Summary: Ephesians 1:11-14 shows us several ways the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of Christ's work of salvation to the elect.
We are currently in a series of sermons on Ephesians 1 that I am calling, “God’s Supreme Purpose.” Paul’s emphasis in chapter 1 is not on what we must do for salvation, but rather on what God has done for us in Christ. Ephesians 1:3-14, which is one, long, complex sentence in the original Greek, shows us how each Person of the Trinity is involved in the salvation of God’s people. Our salvation was planned by the Father (1:4-6), purchased by the Son (1:7-12), and sealed by the Holy Spirit (1:13-14).
Previously, we examined the Father’s plan of salvation in Ephesians 1:4-6, and how our salvation was purchased by the Son in Ephesians 1:7-10. Today, we shall examine how our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:11-14.
Let’s read about how our salvation was sealed by the Spirit in Ephesians 1:11-14:
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In 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, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:11-14)
Earlier this year we learned that “The Greatest Show on Earth” is coming to an end. Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment, the producer of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, posted this announcement on the company’s website, “After much evaluation and deliberation, my family and I have made the difficult business decision that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® will hold its final performances in May of this year. Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.” So, after 146 years “The Greatest Show on Earth” will come to an end.
The Apostle Paul set forth in Ephesians 1 the greatest show on earth. Except what the Apostle Paul presented was not entertainment; it was an explanation of the greatest, real-life, eternal, life-changing drama in all history. In Ephesians 1 Paul traced the plan of salvation that began in the mind of God even before the creation of the world and will continue throughout all eternity. Paul’s description is one long, complex sentence in the original Greek as he described the Father electing a vast number of people to salvation, the Son purchasing their salvation by his life, death, burial, and resurrection, and then the Holy Spirit applying benefits of Christ’s work of salvation to the elect.
In Ephesians 1:3-14 the Apostle Paul set forth teaching about God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, election, sin, forgiveness, redemption, the gospel, grace, creation, the consummation of world history, and several other doctrines. In the section we are going to examine today, we will learn about the work of God the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 1:11-14 shows us several ways the Holy Spirit applies the benefits of Christ’s work of salvation to the elect.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Holy Spirit Effectually Calls the Elect (1:11)
2. The Holy Spirit Glorifies Christ (1:12)
3. The Holy Spirit Inspires the Word of God (1:13a)
4. The Holy Spirit Seals God’s People (1:13b-14a)
I. The Holy Spirit Effectually Calls the Elect (1:11)
First, the Holy Spirit effectually calls the elect.
Paul said in verse 11a, “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” The Apostle Paul taught that God the Father works all things according to the counsel of his will. That is, it was God the Father who, before the creation of the world, chose a vast number of people to be saved. These are the ones who have been predestined according to the purpose of God the Father. The Father then sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to live and die to accomplish salvation for the elect. And so, it is in him, that is, it is in Christ, that we have obtained an inheritance. This inheritance is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit, who opens our eyes to see what Jesus has done for us, gives us faith to believe in him, and changes our wills to receive him as our Savior. And this work of the Holy Spirit is known as “effectual calling.”
The Holy Spirit’s work of effectual calling is necessary for the conversion of every believer because, apart from his work of effectual calling, no one would ever turn to Jesus in faith and repentance. As Paul said to the Romans, “No one seeks for God” (Romans 3:11). That is right, isn’t it? How can people, who are by nature spiritually dead (Ephesians 2;1), seek for God? Left to ourselves, we will go along in our happy, lost, godless way, and we will never seek for God.