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Romans 8:16

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The Spirit - The Holy Spirit. That the Holy Spirit here is intended, is evident,

(1)Because this is the natural meaning of the expression;

(2)Because it is of the Holy Spirit that the apostle is mainly treating here;

(3)Because it would be an unnatural and forced construction to say of the temper of adoption that it bore witness.

Beareth witness - Testifies, gives evidence.

With our spirit - To our minds. This pertains to the adoption; and it means that the Holy Spirit furnishes evidence to our minds that we are adopted into the family of God. This effect is not infrequently attributed to the Holy Spirit, 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 John 5:10-11; 1 Corinthians 2:12. If it be asked how this is done, I answer, it is not by any revelation of new truth; it is not by inspiration; it is not always by assurance; it is not by a mere persuasion that we are elected to eternal life; but it is by producing in us the appropriate effects of his influence. It is his to renew the heart; to sanctify the soul; to produce “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” Galatians 5:22-23. If a man has these, he has evidence of the witnessing of the Spirit with his spirit. If not, he has no such evidence. And the way, therefore, to ascertain whether we have this witnessing of the Spirit, is by an honest and prayerful inquiry whether these fruits of the Spirit actually exist in our minds. If they do, the evidence is clear. If not, all vain confidence of good estate; all visions, and raptures, and fancied revelations, will be mere delusions. It may be added, that the effect of these fruits of the Spirit an the mind is to produce a calm and heavenly frame; and in that frame, when attended with the appropriate fruits of the Spirit in a holy life, we may rejoice as an evidence of piety.

That we are the children of God - That we are adopted into his family.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If the Spirit be in us, Christ is in us. He dwells in the heart by faith. Grace in the soul is its new nature; the soul is alive to God, and has begun its holy happiness which shall endure for ever. The righteousness of Christ imputed, secures the soul, the better part, from death. From hence we see how much it is our duty to walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. If any habitually live according to corrupt lustings, they will certainly perish in their sins, whatever they profess. And what can a worldly life present, worthy for a moment to be put against this noble prize of our high calling? Let us then, by the Spirit, endeavour more and more to mortify the flesh. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit brings a new and Divine life to the soul, though in a feeble state. And the sons of God have the Spirit to work in them the disposition of children; they have not the spirit of bondage, which the Old Testament church was under, through the darkness of that dispensation. The Spirit of adoption was not then plentifully poured out. Also it refers to that spirit of bondage, under which many saints were at their conversion. Many speak peace to themselves, to whom God does not speak peace. But those who are sanctified, have God's Spirit witnessing with their spirits, in and by his speaking peace to the soul. Though we may now seem to be losers for Christ, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by him in the end.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit - Αυτο το πνευμα, that same Spirit, the Spirit of adoption; that is, the Spirit who witnesses this adoption; which can be no other than the Holy Ghost himself, and certainly cannot mean any disposition or affection of mind which the adopted person may feel; for such a disposition must arise from a knowledge of this adoption, and the knowledge of this adoption cannot be given by any human or earthly means; it must come from God himself: therefore the αυτο το πνευμα must have reference to that Spirit, by whom alone the knowledge of the adoption is witnessed to the soul of the believer.

With our spirit - In our understanding, the place or recipient of light and information; and the place or faculty to which such information can properly be brought. This is done that we may have the highest possible evidence of the work which God has wrought. As the window is the proper medium to let the light of the sun into our apartments, so the understanding is the proper medium of conveying the Spirit's influence to the soul. We, therefore, have the utmost evidence of the fact of our adoption which we can possibly have; we have the word and Spirit of God; and the word sealed on our spirit by the Spirit of God. And this is not a momentary influx: if we take care to walk with God, and not grieve the Holy Spirit, we shall have an abiding testimony; and while we continue faithful to our adopting Father, the Spirit that witnesses that adoption will continue to witness it; and hereby we shall know that we are of God by the Spirit which he giveth us.

Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 144

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. Romans 8:16. HP 144.1

You may have the witness of the Spirit that your ways please God. This is obtained by believing in the Word of God, by appropriating that Word to your own soul. This is eating the bread of life, and this will bring eternal life. Compare scripture with scripture. Study the representation of the life of a true Christian as delineated in the Word of God. HP 144.2

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 22.3

Believe ye receive the things ye ask for and ye shall have them. Come with humble heart, but presenting the promise. Then believe you do receive. The name, the all-prevailing name of our Saviour, is our assurance and our boldness. God presents Himself to us as a hearer of prayer. Keep on right ground with God, so that you may have the witness of the Spirit that you are one of His elect and faithful, trusting ones. TDG 22.3

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Ellen G. White
Sons and Daughters of God, 193

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18. SD 193.1

This is an important statement; for there are many who desire to love and serve God, and yet when afflictions comes upon them, they do not discern the love of God in it, but the hand of the enemy. They mourn and murmur and complain; but this is not the fruit of love to God in the soul. If we have perfect love, we shall know that God is not seeking to injure us, but that in the midst of trials, and griefs, and pains, He is seeking to make us perfect, and to test the quality of our faith. When we cease to worry about the future, and begin to believe that God loves us, and means to do us good, we shall trust Him as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, and our will will be swallowed up in the will of God.14The Youth's Instructor, January 6, 1898. SD 193.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 400

When profligacy and heresy and infidelity fill the land, there will be many humble homes where prayer, sincere and contrite prayer, will be offered from those who have never heard the truth, and there will be many hearts that will carry a weight of oppression for the dishonor done to God. We are too narrow in our ideas, we are poor judges, for many of these will be accepted of God because they cherish every ray of light that shone upon them.—Manuscript 6, 1889. 3SM 400.1

Men are inspired by Satan to execute his purposes against God. The Lord has said, “Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations” (Exodus 31:13). None should disobey this command in order to escape persecution. But let all consider the words of Christ, “When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another” (Matthew 10:23). If it can be avoided, do not put yourselves into the power of men who are worked by the spirit of Antichrist. If the payment of a fine will deliver our brethren from the hands of these oppressors, let it be paid, rather than to be pressed and made to work on the Sabbath. Everything that we can do should be done that those who are willing to suffer for the truth's sake may be saved from oppression and cruelty.... 3SM 400.2

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