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The Spirit testiflies

Filed Under: Luther's Devotions

The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are
the children of God.

Rom. 8:16.

Paul describes here the power of the kingdom of Christ, the
real work and the true exalted worship which the Holy Spirit
effects in believers, the comfort by which the heart is freed from
the fear and terror of sin and given peace, and the heartfelt
needs which in faith expects of God an answer and brings
his help. These blessings cannot be secured through the law or
through our own holiness. That we are children of God and
may confidently regard ourselves as such, we learn from the
witness of the Spirit, who, in spite of the law and our unworthiness,
testifies to it in our weakness and assures us of it. Where
there is faith in Christ, there the Holy Spirit brings comfort
and childlike trust, which doubts not that God is gracious and
will answer prayer as he has promised, not for the sake of our
worthiness, but for the sake of the name and merit of Christ,
his Son. This witness is the experience within ourselves of the
power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word and the
knowledge that our experience accords with the Word and the
preaching of the gospel. For you are surely aware whether
or not, when you are in fear and distress, you will obtain
comfort from the gospel, whether your heart is assured of God's
graciousness, and you no longer flee from Him, but can
cheerfully call upon him in faith, expecting help.

This is the true inward witness by which you may perceive
that the Holy Spirit is at work in you. In addition to
this you also have an external witnesses. It is a witness of the
Holy Spirit in you that he gives the special gifts, spiritual understanding,
grace and success in your calling; that you will have
pleasure and delight in God's Word, confessing it before the
world at the peril of life and limb ; that you hate and resist
ungodliness and sin. Those who have not the Holy Spirit are
neither willing nor able to do these things. Even in the Christian
these things are accomplished in great weakness; but the
Holy Spirit governs them in this weakness, and strengthens them
in this witness, as Paul says: "The Spirit also helps our infirmities."

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