Our Seal and Guarantee

Intro: Two views of the Seal and guarantee of the Holy Spirit.

Read Eph. 1:4-12 – Paul is praising God for the “spiritual riches” we enjoy as Christians. These blessings involve the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.

Blessings involving the Father:

“Chosen by God” – Ep1:4- 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

“Predestined by God”, to receive the adoption as sons of God – Eph. 1:5-6 – 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

“Accepted by God”, that is, to be highly favored by Him Eph. 1:6 – 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Blessings involving the Son:

“God has redeemed us” through the precious blood of His Son . – Ephesians 1:77 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

“God has forgiven us” of our sins by virtue of His grace – Ephesians 1:7-87 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

“God has revealed His Will to us” pertaining to His plan to gather into one all things in Christ. Ephesians 1:9-109 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him.

“God has given us an inheritance” as part of His predetermined plan – Ephesians 1:11-1211 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

I want to particularly focus on Verses 11-14. Paul closes out this “doxology”, by pointing out blessings we have in Christ that relate in particular to the blessings of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:11-1411 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

The we and us of Ephesians – Jew and Gentile Christians. – O.C. Birdwell’s position in this chapter, discusses two groups. They are the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians. He refers to the first group with the words “we” and “us,” and to the latter with “ye” and “you.” This is clearly shown in verses 12 and 13.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

“We who had before hoped in Christ” are the Jews. They had received the Old Testament promise of a Messiah; walked with him in Galilee; and had been in the kingdom since the Pentecost following the resurrection.

• The Gentile Christians are identified and separated (v. 13) from the Jews by the statement “in whom you also.” The Gentiles also received what the Jews had received. But it came a few years later. They heard, believed, and received the Holy Spirit of promise. This was at the house of Cornelius as recorded in Acts chapter ten. Read carefully the last few verses of Acts ten. There is a clear reference by Paul in Ephesians 1:13 to what happened in Acts ten at the house of Cornelius. “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them that heard the word. And they of the circumcision that believed were amazed, as many as came with Peter because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 10:44,45). Peter was speaking (see the preceding verses in Acts 10) about Jesus as the anointed of God. The Gentiles heard and were obviously believers. The Holy Spirit was poured out on them. The Jews had received a like outpouring on Pentecost.

• Now, let us consider the statement, “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is an earnest of our inheritance.” We have already shown that the “you also” of verse 13 are the Gentiles (now Christians) in contrast to the “we” (Jews) in verse 12. Therefore, the statement “ye were sealed” points again to the Gentiles. The “seal” is a stamp or mark.

• The Gentiles were marked and authenticated as God’s heritage (See Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. 4, p. 519).

• Concerning the statement, “with the Holy Spirit of promise,” Robertson has this to say: “Here ‘of promise’ is added to the Holy Spirit to show that Gentiles are also included in God’s promise of salvation.” This promise was the promise of the kingdom. The Holy Spirit came on the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius in keeping with God’s promise. And that the coming of the Holy Spirit on that occasion was the pledge or earnest of the inheritance of the Gentiles. this was a demonstration by the Father to the Gentiles as well as the Jews that God had not overlooked them in redemption.

• Presently, therefore, Jews and Gentiles have already received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a pledge or earnest from the Father that they have an inheritance. The Jews received it at Pentecost; the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius.

I. The Holy Spirit is Our Seal (vs. 13)

A. Defining the word “Seal” – The word is sphragizo {sfrag-id’-zo}, which means “to set a seal upon, mark with a seal, to seal”

1. A “seal” was used for various reasons, including:

a. To guarantee the genuine character of a document (Esther 3:1212 Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and a decree was written according to all that Haman commanded — to the king’s satraps, to the governors who were over each province, to the officials of all people, to every province according to its script, and to every people in their language. In the name of King Ahasuerus it was written, and sealed with the king’s signet ring. or, figuratively, of a person1 Corinthians 9:22 If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

b. To mark ownership (Song of Solomon 8:6)

c. To protect against tampering or harm to guarantee the outcome of a transaction. (Mt 27:66; Rev 5:1)

B. How is the Holy Spirit Our Seal? It could be in every sense of the word.

1. Romans 8:1616 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, The Spirit Himself “bears witness” that we are children of God (i.e., guarantees our genuine character)

2. Romans 8:99 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. The indwelling Holy Spirit is considered evidence that we are truly Christ’s (i.e., a mark of ownership, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

3. Romans 8:13-1413 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. It is by the Spirit of God that we “put to death the deeds of the body” so we can live (i.e., to some degree helping to protect against tampering or harm. see also Ephesians 3:1616 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.

4. However, the context of Ephesians makes me think that “proof ofownership” is what Paul had in mind. He later says that we were sealed by the Spirit “for the day of redemption”–Eph. 4:30. The Holy Spirit is evidence that we belong to God, and thus we are those whom the Lord will ultimately redeem.

C. When are we sealed with the Holy Spirit? Notice that the order of events in vs. 13 indicates what happens before one is sealed: Eph 1:13 – 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

1. Their sealing followed both hearing and believing. John 7:37-39On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

2. One receives the Spirit of God when he becomes a child of God – Galatians 4:6-7 – 6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Thus it is only when we obey the gospel of Jesus Christ that we are”sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise“.

• Mark Copeland writes… “This “seal” as a “mark of ownership” is something that might be of moresignificance to God (and to Satan, who would try to steal what belongs to God) than it does to us, but we can take comfort in knowing that God considers us His property, and that the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is to be evidence of such ownership.”

II. The Holy Spirit is Our Guarantee (vs. 14) – 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

A. Defining Guarantee: (“earnest” KJV)… The word is arrabon {ar-hrab-ohn’} It is used to refer to “money which in purchases is given as a pledge or downpayment that the full amount will subsequently be paid”

1. In the LXX (Septuagint Version of the OT), the word is translated “pledge” three times in Gen. 38:17-20

B. A “Guarantee of our inheritance”… God has given the Holy Spirit in our hearts as a “deposit” or down payment toward the further blessings He has promised to His children.

2 Corinthians 1:2222 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (same word – arrabon)

2 Corinthians 5:1-5 1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

1. The blessing of the Holy Spirit working in our lives is only a foretaste of the glory that will one day be ours. Romans 15:13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2. The fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5 provides a preview of the transformation that will be consummated when we see Jesus face to face.

3. “until the redemption of the purchased possession.” While in one sense we have been redeemed (Ep 1:7) through the blood of Christ, in another sense God has yet to redeem those who are truly His (Ephesians 4:30 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption)

• Hendriksen comments: “At the moment when believers receive THEIR full inheritance, which includes a glorious resurrection body (4:30), the redemption of GOD’S own possession takes place, that is, the full release to him of that which is his by virtue of the fact that he both made it and bought it.”

Conclusion: So we have the Holy Spirit as a “seal” and a “guarantee”. What should our reaction be?

• For the third time (1:6, 12, 14), Paul says these blessings are “to the praise of His glory”! Thus our reaction should be the same as Paul as stated at the beginning of this section…“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ”1:3 We should praise God for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Romans 12:1-2“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”