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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Witness of the Spirit

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is a phrase common with many Christians, especially the Methodists, to denote the inward assurance which every believer has of his filial relation to (God namely, that the Holy Ghost immediately and directly witnesses to and with (συμμαρτυρεῖ ) his spirit that he is a child of God, involving the collateral assurance that through faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for him, all his sins are blotted out, and he is reconciled to God (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:5-7; John 1:12; 1 John 5:9-13). Mr. Wesley observes, "I do not mean hereby that the Spirit of God testifies this by any outward voice; no, nor always by an inward voice, although he may do this sometimes. Neither do I suppose that he always applies to the heart, though he often may, one or more texts of Scripture. But he so works upon the soul by his immediate influence, and by a strong though inexplicable operation, that the stormy wind and troubled waves subside, and there is a sweet calm the heart resting as in the arms of Jesus, and the sinner being clearly satisfied that all his 'iniquities are forgiven and his sins covered.' The immediate result of this testimony is 'the fruit of the Spirit love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance' (Galatians 5:22-23). Without these the testimony itself cannot continue; for it is inevitably destroyed, not only by the commission of any outward sin, or the omission of known duty, but by giving way to any inward sin in a word, by whatever grieves the Holy Spirit. of God." Some claim a similar testimony for special states of grace, and even peculiar experiences or prognostications, but such an extension of the privilege is not authorized by; Scripture. (See ADOPTION); (See ASSURANCE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Witness of the Spirit'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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