St. Paul's Lutheran Church

Close this search box.

Scripture: “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:16

Paul describes the power of the kingdom of Christ, the real work and true worship which the Holy Spirit brings about in believers, the comfort which frees the heart from fear and terror of sin and is exchanged for peace, and the sure and heartfelt plea which cries out to God fully expecting an answer and help. These great and eternal blessings cannot be got by human works, human decisions, the law or through one’s own holiness.

We ARE children of God, and we may confidently regard ourselves as such, and by this we learn from the testimony of the Holy Spirit of God who makes our salvation known, in spite of the fact that we are not worthy because we still sin much. Even so, the Spirit testifies for us, even in our weakness, and assures us of God’s grace in Christ. Where there is true faith in Christ, there the Holy Spirit brings great comfort and simple trust which does not doubt God’s graciousness and His answering of our prayers, not because we deserve it, but because of the name and merit of Christ, His only Son.

This is the Holy Spirit working in us through the living and active Word, which is preached into our ears and hearts, the saving Gospel of our Lord proclaimed from faithful ministers and servants of Christ. And you ought surely know this. For if you receive nothing but fear and distress from the Gospel and you flee from God and His church because of what you hear, and you find no comfort or assurance in the Spirit, then faith is certainly absent. However, if you receive the comfort and assurance of the Spirit, and the Gospel proclaimed draws you to Christ and His church, and brings you a cheerful heart, to call upon Him and expect His help, then the Holy Spirit is bearing witness to your spirit that you are a child of God!

This is how you know the Spirit of God is at work in you. But there is also the external witness. By His Spirit, each Christian receives special gifts, spiritual understanding, grace and successes in his calling, a delight in God’s Word, and joy in confessing His Word before the world, even at great peril. This external witness also hates sin and resists it, though when you sin, you immediately run to Christ and the Absolution for forgiveness and the strength to overcome sin. Those without the Holy Spirit have not the will or the ability to do any of these external things. For Christians, these witnesses are accomplished in great weakness, but the Spirit of Christ still governs them in weakness and strengthens them, as Paul writes, “The Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses.”