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EPHESIANS 1:13-15: THE MARVEL OF OUR REDEMPTION, PT 2
13 In Him, you also, after listening (AAPMPN) to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation --having also believed, (AAPMPN) you were sealed (2PAPI) in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 Who is (3SPAI) given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption (apolutrosis) of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory 15 For this reason I too, having heard (AAPMSN) of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints,
Would you turn with me to Ephesians 1 as we continue in our study of this wonderful, wonderful book. We’re looking at The Marvel of our Redemption (Ed note: Click here for in depth word study of the Greek word for redemption = apolutrosis)
Earlier we looked at the sphere of our redemption. Who all is involved? God did not exclude the Jews. Oh no! The key is, He included the Gentiles, and we are so grateful that He did. All that believe in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, now have been made one in Him. We are heirs in the Lord Jesus Christ. Again the Phillip’s translation puts it this way, "...in all which will one day belong to him [speaking of Jesus] we have been promised a share." That ought to already make us begin to praise God for what He has promised us in our inheritance in Him.
Now we continue to look at the marvel of our redemption. We want to look at the standard of our redemption. Is there a standard that we who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus go by? Often somebody may come around us and say, "Oh, I have been born again. I am a Christian. I am a believer." Is there a standard that helps us measure those people who are quick to say, "I know Christ," but their life does not back it up? I believe there is. Some people say, "Well, Wayne, isn’t it enough to come down the aisle? Isn’t it enough to cry and be remorseful over sin?" Well, it might be, and it might not be. What is the standard that we have to measure those who are claiming to be redeemed? Well, there are a lot of things, but I think we’ll see in our text two that must be there.
I want us to look at that in Ephesians 1:13:
"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… "
Now what is in this that might help us have a standard to measure those who claim to be redeemed? As we marvel at our redemption, let’s remember there are certain things that must be in place if that redemption has taken place in our life. It says, "… after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation."
THE GOSPEL HAS TO BE HEARD
The first thing I want you to see is that the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, has to be heard. Now let’s break that down and look at it. When he says the phrase "after listening to the message of truth" the word for truth there is the word that means "that which is absolute truth and has nothing in it which is error, nothing whatsoever." It has a definite article in front of it which means "the" truth. It’s obviously speaking of the Word of God. The word for message there is logos. It refers to a message, a thing that is communicated. However, again, the definite article is in front of it which means literally "the" word of "the" truth. Implicit in this is the Word of God. You see, hearing starts with the gospel, the Word of God, with the truth that is without any error.
I have many people say to me, "Well I can receive Christ perhaps, but I don’t believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God." Well, that kind of bothers me a little bit, because if that’s the standard, and the Bible speaks, who is man to say that it is or it isn’t. In other words, we’ve got to accept that it is truth without error.
What he’s talking about here is not just truth. He’s talking about the gospel of your salvation. "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation —… " That word "gospel" is the good news of your salvation. In other words, the seed which must fall into the human heart in order for salvation to take place is the Word of God. It’s not just truth, but the truth about our salvation, about what Christ has done for us.
What is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Look with me in 1 Cor 15:1-5..Paul is speaking of what the gospel is, and he gives the definition as he speaks to the Corinthians there. This is what the Word of God, the word of truth without error, says the gospel is. He says,
1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
In these 5 verses you have the crucial ingredients of the gospel which are that Christ came to die for our sin, that He was buried, but on the third day He resurrected according to the Scriptures. So therefore, the gospel is what the Word of God says about what Christ has done for you and me. It’s the good news. It is truth without any error. So many folks think that a person can get saved by just hearing a testimony. No, he can be inspired, he can be convinced, he can be moved emotionally, but until the Word of God, falls into that heart, how can there be any salvation? That is the key.
In the parable of the sower there are several kinds of soil. The key there is not so much the sower, but it’s the soil that receives the seed the sower is scattering. It says in the parables in Mark (4:13-20), Matthew (13:18-23) and in Luke (8:11-15) that seed is the Word of God. It falls into the human heart. Only one of the soils was saved, and that is the good soil, which received the seed and held on to the seed, as one of the gospels said, and then produced fruit as a result of having received the seed. Those are the ones who have truly been saved.
