The Seal of the Spirit

Ephesians-2The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is a teaching throughout Scripture that is very cloudy in our modern day. There’s a lot of teaching today that attributes work to the Spirit that He doesn’t do and a lot of teaching that lacks in informing us of what He does do. It’s so unfortunate because He has a great ministry in this world and in the life of a believer. There is an extensive description given in John 14-16 of who He is and what He does. To summarize it, Jesus teaches us that the Spirit is our Helper, who will be with us forever (John. 14:16), that He is our guide who will lead us into all the truth (John. 16:13), and that His ministry is one of conviction (John. 16:8), showing people they are sinners in need of God’s grace. To summarize a summary, the Spirit’s primary ministry is the glorify Jesus (John. 16:14). That description alone narrows down how we can know when we see Him working. To give one example then, if the truth of the gospel is being heralded in a church, we can know the Spirit is at work! And it is in this proclamation of the gospel that something else amazing happens… the sealing of the Spirit! In Ephesians 1:13-14, the Spirit is revealed as the one who has sealed the believer, but what does it mean to be sealed by the Holy Spirit?“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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

In biblical times, cattle and even slaves were branded with a seal by their masters to show whom they belonged to. The seal was given to provide protection and visible assurance of who they are. Another example of a seal in biblical times is the seal of the king. The seal of the king was irrevocable. Once it was done, it was done, period. And nothing and no-one could change it. We see this in Daniel 6:17, “And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” See it there? The seal was given to provide assurance that nothing would change. So what has King Jesus given to those who believe? He has given us a living seal within. The Spirit is the seal of the King to us, and it is irrevocable, and unchangeable. It is the living assurance we have as believers that God will never leave us and that we will forever be his. A great blessing that comes in regard to the sealing of the Spirit is that we can know a believer cannot lose their salvation. Can the King’s seal be revoked? No. Neither can those whom are truly his be unsealed. Rest assured fearful believer, Christ has sealed you and you cannot be lost. Our sin can lessen the assurance we have of our salvation as our obedience can strengthen it (2 Peter. 1:9-11), but that doesn’t mean it is lost. By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, you are sealed by the Spirit to God and his kingdom forever. You cannot be lost. Your salvation is sure. The guarantee has been given. If you are guaranteed something, it’s sure. You know you are getting it. In the same way that the sun and moon are guaranteed to rise and set at their appointed times, God has guaranteed you as His child who will live with him now and for all eternity in his kingdom by sealing you with His Spirit (Jeremiah 33:19-22). Take heart believer. Never forget that the King has sealed you with a precious seal, with His living seal, the very Spirit of God, and if the King has placed his seal, it can never change, and it is only the beginning (the down payment) of all that God has for you in His future kingdom, which in God’s timing we all will acquire possession of. It is amazing enough that we have been given an interest in our Savior’s blood, but in the future, we will be given the whole thing! Importantly though, and this is my closing thought, this seal came at a cost, it came at the cost of our Savior’s blood. The down payment of the Spirit has been given to us because Christ laid down his life to pay for our sins. For that we should rise up and sing,

And can it be, that I should gain, an interest in the Savior’s blood. Died he for me who caused his pain, for me who Him to death pursued. Amazing love, how can it be, that Thou my God shouldst die for me.

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