Summary: 10th in the series dealing with the security of our salvation by His sealing work.
I. Our Wealth and Worth In Christ 1-4
A. Paul blessed God for blessing us with every spiritual blessing 1:3-14
1. Specially Chosen 1:4
2. Purposefully Adopted 1:5-6
3. Freely Redeemed and Forgiven 1:7-8a
4. Spiritually Enlightened 1:8b-10
5. Surely Deemed God’s Inheritance 1:11-12
6. Securely Sealed 1:13-14
In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel (good news) of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
The end game here is that God determined before the heavens and the earth were even created to redeem individuals out of a sea of rebellious creatures to become His dearly loved adopted children, productive citizens of His kingdom, intimate companions. This passage unveils the process by which that end game comes about. So far in this entire passage we have heard nothing of man’s part in this process. The Father and the Son have so far collaborated to bring this about on the basis of their love for us apart from personal effort. As we mentioned before, that is because we had none. We were helpless (impotent) and the situation hopeless (impossible). We were unable to qualify ourselves for heaven.
However, there was something we must do. Here Paul reveals man’s part in the process and finishes with the Holy Spirit’s roll as well. The “you also” inserted by Paul addresses another benefit or blessing.
The Recipients of sealing (Who gets sealed?)
By the use of the personal pronoun “you all”, Paul drives home the personal element.
“Even you Ephesians along with all those who put their faith in Jesus.” No one is too low, missing the right genetics, too insignificant to be called into God’s kingdom. Besides “being made an inheritance” by God, we were also “sealed” by the Holy Spirit. Both relate to becoming God’s special people blessed by reason of our connection with Jesus.
The main concept in this phrase or clause focuses on being sealed with the Holy Spirit.
It is something that God does to all who trust in Him. We know the who, now we need to explore the what, when, how, by whom and why.
The agent of sealing (Who does the sealing?)
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. 2Cor 1:21-22
God does the sealing work. It is something He provides for us in the Holy Spirit.
The Fact of Sealing (What is sealing?)
The seal was used in both Old and New Testament times. A seal was used to indicate the authenticity, ownership, permanence, authority, unchangeableness, or inviolability of something by placing a mark on it.
Signet containing a distinctive mark that represented the individual who owned it. The earliest seals found so far date before 3000 B.C. Seals varied in shapes and sizes. Some were round and were worn around the neck. Others were rings worn on the finger. The mark was made by stamping the seal into soft clay. Many cylinder seals have been found which contain scenes that communicate a message. These were rolled in the clay to form the impression. Tamar asked for Judah’s signet as collateral on a pledge he made (Gen. 38:18). Joseph was given pharaoh’s ring when he was placed in command of the country (Gen. 41:42), symbolizing Joseph’s right to act with the ruler’s authority. Jezebel used Ahab’s seal to sign letters asking that Naboth be tried and stoned to death (1 Kings 21:8).Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
Sealing in the New Testament indicated:
Authentication (good housekeeping seal of approval)
Ownership (mark our stuff or territory, boundary markers)
Various symbols were used to call attention to the reality.
Rings, stamps, carved stone
Marriage covenants were sealed by exchange of rings indicating the commitment to fidelity.
Masters marked slaves with a brand or seal.
Matt 27 uses this word in the sealing of the tomb to indicate the interest of the government in the matter to protect its contents.
In John 6, God the Father set His seal (approval) on His Son Jesus Christ at His baptism.
Rom 15, Paul identified with the Christians in Jerusalem and expressed approval of their walk.
"I have put my seal on this fruit of theirs."
Paul wrote about God’s authenticating seal on His followers.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness." 2 Timothy 2:19
Romans 4 refers to circumcision as a seal or authentication of the faith of Abraham.