Nugget #7 – “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus Christ had to leave the earth? Have you ever wished that He was still here, walking around, healing, teaching and training? Have you ever wished you could touch Him and eat with Him and talk with Him? I know I have. Some days I just long to sit at Jesus’ feet and have Him teach me about God as only He can. This is especially a longing of mine when I struggle with the meaning of God’s words in certain accounts in the Bible. I want to be able to go to Jesus and say, “Hey … what does this mean?”
Jesus knows what is best for us, which is why He says in John 16:5-8; “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”
Do you see it? If Jesus had not left, the Holy Spirit would not have come. I don’t know why this is, but it is what Jesus said, and we need to trust it. When Jesus was here, it was wonderful. He could be seen and heard, and touched. But the drawback was that He could only be in one place at one time. But when Jesus left, He sent the Holy Spirit, which He had promised, so that now, instead of Jesus being in only one place at a time so that those who wanted to hear or see Him would have to travel half-way across the world, we have the Holy Spirit, who is in every Christian, all the time, every moment of every day.
I would still like to have Jesus here, but I think it is better that we have the Holy Spirit. This passage in John 16 tells us that He is at work in the world convicting the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. And the rest of John 16 tells us that the Spirit teaches Christians and guides us into truth. He can do this everywhere and all the time without growing weary or hungry as Jesus did. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come, and in Acts chapter 2 He came, and has been with us ever since. That is the “promise” Paul refers to in verse 13.
What is this “sealing” that verse 13 talks about? It says we have been “marked with a seal”. In Paul’s day seals were used in at least four ways. First, seals were sometimes put on letters to guarantee that it was genuine and that it was written by who it claimed to be written by. Kings might seal their letters with a signet ring. We do something similar when we get a document notarized.
A seal was also sometimes placed on goods or merchandise that was traveling from one place to another to indicate who they belonged to and where they were going. It indicated ownership. Again, we do this with our possessions today all the time. We write our names in our books, or on our kid’s clothes when they go to camp. Ranchers brand their cattle. They are placing a mark on it to show ownership.
The third way seals were used in Paul’s day was to show something was authentic and approved. Sometimes when we buy clothes, in one of the pockets will be a little piece of paper saying it has been inspected and approved by someone.
The fourth type of seal was for protection or warning. Remember when Jesus was put in the tomb, Pilate told the soldiers to put his personal seal upon the tomb. This was to protect the tomb and warn everyone to stay away and keep out!
Paul says here that God has placed a seal upon us as well. It is to guarantee that we are genuine, it shows ownership, who we belong to, it shows that we are approved, and it provides us with protection or security.
Now, this mark is not visible to you and me. Neither is it revealed by some sort of spiritual manifestations like being slain in the spirit or speaking in tongues or laughing hysterically. The sealing of the Spirit is invisible to us in the physical realm. There are however, some signs that may show a person has the Holy Spirit in them. According to Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. So, if a person has some or all of these, it is a good indication that they also have the Holy Spirit. We cannot see the wind, but we can see what the wind does. It is the same with the Spirit. So, this sealing of the Spirit is an invisible mark.
The Holy Spirit is a seal and a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. As great as the gift of the Holy Spirit is, He is only a deposit, a foretaste, a small glimpse of the beauty, glory, greatness, and majesty that awaits us in eternity with the redemption of our bodies and the life to come.
The stability and power 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. That’s what I want you to feel today as a child of God.
And, once again, just in case we forgot, Paul tells us that this is to the praise of His glory. It is all for God’s glory. Not ours. It is for God’s glory alone that He is giving these wonderful riches to us.
If Ephesians 1:1-14 were the only verses of the Bible we had… I would feel Blessed!
But there’s more…