1 John 3:24 And by this we know that he remains in us – from the Spirit whom he has given to us.
The other day I was reading 1 John in Greek and came across this verse. It reads in Greek just like you see it in your English Bible (good thing), but it takes longer, for me at least, to read it in Greek. This gave me time to think about what John was saying, instead of rushing past on my way to the end. One of the reasons John wrote this letter is so that “we may know we have eternal life.” He gives us several ways we can know we are Christians. For example, that we love one another and keep God’s commandments. One of the ways John states is by the Spirit whom God has given us. Notice that John isn’t saying if we are Christians, we know we have the Spirit; he is saying if we have the Spirit, we know that we are Christians.
This reminds me of Acts 19:2, where Paul asks some men if they received the Spirit when they believed. Paul is assuming they know whether Almighty God came upon them or not; an assumption we no longer make. Lastly, there is the passage in Acts 8 where Simon goes to Samaria and leads many to Christ, but the apostles “…came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Forget for a moment that this passage is theologically incredible. For our purposes, just note that they knew the Holy Spirit hadn’t fallen on these believers. They could tell that the Spirit hadn’t come upon them.
Maybe Christians shouldn’t assume the Spirit is present and acting when there is no evidence. According to the Bible we should be able to tell, at least some of the time.