Summary: Praising the Spirit for His blessings in our lives
Dorothy Sayers tells of a Japanese convert struggling to grasp Christian theology. "Honorable Father, very good," he said to his missionary teacher. "Honorable Son, very good. But Honorable Bird, I do not understand at all" (Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations & Quotes, 437).
Jesus proclaimed, "When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself . . . . He shall glorify me" (John 16:13-14).
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after they ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
The Spirit is described as "that holy Spirit of promise." He is the Holy Spirit of promise in two ways:
(1) He was promised by the Father and the Son;
(2) He is the guarantee that all God’s promises to the believer will be fulfilled.
These promises are described as our "INHERITANCE."
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and JOINT-HEIRS WITH CHRIST" (Romans 8:16-17).
Hebrews 1:2 says that the Father "hath appointed [His Son] heir of ALL things."
This passage tells us that there are two ways the Spirit guarantees that we will one day receive our promised inheritance:
(1) He is our SEAL;
(2) He is our EARNEST.
"Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALED unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30).
"Who hath SEALED us, and given the EARNEST of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Corinthians 1:22).
God "hath given unto us the EARNEST of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 5:5).
As a seal, the Holy Spirit guarantees that WE WILL BE KEPT SAFELY FOR THE INHERITANCE.
As an earnest, the Holy Spirit guarantees that THE INHERITANCE WILL BE KEPT SECURELY FOR US.
Not only is the inheritance kept for us; we are kept for it.
"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU, WHO ARE KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-4).
OUR INHERITANCE IS RESERVED; WE ARE PRESERVED.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
I. AS A SEAL, THE HOLY SPIRIT GUARANTEES THAT WE WILL KEPT SAFELY FOR THE INHERITANCE (v. 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."
The sealing of which Paul speaks here refers to an official mark of identification that was placed on a letter, contract, or other important document. The seal usually was made from hot wax, which was placed on the document and then impressed with a signet ring. The document was thereby officially identified with and under the authority of the person to whom the signet belonged.
"The sealing of the Holy Spirit is the word of God the Father who sets the Holy Spirit as a seal upon each gospel believer to preserve him until the redemption of his body, which completes his salvation" (Floyd H. Barackman, Practical Christian Theology, 213).
"HEARD . . . BELIEVED . . . SEALED."
"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).
A better translation of verse 13 would be, "Upon believing, ye were sealed."
God the Father does the sealing; He seals us in Christ, with the Holy Spirit.
Every believer is given the Holy Spirit the moment he trusts in Christ. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9).
The seal of God’s Spirit in the believer signifies four primary things: AUTHENTICITY, OWNERSHIP, and SECURITY.
A. A Seal Signifies Authenticity.
When King Ahab tried unsuccessfully to get Naboth to sell or trade his vineyard, Queen Jezebel volunteered to get the vineyard her way. "So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal" (v. 8) and sent the letters to various nobles who lived in Naboth’s city, demanding that they arrange false accusations of blasphemy and treason against him. The nobles did as they were instructed, and Naboth was stoned to death because of the false charges. The king then simply confiscated the vineyard he had so strongly coveted (1 Kings 21:6-16). Despite the deceptions contained in the letters Jezebel sent, the letters themselves were authentically from the king, because they were sent with his approval and marked with his seal. The seal was his signature.