The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ….
How do you know that you are a child of God? How do you know that you’re going to heaven?
Perhaps you “just know.” I’ve talked with many religious people who tell me that they feel deep within their heart and soul that they belong to God and are heaven-bound. Maybe someone told you to believe in Jesus and ask him into your heart, and God would immediately make you his child. Once I read on the back of a religious tract a little poem that rhymed which was all about believing in Jesus. Below the poem was written the statement: “Read this poem out loud and mean it with your heart, and you will be saved right now!” There are possibly many who were told something similar and did it, and now believe in their heart that God has written their name in heaven. Maybe you are one of them.
And yet…what if you’re wrong? How can you know for sure? After all, the Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is death (Proverbs 14:12). The Bible also says that the heart is very deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). We can read in Scripture of Jesus turning many obviously very religious people away from entrance into heaven on the day of Judgment (Matthew 7:21-27). So it would be a grave mistake with eternal ramifications to trust the feelings we have in our heart or what we think is right religiously when it comes to determining if we’re truly on the road to salvation.
Consider this. When all is said and done, God is the only One who grants entrance into heaven and determines who is his child. We don’t have the power to save ourselves. No, God is the One who saves us. He is the One who grants us that eternal inheritance.
Wouldn’t it be great if whenever we said to ourselves, “I am a child of God. I am saved. I am heaven-bound,” God would join us and say, “You are absolutely right”?
That’s exactly what Paul says the Holy Spirit does in the Romans passage above. God’s Spirit joins with our spirit in testifying that we are his children and heirs with Christ of the inheritance of heaven (1 Peter 1:3-5). God basically lets us know whether we are on the right path or not.
How? Through the Bible, God’s Word, the Scriptures. All Scripture – Genesis through Revelation – is inspired by God and its purpose is to teach, reprove, correct and train us in righteousness so we can be complete in God’s sight (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The human writers of the books of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21; Ephesians 3:3-5), which means that whenever you read your Bible you are reading a message from the Holy Spirit.
So a good way to know whether you are truly God’s child and heirs of the inheritance of heaven is to examine your own testimony about salvation and compare it to the Holy Spirit’s inspired Scriptures. When you do that, you will see passages that say one must believe in Jesus (John 3:16), repent of sin (Acts 17:30), and be baptized in order to be saved and have sins forgiven (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21). You will read about being baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12:13), how there is one body, one baptism and one faith (Ephesians 4:4-5), how that one body is in fact Christ’s church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and how he is the Savior of his church (Ephesians 5:23). You will read of the command to walk in the light by penitently observing all of Christ’s commands to continually be forgiven (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 John 1:7-9).
If you can honestly say, “I believe in Jesus. I repent of my sins. I’ve been baptized for salvation and forgiveness into the one body of Christ which is His church. I live penitently and faithfully according to God’s commands,” then guess what? You and the Holy Spirit are testifying the same thing: that you are God’s child and heaven-bound.
Does the Holy Spirit testify with your spirit that you are truly God’s child?