Peninsula Community Church
Ephesians – We Are Sealed
August 17, 2014
Ephesians 1:11-14 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 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.
So far in our study we have learned that God has bestowed upon us all of the spiritual blessings we need. This is in keeping with Peter’s words in 2 Peter 1:3 where he states that we have been given all we need for life and godliness. In our previous text we found that God set in motion the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world. God knew that man would need a Savior and He set in motion His plan long before we existed or in fact before the world existed. In His plan, we were predestined to be children of God by way of Christ’s work of adoption satisfied by His sacrifice on the cross. Through the cross, He made a way for us. Because of the cross, Christ secured both our redemption and our forgiveness. On the cross, Christ paid the ransom payment for our freedom and thus we are released from all past sin.
While we spoke about forgiveness a couple of weeks ago, it is to be noted that the spiritual blessing of forgiveness is not some new idea suddenly revealed in the New Testament but the act of forgiveness was revealed throughout the Old Testament. One of the most poignant examples of this is the story of David as captured in David’s own writings of Psalm 51. David’s prayer was “blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse my soul from sin.” David had a grievous sin that had to be spoken to by Nathan. Once he encountered this directness from Nathan, David immediately responded and asked God for restoration and forgiveness.
Today, we want to look at another blessing bestowed upon us by God. The inheritance promised to us by God has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Paul states that our redemption has been sealed by the Holy Spirit which is the guarantee of future blessing. In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Paul states, And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. The Scripture before us states that we have obtained an inheritance and that inheritance has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. Some theologians would also say that this passage could carry the meaning that we are His inheritance and therefore we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit.
This word sealed in the Greek is an interesting word. The seal in Biblical times served as a legal protection and guarantee in many ways especially in relationship to one’s property. Any object suitable for sealing could be marked as the property of the owner. The idea of sealing was a part of everyday life. Everything in one’s house was marked with a seal to assert the true owners identity. The marking of slaves by notching, slitting, or branding was a common practice in those days.
The seal belonged to its owner and its owner alone. No one else had the right to it. The seal not only marked one’s property but it was also a proof of one’s identity. The seal was a means of accreditation as well. Measures and weights were sealed to show that they were accurate and correct. And finally, to ensure the identity of transferred prisoners their fetters were sealed. In Greek times it is important to note that the holder of the seal is the holder of power and has his place in the a duly constituted order.
Think about what that means for us in terms of our being sealed by the Holy Spirit. We have been possessed by God. He redeemed us. He forgave us. And then He put his mark upon us to establish His ownership of our life. The Holy Spirit as the pledge of one’s inheritance is now the seal with which the believer is marked, appointed, and kept for redemption.
We are sealed by way of a guarantee. The seal of the Holy Spirit guarantees us access to God, the Father, and our eternal salvation now and into the future. By being sealed with the Holy Spirit, we are guaranteed access to God the Father, and we are guaranteed eternal salvation. What we experience here on this earth in terms of the blessing of God is just a down payment for what is yet to come. It is noteworthy that the idea of a guarantee is that it implies an act that engages something bigger. We put a deposit on a new house, a new car and so forth.
This guarantee has a now and a yet to come aspect to it. We enjoy the blessings of God now but there is more to come. The Bible says that eye has not seen what is in store for us. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Corinthians 2:9). We now look through a glass dimly but then we shall see clearly. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12). The point made is that our inheritance is beyond description and it is beyond comparison.
The down payment we receive now is only temporary compared to the eternalness of heaven’s reward. Think about here on earth we receive a healing and yet we will still die one day unless Christ returns. But in heaven, there is no sickness and there is no death. Our healing here is but a down payment on future blessing. Here on earth God dries the tears of the one in sorrow. But in heaven there will be no more tears. He will forever dry up the tears of sorrow. We could continue but I think you understand the point I am making.
At the point of salvation the work of the Holy Spirit is initiated in our lives. The fact is we are filled with the Spirit at Salvation. For that reason, we must live our lives as one filled with the spirit. Because we are sealed, we are blessed to be able take advantage of the Holy Spirit’s work in us and for us. This idea of the work of the Spirit is presented in the writings of John. Let us look at these things together.
The Holy Spirit is a Helper to guide our steps. As a helper He does two things. First, He teaches us all things and secondly, He brings to remembrance the things we have learned. We find this in John 14:25-26. Look at what Jesus says. “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit bears witness of the Son who bears witness to the Father. But, because of being sealed by the Holy Spirit we will bear witness of Christ and the Father. John 15:26-27 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Thirdly, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. This is a huge benefit because we don’t have to struggle to cause people to turn to Christ. It is the Holy Spirit’s role and task to convict. We simply speak the truth. Listen to John 16:4-15“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going? ’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth:it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Fourth, the Holy Spirit leads us to truth. It is of note that the Holy Spirit not only teaches all things but He always leads us to truth. It is the Holy Spirit that assisted in the writing of Scripture so he is most directly available to teach the truth of the gospel. Jesus had this say, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
I don’t know what kind of inheritance you have here on earth but God’s inheritance is worth more than all of the riches of earth. It is emotion, mental and spiritual. We get to live with God forever. We live whole and complete. We will live without the carnal nature knocking at our door. We will live without sorrow and pain. It’s worth it all. It’s worth the momentary trails we face here. What is it going to look like. I don’t know for sure but I know this it will be bigger, better and more exciting than anything we have experienced on this earth. How is this inheritance guaranteed? It is guaranteed through the acceptance of Christ into our hearts. In so doing we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. To God be the Glory.
Copyright © All rights reserved Robert W. Odom 2014