“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
Please notice that it does not say, “The Spirit… bears witness to our spirit.” Instead, it says, “The Spirit… bears witness with our spirit.” Two witnesses are mentioned, not one.
The Holy Spirit bears witness. (1) The Holy Spirit revealed a message to man. Roy Deaver comments, “The Holy Spirit tells us what we must do and be in order to be a child of God” (Deaver, Romans: God’s Plan for Man’s Righteousness, p. 276). Marion Fox comments, “The Holy Spirit testifies how one becomes a son of God” (Fox, The Work of the Holy Spirit Vol. 1, p. 118). Robert Taylor Jr. comments, “In the gospel, the Spirit has revealed how to become a child of God and how to remain one” (Taylor, Studies in Romans, p. 141). (2) The Holy Spirit testified to this message. The word “witness” is used in scripture of miraculous evidence (Hebrews 2:1-4; Acts 5:32 cf. context: Acts 3:1-10; 4:8-10; 4:15-16; 4:33; 5:12; 5:15-16). Bill Lockwood has written, “Once the will of the Father was completed and all truth was revealed, the miraculous was withdrawn from the world. Today, the miraculous continues to sustain the truthfulness of Christianity, but it comes to us only by means of the historical record, the word of God” (Lockwood, Mistakes Regarding the Holy Spirit, Hammer and Tongs, March-April 1996).
The human spirit bears witness. Marion Fox comments, “The Holy Spirit testifies how one becomes a son of God… The human spirit testifies that it has obeyed God” (Fox, p. 118). Robert Taylor Jr. comments, “In the gospel, the Spirit has revealed how to become a child of God and how to remain one. The human spirit… determines whether one has done that which made him initially God’s child and whether he is continuing to do that which allows him to remain God’s child in an approved fashion” (Taylor, p. 141). Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Let us make a spiritual inspection this year. Ask yourself: (1) What do the Scriptures say? They are the standard. (2) What does the human spirit say? Can it say that you are walking in the light? (1 John 1:7).