Last week we were giving thanks to God for all the blessings of salvation and for just how special we are in God’s eyes. He sees Christians as holy people, and faithful people and he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. God has chosen us and he has made us to be holy and blameless in his sight, We have been adopted as God’s children. God has redeemed us and He has forgiven all our sins. And he has lavished his grace upon us – all of God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. And our salvation is all part of the mystery of God’s will, God’s amazing cosmic masterplan to bring the whole universe to unity under Christ.
If only we could always see ourselves as God sees us we would enjoy these blessings of salvation to the full. Paul goes on to say even more. He says that God has chosen us so that we might be for the praise of his glory. The purpose of our new lives is to give praise and glory to God. And there’s yet more in Ephesians 1:13. … you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed,
“Included in Christ”. In other words, because we have received the Good News about Jesus and put our trust in God, our lives are now wrapped up in Christ’s life. We share in all the benefits of Jesus’s death on the cross and all the benefits of his glorious resurrection in Christ. Thanks be to God!
But how can we be certain that God is giving us all these blessings? How can we be sure that we are indeed “included in Christ?” How can we be sure that we are truly saved.
Verse 13 continues, When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
We can certain of our salvation because God the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives. It is by the work of God the Holy Spirit that we are born again to eternal life. It is the Holy Spirit who is our Helper, helping us to know Jesus better and become more like Jesus, filling our lives with the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to pray and to understand the Bible. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us gifts to help us serve God in the church and the power to be witnesses for Jesus in the world. The Holy Spirit makes us together into the church of God, the Body of Christ, the Temple built out of living stones where God lives by his Holy Spirit. As well as all of these wonderful truths, Paul teaches us that
When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on our lives. A wax seal put on an object or a document was a mark of ownership or identification. It showed who owned the object and what it contained and it carried the authority of the owner. The Holy Spirit is God’s stamp of ownership on the lives of Christians, marking us out here and now as people who belong to God. We can be certain of our salvation now, because we have received the seal of God’s Holy Spirit.
But how can we be certain that all these blessings will be ours forever, even into eternity? Verse 14 says this.
The Holy Spirit 14 …. is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
The Holy Spirit is also the deposit of our eternal inheritance, ready for the day when God will complete our redemption. In a transaction the deposit was the down-payment, the first instalment of what was to come which guaranteed that the full payment would be made in due course. Still today sometimes we might buy something like a car or a holiday by putting down an initial deposit. That reserves what we are buying for us and then we pay the balance when we receive what we have bought. The Holy Spirit is God’s deposit guaranteeing our eternal salvation. The New Revised Standard Version translates this as “the pledge of our inheritance.” The New Living Translation says, 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised. So the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives now is God’s down-payment. We can be certain of our salvation into eternity because we have received the Holy Spirit who is the first instalment of heaven. All the blessings we are enjoying now are only a foretaste or a foreshadowing of all the glories which are to come. Life in all its fullness now is only the appetisers – just wait for the main course!
For many people life is not easy at the moment. Many are anxious about what the future may hold. Some are worried about loved ones who are sick or mourning others who have died. However difficult this life may become, we can always be encouraged by our hope of the glorious inheritance which God has promised us and which is guaranteed to us by the Holy Spirit living in us.
2 Corinthians 5:1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Throughout this life we are groaning with anticipation, longing to be with Jesus! As the Message translates verses 4 and 5. We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
Thanks be to God for his gift of the Holy Spirit, the seal of our salvation now and the deposit who guarantees our inheritance into eternity!
13 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, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.