Look at 1Peter 1:22. I want you to see again how that the Word of God is the seed. It is the truth of God. It is Scripture which speaks of that which Christ has done for us. That’s the gospel, the truth of your salvation. In this passage Peter reminds the believers in Asia Minor who are going through the awful persecution,
"Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."
What he’s saying is, when you get saved, you have a potential that you didn’t have when you were lost. The Holy Spirit of God comes into your life. Now you have a love in you, wrapped up in a person that needs to be released to other people. Jesus said,
"By this all men will know that they are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn13:35)
Peter is reminding these believers of that and then says,
23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.
24 For, "ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
25 BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ABIDES FOREVER." And this is the word which was preached to you.
So when we’re talking about salvation, what are the standards of measuring people who say, "Oh, I’ve been redeemed. Oh, I’m a Christian. I’ve been born from above."? Well, it starts with how it all happened in your life. The Word of God is that seed. It is what God’s Word says about Christ. It is what God’s Word says in reflection of your own sin that must be received before salvation can take place.
Now if it’s got to be heard, then somebody has got to be telling it. Look at the verse again. "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth,… " Somebody has got to be telling it if they’re listening to the message of truth. Let’s think for a moment about when you got saved. Who was it who came and shared it with you? Who opened the Word with you? Who helped you understand your condition and what Christ did for you, and why it was necessary in your life? Somebody did. Somebody has got to be telling it. Look in Ro 10:14. There’s a beautiful thought here that comes out of simple observation when we’re dealing with our salvation:
"How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS !"
You see, this was Paul’s mission. What he was doing with the Gentiles was to take the Word of God. By the way, he did not have all that we have today. All he had was the Old Testament and the gospels. He would take that to the people and document who Jesus is, the fact that He came and lived a sinless life, the fact that He went to the cross and died for their sins, resurrected the third day and that it was all according to what the Scriptures had to say. That’s important. As he told it they were able to listen to it. That’s what missions is all about, folks. Salvation starts when the truth is preached, when a person hears the message of Jesus Christ and the gospel of your salvation. You see, the first key is they’ve got to hear the message of truth. They’ve got to hear the gospel of their salvation.
The word "listening" there is an important word. It’s the Greek word akouo. It means "to hear." That’s why it’s translated "listen" here. It means "to hear with an understanding." You see, there can never be a response to the gospel unless the
person who is hearing understands what the gospel is saying in their life. God’s truth of the gospel must be heard with understanding. Basically, man cannot do that. It’s through the work of the Holy Spirit of God that a man hears and understands.
I believe this is why Paul said something in 1 Cor 2:1. You see, he understood as an educated man. Let’s remember that. Paul was the most educated man aside from Jesus Himself in the whole New Testament. You’ll not find anybody who could touch him. "You can tell sometimes," Peter said of Paul, "that old boy is so intelligent some of the things he writes, they’re hard to understand." He had submitted his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. Look what he says to the Corinthian church as he writes to them. "
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God." [or "the mystery of God which is the gospel"].
He said, "I didn’t come with eloquent words. I didn’t come with superiority of speech." Paul had the education. He had the vocabulary that he could woo and wow and convince any audience. Paul understood that when you preach it’s got to be under the anointing of the Spirit of God. If not, people may hear but they won’t understand.
So, the first common denominator that has to be there for all the people who claim to have been redeemed, is they have heard with understanding the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have heard it from God’s Word, and they understand clearly that Jesus is God’s Son, that He came and lived a sinless life. Why did He go to the cross? Because all men under Adam are doomed to hell unless they are reborn and adopted afresh back into the family of God. We must understand that or how can we be saved? The seed that falls in the heart is the Word, the truth of God, the gospel of our salvation.
Secondly, not only hearing and understanding it, but responding to it with belief. That has got to be there. There may be other essentials that are parts of this standard, but I know that these two parts are there and must always be there. The gospel must be heard with understanding which is the work of the Holy Spirit of God. But not only that, there has to be a response to what we’ve heard in what we call belief. Say John 3:16 with me again. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but having everlasting life."
