Friday, May 03, 2024

The Vision (5.3.24): The Spiritual Test


Image: Azalea bush, North Garden, Virginia, May 3, 2024.

Note: Devotion based on last Sunday's sermon on 1 John 4:11-16.

Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit (1 John 4:13).

One of 1 John’s great themes is assurance of salvation. If one struggles with doubts and worries about his salvation, this is the book we would first recommend for reading and meditation.

We previously noted at least three tests that provide assurance of salvation:

The Doctrinal Test: Do you say you believe? (1 John 2:23; Romans 10:9);

The Ethical Test: Are you seeking to obey Christ? (1 John 5:3; John 14:15);

The Social Test: Do you love the brethren? (1 John 3:14; John 13:35).

In 1 John 4:13 there is perhaps another kind of test, which we might call The Spiritual Test. We know that we dwell (or abide) in Christ, because we have the Spirit.

The same point is made in 1 John 3:24b: “And herby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” Paul likewise spoke of the Holy Spirit dwelling in each believer (see Romans 8:9, 11, 15-16).

What are the evidences of the Spirit within us? Here are at least three scriptural evidences:

First, our consciences are sensitive to sin in our lives (see Galatians 5:17: “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh”).

Second, we begin to understand the Scriptures and the things of God in ways that the natural (unregenerate) man cannot (see 1 Corinthians 2:14-15: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God… But he that is spiritual judgeth all things…”).

Third, the Spirit helps us in our prayer life (see Romans 8:26: “the Spirit helpeth our infirmities” and “the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”).

May each authentic believer receive assurance of salvation as he recognizes the presence of the Spirit in his life.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle


Phil Brown said...

It wasn't until recently that I began to see this more clearly. I do appreciate the sermon and the devotion. My own personal experience has been gradual and difficult. Some areas of my life, sin was easy to cast aside after I made a profession of faith. However, the process of God working in my life has been messy. I was unaware of many sins, and as I discovered them, I fell into despair more than once. I even was Baptized more than once because I thought my first profession of faith was false. I now know better, but the proper church structure wasn't in place to help me work through these things. Most Baptist churches down here have revivalist roots. The law reveals the ugliness of sin and how destructive it really is to our lives and the lives of others. It will cause a man who's conscience is growing more sensitive to question his own standing with God as it has with me over the years and some of my friends. I also had some sins that I was unwilling to part with. Through more liberal brethren, I found justification for some of those sins and held on to them far longer than I should have. I almost lost my family over some of them. God has graciously spared me that, and ministries like yours and others who preach and teach the true Word have helped me find clarity and understanding of what God really wants. I still am a work in progress, but can see clearly that what you are saying here can be a challenge and a blessing. I shudder at all of the people I know who have fallen victim to the prosperity gospel, which is no gospel at all. How dangerous a doctrine it is to the soul of man and how many are being duped by their teaching. Thanks again for your ministry and this blog. It is helpful to this blue collar worker in Southwest Arkansas. God bless.

Jeffrey T. Riddle said...

Yes, the process of God's working in our lives is often "messy." Agreed. Thanks for the encouragement. Glad you have found some profit in this blog. SDG!