You Were Sealed by the 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.

Ephesians 1:13-14

Almost two years ago, the Lord enabled us to become homeowners again. Having sold our previous home in 2015, for less than we owed, we followed the Spirit’s leading to another ministry located five hundred miles east. Five years later, we had recovered financially enough to be able to purchase again. However, getting there meant we had to work extra hard at multiple jobs to save up a down payment, the portion of the loan that serves as the promise that we’ll someday pay off our mortgage obligation and finish what he started.

The Scripture above announces that when you and I turned to Jesus after hearing “the word of truth, the gospel,” we were sealed with the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised to send after he ascended to heaven (John 14:16-18; 16:7; Acts 1:4-5). The seal, or pledge, is a legal and commercial word referring to the first installment. Indeed, God has “put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 1:22). The same word was used of an engagement ring, which serves as a promise of a future wedding.

Therefore, when it comes to our eternal salvation, we have a down payment like no other and we didn’t even have to work for it—it is a gift of grace received through faith. The Spirit of God is himself “the guarantee of our inheritance,” the promise of more to come. He is the “promise ring” from Christ to his bride, the church, assuring us that he will one day return to bring us home.

In Bible times, kings and rulers used a seal to close official decrees. A lump of hot wax was pressed onto the document and, while still warm, it was impressed with the king’s signet ring. This seal signified three realities: security, ownership, and authenticity.

First, the seal of the Spirit communicates security. In Christ, your everlasting life is secure. “He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:5). You are forever united with Christ. Nothing and no one can ever separate you from your Savior (see Rom. 8:31-39).

Second, the seal of the Spirit communicates ownership. Jesus purchased you with his blood, and the Spirit sealed you for your ultimate redemption. Consequently, when Paul challenged the Corinthians to flee immorality and pursue holiness, he appealed to God’s ownership of them: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Third, the seal of the Spirit communicates authenticity. By the Holy Spirit’s work, we are secure in Christ and marked out as God’s property and, thus, the genuineness of our faith is confirmed. Kent Hughes says it this way, “He has tagged us, he has left his mark on us in our hearts, and we who have the seal know it.”[1]

So What?

The seal of the Spirit is the assurance of your ultimate salvation; his presence guarantees that you will one day receive your everlasting inheritance in Christ.


[1] R. Kent Huges, Ephesians, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 45.

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