Let’s look at Ephesians 1:13 again and look at the tense of "having believed." "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed" That’s an aorist participle (5660). In other words, at the same time that you were listening to it, something was responding to it within you. There was a response coming back to it. It wasn’t three weeks later. It wasn’t five days later. The aorist tense means that in a specific time there was a response back to what you clearly understood coming from the Word of God. Something inside of you was responding, and that response is called "belief." It says, "...having also believed..."
Now what does it mean to believe? I wish just for the sake of argument we could go up and down the rows during any church service and ask you what you thought it meant to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then you would understand why I’m taking some pains to try to understand this. So many people think that belief is only associated with understanding. No, we’ve already covered that. You hear it with understanding. When you believe, you respond in belief. Well, what is that belief? First of all the word "believe" is pisteuo. It comes from the word pistis which means "faith." In other words, pisteuo, believe, means "to put your full trust and your full faith into Jesus Christ," the Jesus Christ who is God’s Son. The Scripture clearly brings that out in the gospel of our salvation. But what does that mean? This is where we’re left hanging. Pisteuo, to believe, means "to put your faith into, to put your trust into."
Well, let’s take it one more step. Pistis comes from the word peitho. I think this begins to help us better understand. The word peitho means "to be firmly persuaded to the point that you’re willing to abandon and surrender and obey that which you’ve heard." What does it mean to believe? Does that mean I just simply believe what you say? I understand it, and I believe what you say? No. It’s more than that. Having heard the message we’re so persuaded by it that we’re willing to turn and surrender to it. How do I receive the Lord Jesus Christ? By opening myself in full surrender and by believing in Him. That is the way I receive Him into my life.
Let me give you some examples of that. It might help us a little bit more than what I’m saying here. Look at Js 2:14-26. This is the passage that nobody likes to deal with. It’s so controversial, and a lot of folks just don’t deal with it. He talks about three kinds of faith. Only one of them is saving faith, but each of them has a part of the other. There are three areas to each of us. There is the mental, that which we understand with. There’s the emotional, that which we feel with. And there’s the volitional, that which we surrender with, that which we commit to, that which we decide with. That’s what we want to look at because all three of these are brought out. Which one is the real faith?
Well, first of all he mentions dead faith in verses 14:
"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works ? Can that faith save him?"
Now what is the work he speaks of? He uses the illustrations of Abraham and Rahab. It has to be the work of obedience, that which shows and expresses what has taken place on the inside. If I believe who Jesus is, if I believe the truth of the gospel, my response to it is to bow down to Him and surrender myself to Him and be willing to obey Him. Now I may not understand all that at this time, but somehow it all works itself out.
If there’s a root, there’s going to be fruit. The root is the willingness to surrender and abandon myself to Him. He is God. He stands before me. He’s worthy to be served. A six-year-old can understand that. How? By the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. A sixty-year-old can understand that. How? By the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. I can never make you understand it. It’s something that happens when that message comes into your heart. When the Word of God is preached or shared the Holy Spirit grabs hold of that thing, and you see God like you’ve never seen God. You see yourself like you’ve never seen yourself. You fall down before Him. Your attitude is an attitude of being so persuaded that you’re willing to give yourself over in obedience.
"If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:15-17
That’s DEAD FAITH. Maybe your name is on a church roll, and you’ve heard all your life about Jesus Christ. You’ve understood it. You could tell people better than I’m telling them, but you have never responded to what you understood in belief. You’ve never fallen down before Him and been so persuaded by what you understood that you’re willing to surrender yourself to the one the Bible has clearly brought forth.
