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The Holy Spirit's Birth Certificate

Romans 8:16-17
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (NIV)

How do we know that we are children of God? Human identity is proved by a birth certificate, but our spiritual identity is validated by the Holy Spirit. Objectively, we know from Scripture that "... if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). But also the Holy Spirit gives us His own personal assurance. When we believe in Jesus, we receive the 'Spirit of sonship' (Romans 8:15), and He confirms to our hearts that we really do belong to God's own family.

'Sonship' is a legal status, giving us the right of inheritance. Our inheritance is already reserved for us in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5), waiting to be revealed when Jesus Christ comes again. Until then we are 'younger brothers of Jesus Christ' (Hebrews 2:11) - and we are appointed to follow Him, even into suffering. The Bible knows no triumphal life on earth for the believer before Christ returns: those who will share in His glory must also share in His suffering.

Human nature wants the glory now. We will invent all sorts of short cuts to glory in this life: wealth, honour, popularity, intellectual or physical prowess, or just the applause of others. They are all classic temptations for believers and their leaders. But the cross must come before the crown. Some will argue that Jesus had the cross so we can have the crown - and that is right, but not now. Jesus Himself said, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23). It is in the midst of suffering that the Holy Spirit's assurance is most precious; convincing our hearts that He has not abandoned us because we are His very own children ... and the best is yet to come. So let the Holy Spirit encourage you today; whatever your circumstances, you still belong to God.

My dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for bringing me into Your family when I trusted in Christ. Thank You for your Holy Spirit's quiet assurance that I really do belong to You. I am sorry for the times when I have doubted my identity in Christ, because I have looked at my sin or the harshness of my circumstances. I am also sorry when I have demanded a crown without being willing to take up my cross. Please help me to listen to Your Holy Spirit's voice, and have the courage to step onwards in faith because I know my identity in Christ, and trust Him for my future. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams