THE HOLY SPIRIT SECURES THE SAINTS’ FUTURE —
SECURES IT FOR US AND FOR GOD
God wants us to appreciate the blessings He has given us. Sometimes we need a little reminder to get our focus off of some of the areas of confusion and uncertainty in our life and focus on His blessings.
Review: The Triune God has accomplished our eternal salvation. Note the work of each person in the Godhead, with each section marked off by the concluding refrain: “to the praise of His glory”.
Theme verse: (:3) we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing
(1) God the Father planned our salvation for His own glory (:4-6a)
predestinated unto adoption of sons
(2) God the Father executed our salvation through God the Son for His own glory
Redemption — the forgiveness of sins
closing refrain introducted in vs. 7: “in accordance with the riches of God’s
(a) Extended explanation of the importance of the Son (:8-10)
God has blessed us with insight into the mystery of His will; and
the unifying principle of the will of God is that Christ should have the
(b) Extended explanaionn of the sovereignty of God (:11-12)
closing refrain picked up from vs. 7 and restated in vs. 12
Today’s Message: Insecurity about the future affects our enjoyment of the present and our performance in the present.
I. (:13) THE HOLY SPIRIT SECURES THE SAINTS’ FUTURE AS A SEAL FROM GOD
A. Whom is Paul addressing here?
Note the change in pronouns — in verses 3-12 all first person pronouns — Paul including himself and the apostles together with all the saints; in verse 13 introduces the second person plural; 2 options:
1. Possibility that Paul is here just beginning to introduce the distinction between Jewish believers and Gentile believers that will be an important theme later in the Book as he describes how both have been united into one body — the church.
Certainly it would have been difficult for some Jews to accept that God was now treating the Gentiles so favorably and on an equal footing, so the fact of the sealing with the Holy Spirit should help to clinch this and give these Gentile believers the assurance about their future that they need.
2. Otherwise the distinction would not be as dramatic, and would merely be between Paul and his associates and all the believers at Ephesus (with no special Gentile emphasis). Certainly it is true that all believers of all ages have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, not just Gentile believers.
B. 2 Prerequisites — Hearing and Believing
Paul is finally looking at salvation from the standpoint of man’s responsibility and response to the work of God in his heart; up to now the emphasis has been totally on God’s initiative and working.
Sealing with the Holy Spirit is not something that happens as some time subsequent to believing; not a second blessing or second work of grace; but rather is associated with our hearing and believing.
Proper content is essential — not so much the personality or manner of presentation by the speaker. Described here as:
“the word of truth”
“the gospel of your salvation”
We must expose ourselves and our families to the proper content.
Lack of security in any area of our life should be addressed in the same way — seek to hear God’s truth as it applies to that area and believe it. Trust the Savior who is able to deliver from insecurity.
C. Significance of the Holy Spirit as the Seal from God
(Remember, it is God who does the sealing)
1. Meaning of the seal
a. Marking as one’s own possession — ownership;
This is the objective sense = the meaning of the seal to God and to others (cf. Branded); Believers belong to God forever; the issue of ownership has been settled. They had a number of ways of accomplishing this sealing function in those days. The seal usually was made from hot wax, which was placed on the document, letter, etc. and then impressed with a signet ring (cf. how we use a Notary today). Served as an official mark of identification.
b. Confirming or authenticating
Subjective sense — testimony to our own consciousness that we belong to God and enjoy all of these spiritual blessings (Rom. 8:16); people whom nothing can harm and for whom all things work together for good
c. Making secure — to protect against tampering or harm; (just like they sealed up Jesus’ grave and sealed Daniel in the lion’s den);
Primarily the significance of “a” and “b” are involved in our passage.
2. Fulfillment of God’s promise — “the Holy Spirit of promise”
a. OT prophecies:
Is. 32:15; 44:3
Ezek. 36:26; 39:29
emphasis on a new heart and new spirit
b. NT promises of Christ
John 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13
c. Fulfillment on Day of Pentacost
Acts 2:1-4; 16-21; 38
3. Emphasis on Holiness
word position in the Greek makes this emphatic;
The primary nature of the Spirit’s work in those he seals is to make them holy (2 Thess. 2:13); This has been Paul’s theme throughout the first paragraph of Ephesians. We have been saved to be saints, to be holy.
This should be the objective mark of identification to others; they should know we belong to God because of our holiness; they should see our good works and glorify the Father. This should be the inward assurance of the reality of our nion with Jesus Christ (cf. the tests of eternal life in 1 John). How are we progressing in this area?
II. (:14) THE HOLY SPIRIT SECURES THE SAINTS’ FUTURE AS A DOWNPAYMENT FROM GOD
A. Significance of the Holy Spirit as the Downpayment from God
First installment; partial payjent in advance (cf. engagement ring); Our present possession of the Spirit is a sample and guarantee, a partial payment of our future inheritance.
Full salvation will be different from our present experience only in degree, not in kind
B. 2 Things that have been made Secure regarding the Saints’ Future
1. With respect to the saints — Our Inheritance
Resurrection body which will correspond to our new position as adopted children of God free from sin and evil; full enjoyment of all spiritual blessings
Transition: our inheritance is marvelous, awesome and guaranteed, but it is not the primary purpose of our salvation
2. With respect to God — Full Redemption and Possession of Us
We will be totally His for all of eternity; no undivided allegiance. This is the great overriding purpose of God’s redemption of men — the rescuing of what is His own possession. His ultimate goal is “the praise of His glory”
Let’s appreciate our spiritual blessings.
Our secure future should enable us to enjoy the present and to perform in the present.