“Wrestling With Romans”
Sealed with His Love (Chapter 8 Verses 1-17)
The Holy Spirit testifies, seals this very fact (v16). Now this confirms yesterday’s note, concerning what we have said with regards to the Spirit’s operations in us. Do notice that it is with our spirit not to our spirit. Now some would argue it should be the latter translation, but we cannot stand alongside the Spirit and without any divine help, testify to our standing, our relationship with God. Paul’s very point here is, that we do have help, He, the Holy Spirit testifies with our own spirit, our inner-most being, and gives assurance of our relationship to the heavenly family. There is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit with our own spirit, and it is his testimony, his conclusion that we are children of God. Now this is the normal Christian life Paul speaks of here, not something special, assurance of our standing with God is something that belongs to every Christian.
But it does point out again, first and foremost, the importance of our sealing, our Spirit-baptism (Ephesians 1.13-14), which takes place at regeneration. But we go on from there being filled, experiencing the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. There are those who speak of the necessity of a second blessing and have emphasised this to the point of creating what amounts to a two tier Christianity. This is the Pentecostal heresy. I would say that the experience of the Holy Spirit’s operations within us may not be a once-only experience, or even a particular second-blessing experience. There have been many Christians who have had further and greater experiences, Jonathan Edwards, D.L. Moody, George Whitfield and many others, some perhaps not quite so well known. Listen to the voice of Moody for instance: “One day in the City of New York, oh, what a day, I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it, for it is almost too sacred an experience to name. I can only say that God revealed himself to me, and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand”. Now Moody was an up-and-running Christian and preacher long before this happened to him, God came to him and drenched him in the dew of heaven (Psalm 72.6), God came down, anointed, filled him with the Holy Ghost, testifying to him that he was a son of heaven, assurance you see. Read through John’s first letter in the New Testament, and see the number of times John says, “we know”, over and over again “we know”, know what? That we are of God, that we belong to him. We have an anointing, a sealing, a guarantee (1John 2.20, 27), therefore we know, we abide in him, assured of our position in the family of God. It is the Father’s comfort for his children, in the midst of our trials and distresses, stooping to our grief, seeking to seal our softened hearts with a deeper, clearer impression of our interest in his love. Let him, seek him with all your heart.
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)