The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Having affirmed the Divine relationship of the believer, the apostle now proceeds to adduce the Divine evidence of a truth so great.
I. IT IS NOT STRANGE THAT THE FACT OF HIS ADOPTION SHOULD MEET WITH MUCH MISGIVING IN THE CHRISTIAN'S MIND. The very stupendousness of the relationship staggers our belief. To be fully assured of our Divine adoption demands other than the testimony either of our own feelings or the opinion of men. Our feelings may mislead, the opinion of others may deceive. There exists a strong combination of evil tending to shake the Christian's confidence in the belief of his sonship.
1. Satan is ever on the watch to insinuate the doubt. He tried the experiment with our Lord (Matthew 4:6).
2. The world, too, presumes to call it in question (1 John
3. I). Ignorant of the Divine original, how can it recognise the Divine lineaments in the faint and imperfect copy?
3. But the strongest doubts are those gendered in the believer's own mind. There crowd upon it thoughts of his own sinfulness, and unworthiness of so distinguished a blessing. And when to this are added the varied dispensations of his heavenly Father, often wearing a rough garb, it is no marvel that, staggered by a discipline so severe, the fact of God's love should sometimes be a matter of painful doubt.
II. BUT GOD HAS GRACIOUSLY AND AMPLY PROVIDED FOR THIS PART OF CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE IN THE WITHESS OF THE SPIRIT.
1. The perfect competence of the Spirit is assumed. Who can reasonably question it?
(1) Is verity essential to a witness? He is the "Spirit of truth."(2) Is it essential that he should know the fact whereof he affirms? Who so competent to authenticate the work of the Spirit in the heart as the Spirit Himself?
2. As to the truth thus witnessed, we are not to suppose that the testimony is intended to make the fact itself more sure; nor for the benefit of our fellowcreatures, still less for the satisfaction of God Himself, but for the assurance and comfort of our own hearts.
3. But the question arises, What is the mode of His testimony? Not by visions and voices; not by heats and fancies; nor by any direct inspiration, or new revelation of truth. By —
(1) Begetting in us the Divine nature.
(2) Producing in us spiritual fruits.
(3) Breathing in our souls a desire for holiness, the Spirit conducts us to the rational conclusion that we are born of God.
(O. Winslow, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: