In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel 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)
This passage is so encrusted with jewels, sometimes it’s hard to read it and understand it for the brilliance. But let’s examine it closely.
First, when we listen to the gospel and simply believe it, we are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise. The word “sealed” comes from the Greek word “sphragizo” and it means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation.” A signet is a ring that was once worn by kings that had a seal set into it, so that they could leave an impression in sealing wax, thereby affixing their official stamp. This means that at the moment we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit stamps a mark on us that tells Satan, “Back off! This one’s Mine.” It is as clear a mark to those in the heavenlies and Satan and his army as a tattoo is in our world.
Imagine. When we are born into this world, we don’t have a seal on us. We are, essentially, “up for grabs.” Everyone is God’s child, because He created us, but we are a free agent until we make a decision. Until that time, we don’t have the mark of “security or preservation.” This security or preservation ensures that our destination is heaven, but I believe it also has to do with our life here on earth. Satan can’t mess with us unless God allows him to. Just as Satan had to go to God to get His permission to mess with Job, so it is with us. When trials come our way, it is only because God has allowed it. With others who are not sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Satan has free access.
Now let’s look at the words, “Holy Spirit of promise.” The word “promise” comes from the Greek word “epaggelia” and is a word used only of the promises of God. Here is what my lexical aid says, “It is primarily a legal term denoting a summons or promise undertaking to do or give something.” I love this. We, as Christians, have a legal and very official “summons” on our heads, a summons to be delivered to our God at the end of our life. There is nothing casual about it.
Then there are the words, “who is given as a pledge of our inheritance.” God does not just tell us that we have an inheritance through Christ, without any proof that it is true. He gives us the Holy Spirit immediately, to show us that He is backing up His promise. A pledge is like earnest money put down by someone who intends to buy a house. They make it clear to the seller that they are serious by putting a significant sum of money down. Here’s what my lexical aid says, “This word is used in the New Testament only in a figurative sense and spoken of the Holy Spirit which God has given to believers in this present life to assure them of their future and eternal inheritance.” The Holy Spirit is a gift that God gives us to assure us that we are His, and we have an eternal inheritance in His kingdom. How beautiful is that?
Let’s look finally at “with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession.” In these words we find that, once again, God has paid a price. The word “redemption” means “ransom, a price paid.” Not only has God put his mark upon us, given us an incredible inheritance, and the gift of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of His promise, but He has also paid a ransom for us, His only Son. God has done it all, we have only to believe.
When we believe in Him, we are stamped, sealed and delivered. And oh yes, blessed beyond imagining.
“…to the praise of His glory.” Oh yes, Lord God. Glory and praise to You.