God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.




From the New Testament we learn that at the point of conversion, and from that point on, we possess new life. When the Holy Spirit brings us to new birth and unites us to Christ, and when Jesus Christ simultaneously puts his Spirit in us, a massive change takes place in our relationship with God:

By the Holy Spirit we are marked and sealed as belonging to God
The New Testament teaches that Holy Spirit is God’s mark upon believers, identifying us as belonging to him and sealing us for our final redemption. The Holy Spirit is thus God’s guarantee of our salvation both now and in the future. In this context the word firstfruits (= ‘deposit’ or ‘down payment’) is used in reference to the Spirit. The indwelling Spirit is God’s ‘down payment’ anticipating the day when we shall be ‘forever with the Lord’. By the Holy Spirit the believer is united to Jesus Christ, and identified and confirmed as belonging to God.

Romans 8:23 – we ‘have the firstfruits of the Spirit.’

2Corinthians 1:21, 22 – God ‘has set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.’ ( See also 2Corinthians 5:5)

Ephesians 1:13, 14 – ‘Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance ...’

Ephesians 4:30 – ‘the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.’

By the Holy Spirit we are identified and confirmed as God’s children
As well as guaranteeing our eternal salvation the Holy Spirit confirms our identity as the children of God, assuring us that we have the right of sons to call God ‘Abba, Father’, even though we live in the context of suffering (Romans 8) and the context of legalistic heresy (Galatians 4), both of which would raise strong doubts about that sonship.

Romans 8:15, 16 – ‘you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.’ See also Galatians 4:6.

By the Holy Spirit we have access to God
Before our conversion we were banned from the presence of God by our sin. We had no right of access to him. A part of the salvation believers have in Christ is permanent, present, unimpeded access into the very presence of God through his once-for-all substitutionary, sin-bearing death and his present representative mediation (Romans 5:2; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 10:19-22; 1Peter 3:18). One such verse refers to the role of the Holy Spirit in this unimpeded access:

Ephesians 2:18 – through Christ we ‘have access to the Father by one Spirit.’

By the Holy Spirit we are set apart for God
The New Testament also refers to the Holy Spirit as the one who sets us apart for God. The word used is ‘sanctified’ – which essentially means to be set apart by God for God – for God’s special possession, use and purpose. (This is clearly a saving action that happens at the point of our conversion, quite distinct from the on-going sanctifying work of the Spirit by which he progressively transforms the believer, and which will be detailed in a later study.)

1Corinthians 6:11 – ‘you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’

2Thesalonians 2:13 – God ‘saved you through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.’

1Peter 1:2 – we ‘have been chosen through the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit ...’

By the Holy Spirit we are justified
In an interesting one-off verse (1Corinthians 6:11) Paul teaches that believers are ‘justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God’. Here we understand that justification by faith, which is obviously grounded in the work of Christ on the cross, is, nevertheless not ours without the operation of the Spirit of God by which we are united to Jesus Christ and his death.

By the Holy Spirit we are ‘washed’
The New Testament also teaches a connection between the Christian being ‘purified’, ‘washed’ or ‘cleansed’ and the Holy Spirit. This cleansing is part of the grace-based salvation obtained in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with our personal spiritual performance.

Titus 3:5, 6 – ‘he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour.’


The operation of the Holy Spirit of God in implementing and affirming our new and secure relationship with God is one that generates strong assurance in the believer. Paul alludes to this confident trust in Romans 5:1-5 where he speaks of the peace with God, the joy even in suffering, and the confident hope which are generated by the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which he has given to us. It is by the operation of the Holy Spirit, and not by any personal merit or subjective experience, that this complete, permanent, and grace-based relationship with God is established and affirmed.

There is an extended study on Assurance of Salvation here.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2024