THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT (2)
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,
that we are children of God (Romans 8:16)
The Methodist movement has a great role to play in proclaiming the balance between mere formalism and wild enthusiasm on the topic of the witness of the Spirit (that inward impression that we are now a child of God).
Yes, the fruit of the Spirit confirm within our own spirit that we are children of God. But, here, we are referring to the direct witness of the Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit spring from this initial witness of the Spirit.
One cannot object that this doctrine is not Scriptural, for what else does Romans 8:16 mean by distinguishing the witness of the Spirit from the witness of our own spirit?
Nor can one reject the doctrine due to the fact that it has sometimes been abused. Nor is it unnecessary, for the truth of something is established by multiple witnesses.
We believe, then, that is vital to recognize the reality of a direct witness by the Spirit of God on a child of God in addition to any awareness within their own spirit via a consciousness of the fruit of the Spirit.
Neither of the witnesses is to be neglected in our doctrine or practice. None should rest in a witness of the Spirit that does not produce the fruit… and none should rest in apparent fruit without the direct witness of the Spirit.