1) Do you see the work of the Spirit in your life?
When a person is saved the Holy Spirit indwells them. "Having believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance," Eph 1:13-14. The Holy Spirit's primary task is to sanctify us. Thus if we are Christians we will see the results of the ministry of the Spirit in holy lives. "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." 1 John 4:13.
The Holy Spirit will produce holiness in the life of the believer. This is not just outward action, but an inward transformation. The famous passage is Galatians 5: 22-23. There it lists the fruit of the Spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control; against such things there is no law." An apple tree will produce apples. An orange tree will produce oranges and a person that has the Spirit living inside them will produce the fruit of the Spirit. Are these seen in your life?
The Holy Spirit is the teacher of truth. He reveals the glorious truths of God's word. "As for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in Him." 1 John 2:27. "But when He , the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth;" John 16:13. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth of God's word. For when we are dead in our sins we can't understand or appreciate the glory of the truth. "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them , because they are spiritually appraised." 1 Cor 2:14. An evidence the Spirit is working in our lives is when we begin to see the truth, wisdom and greatness of the gospel and the glory of Christ. We love God's word. Our eyes are opened and it becomes clear to us. We have a hunger for the Bible which results in the daily reading and study of God's word. All this is evidence that the Spirit is at work within us.
The Spirit also gives true believers spiritual discernment so that they hold fast to essential doctrine. Consider 2 John 9, "Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." Or 1 John 4:6, "We are from God; he who know God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." Or "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him." 1 John 4:15. Consider also 1 John 2:20-24 and 1 John 5:1. This doesn't mean Christians are never in doctrinal error. But the Spirit works in us so that we hold fast to those essential and major doctrines, like the divinity and humanity of Christ, the Trinity, the substitutionary atonement. Cults like the Mormons, JW's and others deny these and other essential doctrines. Thus they show by what they believe that they are not Christians. Christians will be able to discern false teachers and teaching.
The Holy Spirit will also testify to our adoption as God's children. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God," Rom 8:16. In salvation we are adopted as God's children. He is now our Father. The Holman study note on this verse says this "By the Spirit we have a consciousnesses that God is our Father. It is the mark of a Christian to cry out to his Father in prayer." John Macarthur in his study Bible says this, ""God's Holy Spirit confirms the validity of our adoption, not by some inner, mystical voice, but by the fruit He produces in us and the power He provides for spiritual service." Thus we come to God as children come to their father knowing that He will hear us through Christ.
2) Does God answer your prayers?
"This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 1 John 5:14 and 1 John 3:22, "And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight." This doesn't mean God will answer our prayers in the exact manner that we think He should. But when we pray according to His will, laid out for us in scripture, then we can be sure that God will answer those prayers. If we are Christians, we should see some of God's answers to our prayers and that will give us greater assurance of faith.
For the last blog post in this series I will look at a few more signs to see if we are indeed Christians.