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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”—Romans 8:16 (NKJV)
I don’t know about you, but I love a good courtroom drama movie. Among my favorites is the classic ‘90s flick A Few Good Men, which is set around a military tribunal investigating the suspicious death of a Marine.
In the most famous and heated exchange in the film, the defense attorney (Tom Cruise) interrogates the witness, the arrogant Colonel Jessup (Jack Nicholson), about whether he was responsible for ordering a “code red” that led to a soldier’s death under his command at Guantanamo Bay.
Jessup asks Kaffee with contempt: “You want answers?”
“I want the truth!” demands the attorney.
“You can’t handle the truth!” the witness shouts defiantly.
Theatrics aside, the role of witnesses in real-life courtrooms offers insight into today’s verse. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are three categories of witnesses in legal proceedings:
1. A lay witness (the most common type)—a person who watched certain events and describes what he/she saw.
2. A character witness—someone who knows the victim, the defendant, or other people involved in the case and can attest to their character.
3. An expert witness—a specialist who is educated in a certain area that testifies with respect to his specialty area only.
In light of Romans 8:16, it’s safe to say the Holy Spirit plays all three roles in our lives as believers. You see, the Spirit was present the moment you surrendered your life to Jesus and can describe the events the way a lay witness can (only better). He is also our character witness, giving us power to change from our former selves into the image of Christ by producing spiritual fruit in us (Gal. 5:22-23). Finally, He’s the ultimate expert witness who specialized in your adoption proceedings. In fact, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:22 (NIV) that God “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” In other words, the Holy Spirit can affirm better than anyone else that we are legal sons and daughters of God.
One last thought: the Department of Justice notes that witnesses are called to sit near the judge on the witness stand and must take an oath to tell the truth. Because Jesus called the Holy Spirit “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13), we can be confident that when we stand before the Judge, the Spirit will be there to testify truthfully about who we are: children of God.
DIG: After putting your faith in Christ, have you ever doubted whether you are really saved and asked to receive Him again? If so, you’re not alone, and there’s great news: Your concerns about your identity in Christ are evidence that you care deeply about your relationship to God and are, in fact, a kind of evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work in your life.
DISCOVER: Read 1 John 5:1. What assurance does this passage give you about your identity in Christ?
DISPLAY: As the Holy Spirit testifies on your behalf of your adoption as a child of God, ask Him to give you the power to be a witness and to testify on what Jesus has done in your life.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.