Positive Assurance

Ellet J. Waggoner

“For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness” (Gal. 5:5).
Don't pass this verse by without reading it more than once, or you will think that it says something that it does not say. And as you read it, think of what you have already learned about the promise of the Spirit.
Don't imagine that this verse teaches that having the Spirit we must wait for righteousness. Not by any means. The Spirit brings righteousness. "The Spirit is life because of righteousness" (Rom. 8:10). "When he comes, He will convince the world of sin and of righteousness" (John 16:8). Whoever receives the Spirit has the conviction of sin and of the righteousness, which the Spirit shows him that he lacks, and which the Spirit alone can bring.
What is the righteousness, which the Spirit brings? It is the righteousness of the law. (Rom. 8:4). This we know, for "we know that the law is spiritual" (Rom. 7:14).
What, then, about the "hope of righteousness" for which we wait through the Spirit? Notice that it does not say that we through the Spirit hope for righteousness. Rather, we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, that is, the hope, which the possession of righteousness brings. Let us briefly go over this matter in detail to refresh our minds:

(1) The Spirit of God is, "the Holy Spirit of promise." The possession of the Spirit ensures to us the promise of God.

(2) That which God has promised to us as children of Abraham is an inheritance. The Holy Spirit is the pledge of this inheritance until the purchased possession is redeemed and bestowed upon us. (Eph. 1:13, 14).

(3) This inheritance that is promised is the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13).

(4) The Spirit brings righteousness. He is Christ's representative, the means by which Christ Himself, who is our righteousness, comes to dwell in our hearts. (John 14:16-18).

(5) Therefore the hope, which the Spirit brings, is the hope of an inheritance in the kingdom of God, the earth made new.

(6) The righteousness, which the Spirit brings to us, is the righteousness of the law of God. (Rom. 8:4; 7:14). By the Spirit it is written in our hearts instead of on tables of stone. (2 Cor. 3:3).

(7) The sum of the whole matter is this: If, instead of thinking ourselves so powerful that we can do the law, we will allow the Holy Spirit to come in that we may be filled with the righteousness of the law, we will have living hope dwelling in us. The hope of the Spirit--the hope of righteousness by faith--has no element of uncertainty in it. It is positive assurance. In nothing else is there any hope. He who does not have "the righteousness which is of God by faith" has no hope whatever. Only Christ in us is "the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).