THE PLAN AND WORK OF THE TRIUNE GOD
The Spirit’s part in the realization of God’s eternal purpose is now brought to our attention in Ephesians 1:13 and 14, and we find that the Father’s choice, Ephesians 1:4 realized in Christ, Ephesians 1:7, is now sealed with the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in wham also after that ye believed, (pisteusantes-believing), 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. Ephesians 1:13 and 14.
THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION
When it comes to the theme of salvation, the Bible is the most dogmatic book in the universe: its terms are unmistakable; and it is readily seen that it is not planned after the wisdom of man. Hear its emphatic declaration, “all have sinned”, Romans 3:23; all are “dead in trespasses and sins”, Ephesians 2:1; and “there is no difference”, Romans 3:22. Man is dead in sin. The life cord has been severed. What he needs is not a reformation, but a quickening from within, a spiritual resurrection. If man were not dead, he would need cultivation not salvation. But God’s Word is plain. We have no goodness or life in us to be developed; but sin and death from which to be saved. There is none good but God. There is none that giveth life but God. This life has been brought to light in the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. II Timothy 1:9 and Romans 8:2. Isaiah 64:6 tells us that all our righteousness is as filthy rags; therefore if any man is saved and made righteous, all the credit and glory must and should go to God. All boasting is in the finished work of the Cross. Ephesians 2:9, also makes it plain, that salvation is not of works, lest any man should boast. And I Corinthians 1:29 states that no flesh shall glory in His presence. There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12. This is the name of Jesus Christ. “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of .truth, the gospel of your salvation.” Ephesians 1:13.
THE SEALING WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Ephesians 1:13b . . . in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise”.
The language that relates to the sinner’s salvation is not only definite when the conditions for such salvation are given to man; but also when it refers to God’s own work of security to those who believe. Notice the definite steps given in this verse, “ye heard”, “ye believed”, “ye. were sealed”. In John 6:27, “sealing” is attributed to the Father, “Him (Jesus Christ) hath God the Father sealed”. In this passage we have the word that the Father seals the ‘Son’. In Ephesians 1:13 the Father seals the ‘sons’. Here again we see the Trinity in operation; the Father sealing the believer in Christ with the Holy Spirit. Yes, the Spirit answers to the blood and tells us we are born of God.
SEALED “IN CHRIST”
What a glorious security to be shut up by God in the Son of His love, and sealed in Him by the Holy Spirit. Who can break that seal? Who can take us out of Christ? What opposition is there that can take us from that blessed position in Christ? Thank God we are eternally secure in the Lord Jesus under the sealing of the Father with the Holy Spirit. Some would have ‘persevere’ unto the end, but we can thank God that we are not trusting in our ‘perseverance’ but in His ‘preservation’ Jude 1:1. Therefore, we can be confident that He which hath begun a good work in us will not let us be torn from the Body of Christ, but will bring us safe into the glory to display the triumph of His grace, (Philippians 1:6). The sealing of the purchased possession offers to the believer, bought by the blood of Christ, some wonderful and precious truths of deep significance.
THE SEALING SIGNIFIES IDENTIFICATION
We are a purchased possession, bought with the blood of Christ, and the Lord knoweth them that are His, II Timothy 2:19. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His.” This sealing defies the ravages of time and even death. Nothing can take us outside the pale of recognition. We are sealed for identification, yes, we are identified and made one with the Lord Jesus in death, burial, resurrection and ascension. We are sealed “in Christ”, and Christ is in heaven at God’s right hand, so the believer’s position is as secure as Christ’s. He is the Beloved and we are accepted in Him. Our lives are hid with Christ in God.
THE SEALING SECURES OUR IDENTIFICATION
Ephesians 1:14. “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
In Ephesians 4:30, it states that we are sealed unto the day of redemption. This is the day to which we look forward in hope, we look back to the day when by faith, believing, our souls were redeemed by the blood of Christ. Now we look forward to the redemption of the body, which the sealing with the Spirit has secured for us. We have been received by adoption in Jesus Christ as the children of God, literally given, the placing of sons; and now we are “waiting for the adoption to wit, the redemption of our body, for we are saved by hope, Romans 8:23 and 24. The redemption of the Body is the hope that will complete our salvation and in this sense we can say “our salvation is nearer than when we believed, Romans 13:11. We have received salvation of the soul. We shall receive salvation of the body. The first, we received when we believed and were sealed with the Holy Spirit. The latter is to be received on the day of redemption and is as sure as the resurrection of Christ. “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:11. What a day that will be to have these bodies of humiliation changed and fashioned with the body of his glory! Philippians 3:21. Note especially the next clause in this particular passage, it is “according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Don’t fear or doubt, or have any misgivings. He has raised up Jesus and one day we shall know what is the exceeding greatness of his power which he wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. Yes! hallelujah HE IS ABLE. He hath delivered us. He doth deliver us. He will deliver us. (II Corinthians 1:10). By the blood of His cross He hath redeemed us and when the church which is His body is caught up to meet the Lord in the glory, that will be the day of redemption; the redemption of the purchased possession. It is unto this time and blessed event, that the Holy Spirit has sealed and secured us.
THE EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE
In Romans 8:23, we are said to have the ‘first-fruits’ of the Spirit; and we are waiting for the redemption of the body. You can easily see the similarity between that passage and Ephesians 1:14. We have only as yet received the first-fruits of the Spirit; but this plainly implies that there are further fruits to come; and we are waiting in keen anticipation for final harvest. In Ephesians 1:14, the Spirit is the ‘earnest’, the ‘pledge’ or ‘surety’ that binds the transaction, assuring of a final settlement. This same expression is used in II Corinthians 1:22, “Who hath also sealed us and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Also Chapter II Corinthians 5:5, “who (God) also hath given unto us the earnest of the spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, witnessing to our sonship, revealing Christ’s glory, giving enlightenment in the Word, comforting, strengthening and sustaining us in our daily trials. By this we know we are ‘sealed’; the genuine subjects of salvation. We are actually the purchased property of the Lord; and this is His pledge to us that we shall enter into the full glory of the inheritance, thus completing the purpose and plan of the Godhead.
UNTO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY
Three times this ascription of praise and glory has been given; the first time, in Ephesians 1:6, when the work of the Father had been revealed; the second, in Ephesians 1:12, after the work of the Son; and now it appears again after the work of the Spirit, coming as a grand climax to the working out of God’s own eternal purpose as it is revealed in the greatest sentence in all literature of the world. Ephesians 1:3 to 14.