How Do You Know You’ve Received the Holy Spirit–Not Necessarily Tongues
How do you know if you’ve really received the Holy Spirit? Some in the more charismatic movement claim that the only way to know that you’ve actually truly received the Holy Spirit is if you speak in tongues (language that you do not know). So if you repent and believe in Jesus, but do not speak in tongues, then you cannot have confidence that you’ve actually ever received the Holy Spirit (been baptized in the Holy Spirit).
This is a mistaken approach. Scriptures teaches that God gives some the gift of speaking in tongues (1 Cor 12:10), but not all Christians. True evidence that you’ve become a Christian and received the Holy Spirit can be found elsewhere. Luther is helpful here:
“Therefore we must not doubt that the Holy Spirit dwells in us; but we must be sure and acknowledge that we are, as Paul says, “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19). For if someone experiences love toward the Word, and if he enjoys hearing, speaking, thinking, lecturing, and writing about Christ, he should know that this is not a work of human will or reason but a gift of the Holy Spirit. For it is impossible for these things to happen without the Holy Spirit… Therefore when we are glad to hear the proclamation about Christ, the Son of God, who was made man for us and subjected Himself to the Law to redeem us, then with and through that proclamation God surely sends the Holy Spirit into our hearts. Therefore it is extremely profitable to the pious to know that they have the Holy Spirit…the external signs, as I have said earlier, are these: to enjoy hearing about Christ, to teach give thanks, praise, and confess Him, even at the cost of property and life; to do one’s duty according to one’s calling in a manly way, in faith and joy; not to take delight in sin; not to invade someone else’ calling but to serve one’s own; to help a needy brother, comfort the sorrowful, etc. By these signs we are assured and confirmed a posteriori that we are in a state of grace… These things certainly testify that the Holy Spirit is present.” (Commentary on Galatians 376-379).
Thus, if you are a Christian, you can be assured that you’ve received the Holy Spirit if you love Christ and others, hate sin, and believe God’s Word. These are the external signs of an inward-dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
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