Monday, June 15, 2009

The Seal of the Spirit

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having 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.
Ephesians 1:14-15

This passage about being sealed with the Holy Spirit can be seen from two vantage points. Doctrinally, it's talking about receiving the Holy Spirit at conversion; at salvation; at the new birth - remember these are all terms for the same experience. But experientially, Paul may be looking back at his real life encounter with those first Ephesians, when he asked, (literally in the Greek) "having believed, did you receive the Holy Spirit?" You receive the seal of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. But you are immediately eligible to receive the complete saturation; immersion; filling up with the Holy Spirit for power to witness, serve and live a Holy life, pleasing to the Lord!

I remember a man with olive skin and a Middle-Eastern accent, standing at a kiosk in the mall. He was selling some kind of facial cream that makes you look 20 years younger: Dead Sea Salt For Your Face, or something... This man's ancestor may have stood at a kiosk in Ephesians a couple of thousand years ago also selling facial cream that makes you look 20 years younger. After you bought some for your wife (though you never tell her she needs it), you would mark it with your seal of ownership. Otherwise, you would end up walking around like the lady at the mall, with the 9 foot tall stack of packages. She slides a package out of the way creating a window through which she can peer out at the world as she navigates!

You would say, "I'm going to leave this here because I have more shopping to do. But I'm going to come back and get it." Even today, maybe you've left your merchandise at the counter before and said, "I'll be right back to pay out." It's like that, except 2,000 years ago they went ahead and paid out, leaving their newly purchased item with the merchant with the intention of coming back to get it all later.

The seal of ownership meant the item couldn't be mistaken for stolen merchandise, or someone else's. Everyone knew it was your stuff, because it had your seal of ownership on it. Jesus marks you with the Seal of the Holy Spirit as a reminder to you, your friends, enemies, and anyone else, that you belong to Him! Another passage adds that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of adoption that cries, "Abba, Father!" You're not just God's property. In Christ you're God's child!

When you face doubt, the assurance of the Holy Spirit reminds you, you are His!
When you face difficulties the joy of the Holy Spirit reminds you, you are His!
When you face turmoil, the peace of the Holy Spirit reminds you, you are His!

If you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, by being born again, you are eligible at any time to be Baptized in, or completely filled with the Holy Spirit and his power, to work for him powerfully and effectively!

[Photo by kayveeinc, on Flickr]

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