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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit and Us

Don Stewart :: How Does the Holy Spirit Work with Spiritual Uncertainty?

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How Does the Holy Spirit Work with Spiritual Uncertainty?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 21

There are times when believers in Jesus Christ are uncertain about who they are as well as what they should be doing. Indeed, there are times when believers are not confident that we are actually God’s children! This is normal. There are times when each of us has our doubts.

The good news from Scripture is that the work of the Holy Spirit can provide confidence and guidance to the believer in these areas of spiritual uncertainty. He gives us confidence when ours is lacking. As Jesus promised, He is there to “help us.” We can make the following observations.

The Holy Spirit Bears Witness with Our Spirit That We Are Believers

To begin with, the Holy Spirit confirms to our spirit the fact that we truly are believers in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul testified that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our own human spirit. He wrote the following to the believers in Rome.

For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God’s children (Romans 8:16 NLT)

Paul said we know we are God’s children because of the confirming work of the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit makes it clear that we belong to Jesus.

Paul also wrote to the Galatians about the assurance that the Holy Spirit gives to Christians. He put it this way.

And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 NRSV).

Believers can indeed have confidence that we are God’s children through the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostle John taught the same truth. He wrote of this assurance we can have through the work of the Holy Spirit. He explained it in this manner.

Whoever keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us (1 John 3:24 ESV).

When we follow the Lord and keep His commandments the Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts that we belong to Him.

John also emphasized that we can know these things because of the work of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. He wrote.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit (1 John 4:13 ESV).

The Bible, therefore, stresses that this is something which we can “know.” Indeed, we can know that we are His.

People Can Actually Know Spiritual Truth

There is something else which we can know. Scripture says that as believers we can know and understand spiritual truth; we do not have to remain in spiritual darkness.

In fact, Luke stated that he wrote his gospel so that people could know the truth about Jesus. In the introduction to his book he made the following statement.

So that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught (Luke 1:4 NIV).

This assumes that we can know certain spiritual realities.

Furthermore, the Bible says that we can know for certain that we have eternal life. John wrote.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13 TNIV).

The knowledge that we have eternal life can be ours through the confirming work of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, there are certain spiritual truths that believers can indeed know. Of this, there is no doubt.

We Can Have Spiritual Confidence Because of This Knowledge

Knowing that we belong to the Lord, as well as knowing certain spiritual truths about Him, helps build our spiritual confidence. For example, the Apostle Paul was assured of whom he believed in. He wrote to Timothy the following words about why he suffered for Christ.

Which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me (2 Timothy 1:12 ESV).

Notice the confidence that Paul had. He had confidence in whom he believed. This is why he could suffer for the sake of Christ.

Paul further said that he was confident that nothing would separate the believer in Christ from the love of God. He wrote the following to the Romans.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38, 39 NRSV).

These statements are certainly confidence builders. Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God. Absolutely nothing!

Paul again wrote about his own spiritual confidence. He emphasized the manner in which we are able to approach God in prayer. He put it this way.

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome (Ephesians 3:12 NLT).

Knowledge of who we are as children of God, as well as the awareness that we can know things about Him, breeds spiritual confidence. Indeed, we can fearlessly enter into His presence in prayer because of Jesus Christ and our trust in Him.

This Assurance Is Only Possible through the Work of the Holy Spirit

The fact that the believer can have such confidence is only possible through the work of the Spirit of God. He is the one who provides assurance of the truth of all things.

In sum, while believers may have moments of spiritual uncertainty the Holy Spirit has been given to assure us that we belong to the Lord, that we can know His truth, and that we can have confidence in spiritual matters.

Summary – Question 21
How Does the Holy Spirit Work with Spiritual Uncertainty?

In an age of spiritual uncertainty, the Holy Spirit can provide spiritual certainty to the believer. While each of us may have our moments of doubt the Holy Spirit, who resides within us, confirms the truth of God’s Word in our hearts. He does this in a number of ways.

First, the Holy Spirit can give confidence to the believer that we indeed are God’s children. Scripture says that God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit to assure us that we belong to Him. In other words, He confirms we are part of God’s family through our belief in Christ.

In addition, the Holy Spirit also confirms that we believers are able to know certain spiritual truths. Not only are we members of God’s family, we have been given truth about God which we can be confident about. For one thing, we can know that we have eternal life because we have believed in Christ.

This leads us to spiritual confidence in other matters. Indeed, if we know in whom we have believed, Jesus Christ, and we realize that He has revealed spiritual truth to us through His Word, then we can have confidence rather than spiritual uncertainty as we live our daily lives. Assurance and guidance is now ours through the work of the Holy Spirit. These are very practical truths!

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Should We Pray Directly to the Holy Spirit? Next Section →
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