The Holy Spirit's Birth Certificate
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.
© Dr Paul Adams