1 John 4:13-16
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
One of the most under applied doctrines in the Christian faith is the person and work of the Holy Spirit. Today, John tells us how important the Spirit is in our relationship with God. It is the person of the Holy Spirit that testifies with our spirit, so we can know without a shadow of doubt we live in Him.
Paul says in Ephesians 1:14, "The Holy Spirit is a downpayment guaranteeing our future inheritance." Notice the word "guarantee". God does not want us to doubt where we are going when we die. A Christian should answer the question, "Do you know that you are going to go to heaven?", with, "Absolutely!" Some might say that is pretty presumptive, but our assumption is not based on what we have done, but what God has done. The gift of the Holy Spirit, which we received when we came to faith in Jesus, assures us that we are God's child. Our confidence is not in what we have done, or how strong of faith we have, but God's free and unmerited gift.
Martin Luther said this about the work of the Holy Spirit, "I cannot by my own effort or understanding come to know Jesus as Lord, but the Holy Spirit has called me and enlightened with His gifts. Day by day, He sanctifies me in the one true faith." Again we see it is God's work that leads us to believe in Jesus, through the gift of faith. So what is the benefit of knowing that our relationship with God is not something we earned or deserved, or need to continue to work for?
The benefit is this frees us up to love and serve God without any fear. "Perfect love casts out all fear", the first letter of John states. So the question for the day is do you know God? Do you realize it is God's work in you, as the Holy Spirit convicts of your need for the a Savior, and reveals the person and work of Jesus Christ?
One of the things we can be thankful for is all God has done for us! Make sure you include this in your Thanksgiving blessings this year!!