Summary: This is a study on Ephesians that is in a series and is in a commentary format for Bible Study.
A Divine Nature Protected by His Spirit. (Vv. 13-14)
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, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Again, we recognize the formula for one’s conversion being given in verse number 13. There is the call of the Gospel, “the gospel of your salvation”. Then there is the believing of the truth, “in whom also after that ye believed”, to be followed by the sanctification of the Spirit: “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. Just as it was within the purposes of God to bring all into one body, it began with the Jew and here the same privilege is extended to the Gentile as well. In this chapter, we are introduced to the work of the Trinity. We have already seen the part that the Father has in the great work of redemption. Remember in verse three and four, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph 1:3-4). These verses remind us of the Father’s work and verse number five shows us the work of the Son: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Eph 1:5). We are now going to observe the way that the Holy Spirit works in regards to redemption.
The Holy Spirit provides protection. (Vv. 13a)
The third ingredient to one’s conversion is the work that is done by the Holy Spirit. We have referred to this work as 2 Thessalonians does as being the sanctification of the Spirit. Salvation involves the blending of the supernatural which involves God and also the human which involves man. Man can be involved as a witness as Paul recognized when he said:
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9). As much as man is involved, much more is God. When we are told that it was God that “giveth the increase”, this means that there is a part that only He can do. This is the work of the Holy Spirit that has been described in different ways, such as: “the new birth”, “Sanctification of the Spirit”, “the indwelling of the Spirit” and “conversion”. In each of these cases, the Holy Spirit is involved. The miraculous part of conversion requires the Holy Spirit to do His work; otherwise there will be no conversion.
The only way that the eternal soul can find protection and escape the horrors of hell is by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and being sanctified by the Spirit and upon one’s conversion, that person is also sealed or protected against ever being lost again.
The Holy Spirit promises protection. (Vv. 13b-14)
Most have heard the expression, “Signed, sealed and delivered”. The Seal was the Holy Spirit with promise. It is commonly understood even from ancient times that there are several common uses for a seal. There are several uses for a seal:
1. To authenticate or confirm as genuine and true.
2. To mark as one’s property.
3. To make secure.
As it involves salvation and how the Spirit seals us, these three mentioned things above apply. The work of grace is certainly a work that is genuine. In Christ Jesus, our salvation is real. The Holy Spirit as He seals us confirms it as true. Then we are identified by carrying the mark. Are you marked by Him? When you are marked you are also given the assurance by the earnest “until the redemption of the purchased possession” takes place. The ancient commentator, John Gill wrote this about the sealing of the Holy Spirit: “…the Spirit of God continues still as a sealer of his people, and as an earnest and pledge of their inheritance until the day of redemption; but it is to be understood of the confirming, certifying, and assuring the saints, as to their interest in the favour of God, and in the blessings of grace, of every kind, and their right and title to the heavenly glory; See Gill on "2Co 1:22", and the seal of these things is not circumcision, nor baptism, nor the Lord’s supper, nor even the graces of the Spirit; but the Spirit himself, who witnesses to the spirits of believers the truth of these things, and that as a "spirit of promise": so called, both because he is the Spirit promised, as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, whom the Father and Christ had promised, and who was sent by them; and because he usually seals, or certifies believers of the truth of the above things, by opening and applying a word of promise to them: and which he does also, as the "Holy" Spirit; for this sealing work of his leaves a greater impress of holiness upon the soul, and engages more to acts of holiness; wherefore the doctrine of assurance is no licentious doctrine; no persons are so holy as those who are truly possessed of that grace; and as for such who pretend unto it, and live in sin, it is a certain thing that they in reality know nothing of it.” (Gill)