The “Witness” of Romans 8:16
Romans 8, verse 16 says; “The Spirit Himself bears witness, with our spirit, that we are children of God..” The Spirit of God, bears witness (some versions say, “testifies”).. either one would be correct. “The Spirit of God, (which is God) testifies, along with our own spirit, that we are children of God.”
Now let me read to you a question and answer from the Gospel Minutes newspaper, from February 7, of this year..
I’d like to elaborate a bit on that answer given in the newspaper. There was actually three questions asked. First, What is my spirit? Then, How does my spirit “witness”? And then, How can I serve God, in my spirit?
Now David Thurman said some good things in his answer, but like I said, I just want to elaborate a bit. And the first question that I’d like to address is.. What is my spirit? So then, What is your spirit?
Your spirit is not your brain, or your intellect, or your consciousness. Your spirit goes much deeper than that. Your spirit is a living being! God breathed your spirit, into your body, at the time of your conception. That’s when the body becomes a “living being” as stated in Genesis 2, verse 7. Your body becomes a “living being” when your “living spirit” enters your body. And your body ceases to be a “living being” when your “living spirit” leaves your body at death. Your spirit is that part of you, which will exist eternally!
In contrast to your brain, or to your intellect, your spirit is who you are. It’s not simply what you know, but it’s who you are. Your spirit is what motivates you. It’s the driving force behind what your brain, tells your body to do. Your spirit is actually what tells your brain what to do! Your spirit, is very similar to your mind. For example, in Philippians 2, verse 5, the scripture says; “Have this MIND in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” In other words, have this attitude, and this mind-set in you, which was also in Christ. Make what motivated Christ, be what motivates you.
So then, when you understand what your spirit is, it’s pretty easy to understand how you should serve God, in your spirit. The way that you serve God in your spirit, is to have the mind of Christ in you. When what motivated Christ to do what He did, is also what motivates you to do what you do, you are then serving God in your spirit.
Is that understandable to you? I hope so. Jesus once said, in John 4:24; “My meat, is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” What Jesus meant by “My meat”, is.. that which sustains Me, and which motivates Me. The thing which sustained the very being of Jesus, was to do the will of God. That was the “spirit” of Christ, to do God’s will. And when we make that OUR “spirit; When we make that OUR motivation, and our very purpose, then we will indeed be serving God in our spirit.
But the question remains; How does my spirit “bear witness”? And to understand exactly how your spirit “bears witness” as the scripture says, all you need to understand is the meaning of “bear witness”. The reason that some versions use the word “testifies” is because that is exactly what “bears witness” means. It means “to jointly testify, or “to corroborate evidence”. That last part really makes it easy to understand. “To corroborate evidence”.
Now remember what we’re bearing witness of. We’re talking about bearing witness, that we are a child of God. How does our spirit do that? How does our spirit bear witness, that we’re a child of God? There has to be evidence, that we’re a child of God. There has to be some kind of “testimony” that we are actually a child of God. But it can’t be just oral testimony, because that’s just talk. Without evidence, all of our words, are just talk.
So then, where’s the evidence, that we’re a child of God? You’ve heard the expression.. “the proof is in the pudding”? Well, I think that’s kind of a shortened version, of the original expression. The original expression says; “the proof of the pudding, is in the eating!” In other words, once you eat it, and once you taste it, then you’ll see how good it is. (or if it’s any good at all) Let me taste that pudding, and see if it’s any good.
Well, the proof, or the evidence, of being a child of God, is in the life, of a child of God. Right? You have to actually see the life of someone, you have to get “a taste” of it, before you can know for sure, if person is actually a child of God or not. So we’ve got to have evidence, and the evidence is the behavior, and the conduct, and the attitude, and the “life” of a person. then, we can see if they’re a child of God.
The bible tells us what “His children’s” attitude should be. The bible tells us how His children conduct themselves. We talked this morning in bible class about the attributes of love. And the bible says in 1 John 2:5; “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
“By this, we know that we are in Him.” By this, we know that we are a child of His! That’s the evidence right there. At least that’s a part of the evidence. 1 John 3:7 says to us; “Little children, let no man deceive you; He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.” And then we’re told in verse 10; “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of God. Neither he that loveth not his brother.”
So right there is the evidence, that we are children of God. Through our actions of love, and our attitudes of love, the proof is in the pudding, as they say. Through our very life, our spirit within us is bearing witness that we are children of God.
But someone still might ask; How does the Spirit, bear witness with our spirit? Well, when the bible says that “the Spirit bears witness” it might as well be saying, that the word of God bears witness. Because the word of God, is the very essence of the Spirit of God. What’s that verse that I quote so often, from John 6:63? It was Jesus who said; “..The words that I speak to you, ARE spirit, and they are life.” The words of God, are spirit, and they give us life. AND, those words bear witness to us, that when we obey those words, then we are indeed, children of God.
Ans so the Spirit of God, bears witness to us, through the words of God. When the life that we live, AGREES with the words of God, which are the words of His Spirit, then the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God.
I read an interesting question from someone recently. They asked; If someone worships God, but worships in error, according to idolatry, aren’t they still a child of God? And I’m not really sure what they meant by the phrase, “worships according to idolatry”, but “worshiping in idolatry, isn’t just some little error! It’s a complete turning from God’s commandment! And judging from what we’ve just read from 1st John, how can anyone be a child of God, when they turn from God’s commandment?
“But whoever KEEPS His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” You can’t be a child of God, if you’re not “In God”.
So many people think that they’re a child of God, but yet pay so little attention to the commandments of God. And the fact is, that it’s our life of devotion to the commandments of God, that provide the evidence, that we’re children of God. And it’s our obedience to the word, and our conforming to the word of God, that bears witness, that we’re children of God.
“The Spirit Himself (through His word) bears witness, with our spirit, that we ARE children of God..”
Didn’t I give a lesson just a couple of weeks ago, on the subject of what it is, that’s counted to us (or reckoned to us) as righteousness?
Well, we just read 1 John 3, verse 7 which says; “Little children, let no man deceive you; He that DOETH righteousness, is righteous, even as He is righteous.” And Deuteronomy 6, verse 25 tells us; “And it shall BE our righteousness, if we observe to DO all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.” So then righteousness is obeying, and doing, what the Lord commands.
And the point is, that it’s our obedience to the Lord’s commandments, which is reckoned to us, AS righteousness.
I think that I brought up the fact that so many people believe that Christ’s own righteousness, is reckoned to us, as our righteousness. But that’s not at all what the bible teaches. The bible explicitly teaches us that it was Christ’s righteousness, that made Him “complete”, and thereby able to become the source of salvation for all of us.
It’s Hebrews 5, verses 8 & 9 that tells us that. Here’s precisely what it says; “Though he were a Son, yet learned he OBEDIENCE by the things which he suffered. And being made COMPLETE (perfect), He became the author (OR THE SOURCE) of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”
And so then just as Christ’s obedience was counted to Him as righteousness, because that’s what righteousness is, the keeping of God’s commandments, so also is OUR obedience, counted to US, as righteousness. That’s actually pretty easy to understand, isn’t it? I think it is.
And so once again, it’s our obedience to God’s word, that testifies, or witnesses, to the fact, that we are indeed, the children of God. And how blessed we are, as His children.
Ephesians 1, verse 3 tells us; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (some versions say, Praise be to the God and Father) who hath blessed us, with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places in Christ.” “Heavenly places” simply means.. in the heavenly realm; In the spiritual realm.
“My kingdom is not of this realm” Jesus said, in John 18:36. His kingdom is of the spiritual, heavenly realm.