The ministry of the Holy Spirit is a very confusing topic for many people; but scripture has clearly shown us His person-hood, power, and promise. Join Pastor Ray for an encouraging word from Ephesians as we learn about the “promise of the Spirit” in the life of a believer.
1.13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest (pledge, down payment, foretaste) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
- In verses 4-6, we looked at the work of God The Father in eternity past in planning the church.
- In verses 7-12, we looked at the redeeming of the church by the shedding of the blood of The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross in human history past.
- Today we will look at the significance of the work of the Holy Spirit in sealing the believer and placing them into the body of Christ.
The Scriptures speak of the promise of The Holy Spirit.
- Joel 2:28,29 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (Quoted by Peter on the Day of Pentecost)
Jesus Christ echoed this promise of The Spirit to His disciples
- Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry (stay) ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high (The Holy Spirit endues us with power from above).
- Acts 1:4,5 And being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
Jesus spoke of The Person and work of The Holy Spirit in the gospel of John.
- John 7:37-39 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink (please note that the process or order is that you come to Jesus first and then you drink of The Spirit). He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.
- John 14:16,17 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (The Holy Spirit is another (one of the same kind, i.e. equal with Jesus) Comforter, Who will dwell in us forever).
In Whom (Jesus Christ) ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
- This verse is one of the best explanations of how a person is saved, and when they are baptized and sealed into the body of Christ that I know of in the Word of God.
- So, when is it that we are saved, baptized and sealed into the body of Christ? After we hear the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. After we believe in Jesus Christ. Paul asked in his epistle to the Romans, How can they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? Romans 10.14
- According to Romans 10:17, faith (that is saving faith) comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
- Peter says that we are born again (saved) this way:
- Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
- This is important beloved. Our salvation rests upon the very word of Almighty God. The gospel of Jesus Christ is an actual declaration from The Judge of the universe that the debt of our sin has been paid in full by His Son, and when we by grace alone through faith alone trust in Him, we are saved.
- The gospel of your salvation. This gospel is personal. 2 Timothy 1.12 I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.
- Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:23).
- This “pattern” is exactly what we see happening all throughout the book of Acts whether it be one on one evangelism, or sharing the gospel with a household or a multitude like on the Day of Pentecost.
- The Word of God is proclaimed.
- The Spirit of God (like a sword on the Day of Pentecost) then convicts (pricks) us of sin, righteousness and judgment. (John 16.8-11)
- After we “hear” in our hearts the truth about our lost condition and we now “see” with our hearts the need to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation we then call upon His Name and come to Him as Lord. For whosoever shall call upon The Name of The Lord shall be saved.
- It is after we believe and trust in Christ that we are saved, baptized into the body of Christ and sealed forever with the Holy Spirit of promise.
The truth of the gospel of salvation?
This is what we have learned thus far in Ephesians 1:
- He has chosen us.
- He has predestined us for adoption into His family.
- He has accepted us in The Beloved.
- He has redeemed us with the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
- He has forgiven our sins.
- His grace has abounded toward us.
- He has made known to us the mystery of His will.
- He has given us an inheritance.
- This is all a part of this glorious gospel of salvation.
What is the biblical significance of the sealing and earnest of The Holy Spirit?
The sealing of The Holy Spirit is the earnest (pledge, down payment, foretaste) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
The significance of the sealing of The Holy Spirit can be understood by how the term was used in the culture of that day.
- Ephesus was one of the world trade centers of that day. The goods from the East would come into Ephesus to be carried from there by sea to Rome and the other capitals of Europe.
- These merchants would buy their goods there, and then ship them from Ephesus to the Western world.
- When they would purchase the goods, they would pack them for shipment. Then they would then put their seal of ownership on the merchandise that was to be sent to the Roman port of Puteoli where the merchandise would be identified and claimed by the servants of the merchant.
- The seal was the sign of ownership. The seal meant that these goods belonged to the owner whose seal is affixed to them. Thus, the significance of seal of The Holy Spirit beloved is that it is God’s mark of ownership on you.
- 2 Cor 1.22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
- Romans 8.16 The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.
- Though the mark of this seal is unseen by the naked eye, the manifestation of it is unmistakable. Because God has done something very real on the inside, something very real is going to be manifested on the outside. Something very real occurs. Your life is now God centered, Christ exalting and Spirit filled.
- Your convictions and purpose in life is clear-cut. Your life is like a light shining in a dark place. People know who you are and Who live for.
- John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (The Holy Spirit is a gift from The Father, as well as from Jesus. He is The Spirit of truth Who testifies of Jesus)
- John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth. He brings glory to Jesus Christ)
- Gal 5.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (The Spirit of God will manifest His fruit in our lives.)
The earnest of The Spirit is the promise that there is more to come! The earnest or sealing of the Holy Spirit is also a foretaste of heaven. It is the promise that the best is yet to come. It’s as if God dropped a million dollars into our spiritual bank account and says, “Though you can’t spend it all now…you can enjoy the interest!”
- Some commentators have suggested that the Greek word for earnest can also be used to indicate an engagement ring. There is the idea of personal intimacy between the bridegroom and the bride. As Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the bride, so the Holy Spirit is His engagement ring that is given to us in anticipation of the wedding supper of The Lamb. (Rev. 19:7, 8).
- It is spoken of the bride in the Song of Solomon that 4.12 A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
The purchased possession. This indwelling The Spirit affirms that we are a part of the purchased possession. God declares His intention of completing our redemption by giving the Holy Spirit to us. Our full redemption will not be complete until we are freed from our bodies.
