit of God not confess, “I was blind, but now I see. I was dead, but now I am alive!”? The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God (Rom 8:16).
To deny the testimony of the Spirit is unthinkable, for one who understands the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It is also unimaginable for the indwelt to deny, “Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20).” It is the Spirit who testifies of Christ (Jn 15:26), and Christ is all, and in all of His regenerate ones (Col 3:11). Therefore, we must believe all that is revealed to us in the Holy Bible. After all, it was the Spirit of truth who brought us the Bible (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20–21).
The truth of God is our birthright and our inheritance. We belong to Christ, who belongs to God (1 Cor 3:23). The summing up of all things is in Him (Eph 1:10). His intention is to present His church, holy and blameless before God on the last day (Eph 1:4; 5:27; Col 1:22).
Faith has variation and so does assurance. It makes perfect sense that these two experiences in the heart, mind, and will of Christians will vary from season to season. The inner desire (Lat. “of the Lord”), of the true believer, is holiness, which simply means more of Jesus.
Although God commands His beloved to be holy, as He is holy (1 Pet 1:15–16), by giving them the Spirit of holiness (Rom 1:4), God is meeting His own demands, perfecting holiness in the purification by the Spirit (1 Cor 6:11; Titus 2:14). The Almighty Spirit powerfully works in His church (Zech 4:6), preaching the Word of the cross (1 Cor 1:18), in a demonstration of power (1 Cor 2:4; 1 Cor 4:20; 1 Thess 1:5; Heb 6:5).
The future is very bright for the children of Light (Eph 5:8). The token of our inheritance (Holy Spirit), explained in the Words of the Testator’s will (Bible), is understood and experienced by the heirs of God, and co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). We are growing in grace and knowledge of these things (sound doctrine).
We have a foretaste of life in heaven and the age to come (Rom 14:17; 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5). Good news, God’s Word does not change (Heb 13:8). The Spirit of Christ has promised God’s adopted children (Rom 8:15, 23) that He will never leave them, nor forsake them (Heb 13:5). Therefore, with utmost confidence, we declare these matters to all (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15).
This is the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit. He has been sent from heaven, to give life and to sustain life in God’s beloved elect, redeemed saints. He who lives in you began His good work, and He has promised to finish His good work (Phil 1:6). It is written, and it is experienced in the faithful, because assurance by the Spirit…is the Spirit Himself.
Spokane Valley, Washington
July 13, 2022