Summary: The Holy Spirit in us is a pledge of our rich inheritance in Christ. (#9 in the "Every Spiritual Blessing" series)
I remember as a boy, hearing a story of a man found starved to death in an alley somewhere in New York City. He had been without family, homeless and apparently friendless. When authorities were able to identify the corpse however, it was discovered that the man had unknowingly inherited in excess of one million dollars, which had been put into a trust in a local bank, until he could be found.
Unfortunately, never knowing that the wealth was available to him, the man had wasted away slowly, day by day living off the squalor of the New York streets and alleys until they could sustain him no longer.
The New Testament epistles tell us that through His atoning sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross, Christ has purchased our salvation. He has put to our account, right standing before God and Eternal life in His presence; it is there for us to appropriate to ourselves through faith.
It is sad that there are so many who have entered into eternity, and are doing so even today, who never appropriated that wealth made available to them, because they never heard, or refused to believe the news when it reached them. They continue to scrape by from day to day on the putrid morsels of philosophy, man-made religion and self, until their withered souls give up the futile struggle and enter eternity as they lived...alone.
This does not have to be.
Turn to Ephesians chapter 1 and read with me. (vs 11-14)
There is much to teach from these verses; the total of which could not be done effectively without starting at verse 3.
I want us to focus only on the truth expressed in the last half of vs 13 and through vs 14.
“...having also believed, you (we) 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.”
Paul is telling the Ephesians here, that the Holy Spirit was given to them as a pledge...a promise of a greater inheritance.
Now this does not diminish the work or worth of the Holy Spirit, saying that He is given as a pledge. He is a person, not an “it”; He is God, just as the Father and the Son are God. One God, three persons.
It is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives life to our mortal bodies. Keep your place in Ephesians, but turn for a moment to Romans chapter 8, vss 9-11. (read)
In Ephesians 1, when Paul calls the gift of the Holy Spirit a “pledge”, that does not make the Holy Spirit just a token.
What Paul is telling us, is that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling us; revealing to us the things of Christ; opening our eyes to spiritual truth; sanctifying us day by day, serves as a constant reminder in the face of all the doubt and lies and worldliness of this life, that we have a greater inheritance, which includes all of Heaven.
This is not the only place Paul teaches this. Let me read a couple of verses to you:
I Cor 1:21,22 “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.”
Romans 8:16,17 “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...”
Galatians 4:6,7 “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
So we see that this idea of the Holy Spirit’s presence with and in us being a pledge of the completeness of our inheritance in Christ was an important thing for us to grasp, in the thinking of the Apostle Paul.
I think the reason Paul stressed this truth, was because he was very much aware of the difficulty of keeping our minds focused on the eternal, when the cares of the world so relentlessly press down on us.
I watched a movie years ago about the days of the Civil war, and the emancipation of slaves. One scene stands out in my mind toward the end of that movie. After the emancipation proclamation was issued, a white woman, whose husband had been a slave owner, took one of their slaves, a young black man, out to the front of the plantation house and pointed down a long dirt road lined with eucalyptus trees.
She handed him a piece of paper and explained that the paper was his proof that he had been set free. She then pointed down the road and told him he could leave.