“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)
There was a time when letters and packages of value were sealed with wax and an official stamp was pressed into the hot wax. The seal was a promise of authenticity. These verses reveal to us the promise given, and great blessing God has provided is sealed by God’s Holy Spirit. When by faith we believe we receive the gift of salvation offered us by Jesus Christ and we become Children of God. We are permanently adopted as sons and daughters by our heavenly Father. In this action, we the Holy Spirit of God becomes our promise of eternal life. The Holy Spirit is given to us as a helper and a guarantor of our inheritance. It is as if we already have it yet we will fully acquire and possesses it when our life on earth comes to its appointed end. Then we will be present with Jesus in Heaven. We remind ourselves frequently that every promise God has made will be kept and every blessing and gift promised to us will be ours in full. We can trust this because the Holy Spirit has secured it for us and guaranteed that it is, and it will be.
“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:13–14.(NASB)
What does a pledge mean these days? A pledge might mean any of several things anymore but once it was a solemn promise and a large part of the payment, given in advance as a security that the whole promise will be paid afterwards. In the context of today’s verses; this pledge is made when God’s own Spirit comes to indwell in us and preserves our eternal salvation. Paul refers to an official mark of identification placed on a contract, or other document. Thereby placing that document officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. Four primary truths are signified by the seal: 1) security; 2) authenticity; 3) ownership; and 4) authority. The Holy Spirit is given to us by God as His pledge of our future inheritance in glory. Yes, we fail to comprehend fully how God both choses us in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) but seals us with his Spirit after we listen to and believe the message of salvation. It matters not that we do not fully understand but it matters much that we believe His words in Scripture. Believe both, God will sort it out.
“…strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” – Colossians 1:11-12 (NASB)
Again we look at this passage from the letter Paul the Apostle wrote to the church in Colossae. He cared much for the people in all the churches he had a part in establishing. Praying for them every day, he sought God’s very best for them and for them to recognize the promises and blessings they received. These are promises for us as well. In our passage today is a third factor, spiritual strength, that results from knowing God’s will and pleasing Him. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might, a promise for overcoming uses three words for strength: “being strengthened” ⸺enable; make strong;¹ “power” ⸺be able, can;² and “might” ⸺power that overcomes resistance;³ This God-given strength produces great endurance and patience. This endurance or perseverance (James 1:3), we saw characterized by Job (James 5:11). To this endurance Paul added “patience,” a word generally associated with gentleness and calmness. When patience-producing power is manifested it is often accompanied with a joyful spirit of thanksgiving to the Father from whom comes every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). Our promise is we are made qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
God never promises the absence of distress or a journey without challenges to meet and obstacles to overcome. What He promises is His presence as the Holy Spirit. The presence of God’s Spirit assures us that we have Him and in Him, is God being our paraclete*, alongside as our guide and comforter. We also have the guarantee that our inheritance is reserved for us and kept for us we cannot and will not lose it. There is no one who can barge into our lives and overwhelm us with anything that will cause our separation from God. Like a ship or boat, small or massive, The Holy Spirit invisibly, yet indispensably, is the rudder for the ship of our soul. He keeps us from crashing on the rocks, keeps us afloat and going the right direction. The Holy Spirit is also our pilot. We are not alone on our journey. We’re sealed in Christ. Once upon a time, red wax with an identifying stamp in the wax was used seal the ownership of a letter. Sealing declares ownership and secures contents. It is the Holy Spirit as God’s seal that protects us. His word of promise is our seal.
*The Holy Spirit as Paraclete: The term Paraclete (παράκλητος, paraklētos) appears four times in John’s Gospel in reference to the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 and once in 1 John 2:1 in reference to Jesus. English bibles translate the Greek word as Helper, Advocate, Comforter, Counselor.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV)
These days when a house is bought and ownership changes, there is generally first an amount of money put into and account to guarantee the earnestness of the buyer. Remember when we first learned the doctrines of grace? At first we did not know much about saving grace. We did not know whether God had converted us, or we had converted ourselves. As we read and listened to Bible teaching, we began at once to see how God the Father planned, and God the Son carried out the plan, and God the Holy Spirit made the plan effective. We learned truths which we might have believed before, but which we could not clearly and fully understand. The joy of gaining the knowledge of God’s truth was exceeding great. Having got a hold once and for all of the truth of God in that moment His Holy Spirit increased our knowledge, and opened the eyes of our understanding, we had the earnest, the guarantee, that we were promised. One day shall see, not through a glass darkly, but face to face, and then we shall know the whole truth, even as we are known now by God.