“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
These verses point us to the third person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. Some religious people do goofy and crazy things in the name of the Holy Spirit, and, as a result, many believers are completely uncomfortable talking about the Holy Spirit and His work. But biblically, the Holy Spirit’s work is to illuminate the Word of God and point us to Jesus. He has been given to all Christians as the guarantee of our inheritance.
The Spirit points to Jesus’ words and works, not his own. In fact, there is a certain irony in how the Spirit operates; whenever he is really present, you are not thinking about him; you’re thinking about Jesus. The Spirit’s work is to direct you to notice something else.
The Holy Spirit illuminates and highlights the message and the works of Jesus. This is why Paul says repeatedly in Ephesians 1 it’s “to the praise of His glory.” It is all about Jesus!
And Paul says here in Ephesians 1 that by the Holy Spirit, you are sealed and guaranteed. In biblical times a seal was a mark of ownership and authenticity. To be sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit means the case has been closed, the verdict is in, the court is adjourned and no one can snatch those who are in Christ out of His hand. You belong to him. A seal on a letter or a document was a statement of authenticity.
This seal guarantees our inheritance in Christ. It guarantees that God’s promises have been and will be fulfilled. If you are a follower of Christ, not only are you a child of God adopted into his family; you are an heir to the kingdom and promised an inheritance as a child of the king. What we experience of the Holy Spirit in this life is just a foretaste of what has been promised to us in Christ for eternity.
Listen to how Kent Hughes illustrates this for us:
Imagine the sublimest, most treasured experiences of the Holy Spirit we have ever had and then realize they are only a foretaste, the tip of the tongue on the spoon, of what is to come. Remember the release of coming to Christ and knowing you were forgiven? Remember the time in worship when you were smitten with awe? Remember the time you followed the Spirit’s leading and were wonderfully used? Think of all of this and then multiply it a millionfold. Here on Earth, we have experienced the first dollar of a million celestial dollars. We have the dawning of knowledge, but then we will have the midday sun.”
The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that the best is truly yet to come. If you are in Christ, you can be sure that God will finish what he has started. His plan for you is greater than any you could develop on your own.
If you follow Him by faith and trust in his promises, your life will be used for His glory.
Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, AL