If you’re like me, it is much easier to grasp tangible, practical realities than to assess subjective, internal experiences. So far, this is the journey we’ve taken through 1 John and the question, “How do I know I’m saved?” We’ve looked at our interactions with Jesus, the world, sin, and people. Yet, in this post, we’re going to move to something deeper and even more fundamental to our salvation.
Do I Have the Witness of the Holy Spirit in Me?
Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. –1 John 3:24
Simply put, we can know we have salvation in Jesus if we have the testimony of the Holy Spirit. In his gospel, John makes it clear that our salvation is sealed and secured by the indwelling of the Spirit of God:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. –John 14:16-17
This “indwelling” serves two, primary purposes. First, it is the guarantee of our ultimate salvation in Christ. I don’t know if you have ever wondered about this, but why do you stay a Christian? Like Paul in Romans 7:15-25, I don’t feel like I’m any less of a sinner just because I’ve trusted in Jesus Christ as my savior. He’s declared me righteous, but making me righteous through the process of what is called sanctification is a lifelong journey to be realized in eternity. This is where the Holy Spirit steps in. If he were to leave at any moment, I do not doubt that I would once again reject Christ and flee from the truth of the gospel. Yet, he is promised to be in me and with me all of my days, thereby securing my salvation and my perseverance till I meet Jesus face to face.
The Holy Spirit’s presence is not passive, however. Secondly, he also is the main actor in our sanctification, conforming us more and more each day into the likeness of Christ. As Paul shared in his letter to the Philippians,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. –Philippians 2:12b-13
As we work to direct each area of our lives towards the likeness of Christ for the glory of God, it is the Holy Spirit empowering and directing us along the way.
Clearly, the Holy Spirit’s presence within our lives is invaluable in both our salvation and our sanctification. If you are struggling with whether or not your are truly saved, ask yourself, “Do I have the witness of the Holy Spirit within me?” Consider praying and asking for him to reveal that you are truly in Christ and provide the peace and security that only he can bring. Reflect on your past as a Christian and look for how the Spirit has worked in your life. From the moment God gave you a new heart through your repentance and faith, he has been within you, and he will always testify that you are a child of God.
This is the fifth post in a six part series through 1 John answering the question, “How do I know I’m saved?” You can read the other posts in this series by clicking on the titles below: