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Paul describes believers as sealed with the Holy Spirit. A seal fulfills a past promise and pledges a future inheritance. A king’s seal had a three-fold purpose: 1) to guarantee authenticity; 2) to name the rightful owner; and 3) to protect the item sealed from being tampered with or harmed.
- The Holy Spirit is God’s agent of change in this world.
- Broadly speaking his work can be categorized as: universal and individual.
- The universal work of the Spirit is the work what the Holy Spirit does in all believers to give us saving faith.
- The individual works of the Spirit are the gifts and opportunities to serve the kingdom of God that the Spirit gives one believer but not another.
- Revelation is an individual work of the Spirit given to God’s chosen messengers, such that they can God’s word to the rest of us.
- Understanding is the receptivity to embrace and believe God’s message as wisdom, which is a universal work given to all believers.
- Most of the discussion of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament concerns the individual work of the Spirit empowering particular individuals as judges or kings to protect, defend and guide Israel, or as prophets so that they can proclaim God’s word to His people.
- Both Testaments speak of the need for God to transform believers through the work of the Holy Spirit.
In Ephesians 1, Paul talks about the many great blessing we believers have in Christ. One of them is being sealed with the Spirit.
1:13In 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, 14who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. – Ephesians 1:13-14
- When we hear the gospel and believe it, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
- This “sealing” is the fulfillment of past promises (e.g. Numbers 11:29; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Joel 2:28-29).
- This “sealing” is also a pledge of a future inheritance.
- In many cultures, kings and nobles used seals to guarantee their signatures.
- This seal had a three-fold purpose: 1) to guarantee the authenticity of the documents; 2) to name their rightful owner; and 3) to protect them from being tampered with or harmed.
- For example: Esther 8:8.
- A “guarantee” or pledge is a down payment; It is something I give you up front to show that I fully intend to follow through on my commitment to pay in full.
- Paul describes the Holy Spirit as the down payment which guarantees our future inheritance.
1:15For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. – Ephesians 1:13-23
- Paul often starts his letters with a prayer of gratitude for the work God has done in the lives of his readers.
- Very often after expressing his gratitude, he then explains what he is praying that God will do for his readers in the future, as he does here in Ephesians.
- Paul wants God to give them a Spirit wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.
- Wisdom is seeing truth and applying it to your life. It is the skill to live life well.
- When the Bible talks about my heart, it’s a metaphor for the inner person, the place you find my will, my desires, my hopes, my thoughts, and that place where my worldview rests.
- Paul prays that whatever they see with their physical eyes, their inner “eyes” would recognize what’s truly valuable and wise such that they would understand their hope, their inheritance and the greatness of His power to bring it about.
- Hope is a confident, eager expectation that something will happen. It is not wishful thinking.
- Paul is praying that their innermost being would be captured by the reality of the hope of their inheritance such that it changes the way they live their daily lives.
- Paul prays that the Holy Spirit would bring home to their hearts now that this importance and significance of their inheritance.
Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is ensuring that we receive our inheritance. He is the down payment and the guarantee that our inheritance is secure.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Next: 08 Holy Spirit Pledge and Seal: Romans 5:1-5
Previous: 06 Holy Spirit in the Old Testament: A New Heart
Series: Who is the Holy Spirit?
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