Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sealed by the Holy Spirit

Photo from The Sanctuary Church
I've finally moved on in Ephesians, a little bit. Today I'm pondering Ephesians 1:12-14 (NASb):

12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in ]Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In ]Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also ]believed, you were sealed in Him with )the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the )redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

I notice that I see this same wording in Ephesians 4:30, 2 Corinthians 1:22, and 2 Corinthians 5:5.  All 4 of these references include wording about the Holy Spirit sealing us as God's followers.  Three of these references (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2 Corinthians 1:22, & 2 Corinthians 5:5) include the idea of the Holy Spirit being our guarantee of what God has for us to experience in the future.

As I read these verses I find myself asking what does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit?

Bible Hermeneutics website notes:

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia suggests the intended meaning is a mark of ownership by God:
God by His Spirit indicates who are His, as the owner sets his seal on his property; and just as documents are sealed up until the proper time for opening them, so Christians are sealed up by the Holy Spirit “unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30; 2Co. 1:22).

John Piper explains being sealed with the Holy Spirit this way:

"contained in this word "sealed," it is a message of safety and security in God's love and power. God sends the Holy Spirit as a preserving seal to lock in our faith, as an authenticating seal to validate our sonship, and as a protecting seal to keep out destructive forces. The point is that God wants us to feel secure and safe in his love and power."

In this same article, John Piper makes this point:

"God's great desire for his people is that we feel secure in his love and in his power. Everything else in life may be unstable—our health, our family, our job, our education, our society, our world."

I know that there's so much in my life that is not stable right now.  I've got a DON at work who should be my partner in this business we're running for the owner. She's competent and can be very hands on and effective, but she lies and manipulates. Her lies and manipulation make life very difficult for me and sets a poor tone in our building.  I'm in the midst of a class action lawsuit at work. My youngest son is trying to get an internship for this summer and has faced many rejections.  My middle son has only been on the clean and sober road since April 2015. My oldest son is on a year long deployment in Korea until July 2016 - away from his wife and new baby. I have a course in which I'm currently enrolled that I have no idea how I'm going to complete all the required work prior to the deadlines. Life is just not stable.  Not my life.  Not anyone's life.

 What does the seal of the Holy Spirit mean to me in the midst of the instability of life?

1. The Holy Spirit teaches us God's truth - see John 15:26-27, John 14:15-17, 1 John 5:6.
In the midst of the instability of life I can know what is real and true.

2. The Holy Spirit gives us supernatural power - see Romans 5:13 & 19, 1 Corinthians 2:4, 1 Corinthians 4:20, 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
In the midst of the instability of life I am not left to deal with it all on my own power.   

3. The Holy Spirit changes us - see Galatians 5:16-26
In the midst of the instability of life I get frustrated with myself, but if I cooperate with God, His Spirit within me will produce changes.

Oh Father, I need You to change me.  Change my heart so that it will be completely Yours.  Convict me each day when I'm making myself and/or others things ahead of You.  Help me open up to You and Your Word and live my life according to Your ways.  Please bring to my mind Your truth. Please help me receive Your Power so I can deal with all that is before me.  Empower me so that I can see supernatural results and favor in my life.  May I always bring glory to You.


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