Someone may believe the basic doctrines of Christianity but still worry that he has not received the Holy Spirit. Is belief in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross proof that you and I have been born again by the Spirit? If not, how can we find assurance of our salvation?
First, if you’re wrestling with these questions and wanting assurance, know that you’re not alone. Many believers worry about the genuineness of their faith.
Second, the fact that you believe in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for you is a strong sign that you have the Holy Spirit living within you. The apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church that no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3). Even confessing faith in the gospel is the result of the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Paul says, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). In other words, when you heard the gospel and believed it, you were at that moment sealed with the Holy Spirit. So, if you’ve received Christ, if you believe in him and his resurrection from the dead, you have the Holy Spirit.
Now, we can be more or less filled with the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” As those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit from the moment we believed the gospel, we’re called to walk in the Spirit daily, being filled with the Spirit through the word of Christ. And the way we see the Spirit working in our lives is through the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Gal. 5).
So, as those who have the Spirit of God, we turn to the Lord and say, “God, fill me with your Spirit and help me to be guided by your Spirit.” If you’ve believed the good news of the gospel, be encouraged and comforted, and may the Lord give you grace to keep pursuing him in the Holy Spirit.