Paul wrote to the Romans how that the whole creation was groaning and travailing together as they waited for the manifestation of the Sons of God, to wit, the redemption of our bodies. (Rom. 8:23b; Phil. 3:20-21)
- In Ephesians 4:30 we are told, And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
- This promise of complete redemption is also understood in light of the commercial practices of the day. When the merchandise was bought in Ephesus and sealed by the owner, it was then placed on the ship and carried to Rome. When it arrived in port and identified by the seal, it was then claimed by the owner, who redeemed that which was His.
- We have been sealed by God’s mark of ownership, and are presently on the journey to the homeport. When (not if) we arrive in glory, He will claim us as His for He purchased us; it is then that our redemption will be complete.
Four truths regarding the sealing of The Spirit in the life of the believer.
Sign of security. The seal used by princes and kings and nobles in the time of the Bible was a sign of security. We read in Daniel 6:17, And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
- In other words, when you walked up to that stone and you saw the king’s seal in the wax or whatever he used on that stone, nobody opened that den. Why? Because the king, the highest authority in the land, had sealed it. It was secure; it was not to be opened. The signet and the seal was the mark of the king.
- Only someone higher than the king could break that seal. That was the sign of security.
In Matthew 27:66, we read about the sealing of Jesus into His tomb. When they buried Jesus Christ in the tomb, they rolled the stone across and what did they do? They sealed it with a seal of Rome, which was to say – No power can dare to open the seal unless it is a power greater than Rome. You know what happened? A power greater than Rome broke the seal. But it was the sign of security.
Thus, the meaning of the Seal is that you are eternally secure in Christ.
- I do not believe that a born again, sealed and Spirit filled believer can ever lose his or her salvation, because the seal of The Spirit of God upon our souls is an indelible mark that reads…“child of God!” When you seal a package, the Seal guarantees that the product inside is genuine!
- In light of the inability of an inferior power to break through the seal, it is my personal conviction that because of the sealing of The Holy Spirit, it is impossible for a born again, Spirit filled Christian to be demon possessed. Harassed b h the enemy? Yes. Oppressed by the enemy? Yes. Attacked by the enemy? Yes. Possessed? No. What part hath Christ with Belial?
Sign of authenticity. In I Kings 21, there is the story of King Ahab coveting the vineyard of a man by the name of Naboth. Long story short, Naboth refused to surrender his family plot of land, so Ahab sulks in front of his wife Jezebel who takes matters into her hands. So Jezebel sets out to get this vineyard. How does she do it? She wrote an official letter; This vineyard now belongs to the king. And once she signed that letter and stamped it with the king’s seal, the letter was a mark of authenticity. This was a legitimate letter from the king. The seal was the royal signature that authenticated the letter. The seal of The Spirit indicates that our redemption is authentic.
Sign of a finished transaction. In Jeremiah 32, we read the account of God telling Jeremiah to go out and but a parcel of land. And there in verses 10-14, when he completed the purchase, the Bible says that he sealed the transaction. The seal of The Spirit is a sign of a finished transaction.
Sign of protection from the wrath of God. In Ezekiel 9.4-6 and Revelation 7, we see the mark or seal of God upon the foreheads of His servants protected them from the coming wrath. Thus, the seal of The Spirit is a sign that we have been delivered from the wrath of God.
- So the sealing of The Holy Spirit is a sign of security, it is a sign of authenticity, it is a sign of a finished transaction and it is a sign that we have been delivered from the wrath to come.
This sealing is a source of great security and confidence in a world where anything and everything else is subject to change. The stability and power in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul came from one great discovery: that God’s desire for His people is that we feel secure in His love and in His power, even if everything else in the world is uncertain.
- If you are looking for your ultimate security in health, then you do not understand the gospel correctly. If you looking for your ultimate security in your family or job or money or education, then you do not understand the gospel correctly.
- It is only the power and reality of the gospel message that can provide ultimate security. It is only the gospel of Jesus Christ that drives us relentlessly and lovingly back to the One and only eternal and unshakable foundation for security—The Lord Jesus Christ.
All of the redemption truths that we have looked into in verses 3-14 is to “the praise of His glory.”
- This is now the third doxology in this chapter. As we have seen, Paul gives a doxology after he considers the work of each member of the Trinity. Here it is to the praise of the glory of God that the Holy Spirit regenerates us, becomes our refuge and seal, and gives us reality.
- While the Word of God is the ground of our faith, and faith is the receptive act by which we embrace our salvation, back of all that, there is a personal, divine Agent; The Holy Spirit of promise.
- Every blessing for us in Christ, planned by the Father and sealed by the Spirit, is meant to make much of our triune God.
- The grace of God not only humbles you, it also glorifies the Author and Finisher of that grace.
Let me close with this word to anyone who has not placed all of their faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of their eternal soul. Thus, they lack the witness and assurance of The Holy Spirit in their lives.
The gospel must not only be proclaimed, it must not only be heard, it must be believed, if we are to be saved.
- Some people hear the gospel proclaimed and their response is ‘Well, that’s all very nice, but it’s not for me.’
- Well, that’s true for you, but there’s also something that’s different that’s true for me, because all roads lead up the mountain.’
- Other people are indifferent to the gospel. Some people are actually angered by the gospel, offended by the gospel.
- But nobody is neutral to the gospel!
- There’s only one saving response to the gospel, and that is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as He is offered in the gospel as the only way of salvation, as the One Who purchases for us the forgiveness of sins, Who cleanses us, Who gives us the blessings of being adopted into God’s family and eternal life forevermore.