But secondly, not only does he speak of dead faith here, he speaks of DEMONIC FAITH in verse 18-20. There was somebody going around during that time trying to comfort everybody. James was getting on people’s case. They didn’t like James. James was saying, "Hey man, listen, talk is cheap. Show me by your life." He’s the kind of guy that nobody likes to hear. He’s saying, "I’m tired of hearing your talk. Show me by your walk whether or not you’ve been redeemed." Well, someone’s going around trying to make everybody feel better. "Oh, don’t worry about it." He puts it in such a way that sometimes we get confused:
James 2:18a: "But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works"
He’s not talking about the someone. He’s referring back to James because James is writing this. In other words, "Hey, don’t worry about old James. He’s always trying to tell you there’s got to be some fruit in your life. Oh, no man! If you just do certain things, if you say it the right way, you’re okay."
James 2:18b: "show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
In other words, "I don’t have to tell you. Live with me for a week. Watch me live, and I’ll show you that my faith is real."
Then it says in verse 19,
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder (bristle, stiffen, are struck w/ extreme fear & are horrified)."
You see, this is where sometimes we lose it. The Jews of that day had a confession they would make in the morning and one in the evening. Do you know what it was? "We believe that God is one." They’re still doing that today. As long as they were saying it right, this old boy says, "Hey, that’s okay. You believe that God’s one, you’re saved. James has his works. Let the old boy suffer, but we’re alright as long as you confess it in the morning and as long as you confess it at night. You’re saying it right. You’re saved."
"You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder."
Uh Oh! "You mean to tell me I’m no better than a demon at that point." Folks, you don’t think the demons knew who Jesus was? You see, folks, in the dead faith you can have mental acceptance. You can understand. In the demonic faith you can have feelings, and they get all worked up. Technically He died for all, but the last step is that volition when you surrender your will. How do you know somebody surrenders their will? You don’t know right when they’re praying. They may not have the same emotion that somebody else had, and they didn’t even get saved when they prayed. How do you tell? You watch their life down the road. If there’s a root of belief inside of an individual, there will be the fruit of that belief in obedience to the One Whom they have bowed down to.
If there’s a ROOT of BELIEF…
there will be the FRUIT of that BELIEF in OBEDIENCE…
I John 3 says there’s no possible way a person can claim to be saved and live like he wants to Monday through Saturday. You cannot live habitually lawless before God and claim to be a believer.
James uses the examples of Abraham and Rahab. Just take Abraham for instance. How do we know that Abraham was saved? How do we know that he was justified? V21 says:
James 2:21: "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?"
Now careful, careful. He’s not saying what Martin Luther accused him of saying. He’s not saying that by a man’s works he’s justified. Oh no! What he’s saying here is he was shown to be justified back there by the fact that he was willing to obey over here. That’s what he’s saying. That’s all he’s saying. He’s not contradicting anything Paul said. He’s just simply showing the fact that if a man’s saved, he’s going to live like it. Now he might get off track, he may have a sin that bothers him, but he can never again live habitually lawless before God. That is not the heart or character of a true believer, a new creation in Christ.
He gives Rahab as an example. I like those two examples because Abraham had a lot of information, and he responded to it. Rahab had a little, and she responded. Both of them were brought in. It’s not how much truth you’ve heard added on to what you needed to hear. It’s whether or not you’ve responded in belief to the critical gospel of your salvation. Let me show you this over in 1 Thess 1:3. If there’s a root, there’s going to be fruit. I can hear people now saying, "I’m going to take this home, buddy. I’m going to check this out." Well, I hope you will. Please do because I’m checking it out myself as I go through. Paul was in Thessalonica three weeks. That’s all, just three weeks. Look what happens. He says,
1Thes1:3: "… constantly bearing in mind your work of faith… " (Ed note: Gk = "ten pisteon") There’s the definite article ("ten")"… and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,"
Well, what does he mean by work of faith? I just want to show you that one in verse 9. He’s talking about how others are even talking about the Christians there at Thessalonica:
1Thes1:9:"For they themselves report (proclaim, make known openly) about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God"
Oh that’s so important. It’s not that you turned from idols to God. You turned to God from Idols. "What’s the difference, Wayne?" Listen, it’s not what you’ve come from and what you’ve gone to that necessarily saves you. Some people have come off of one high and gone into another high. They’ve missed Jesus in the process. They didn’t turn away from their idols to God. They turned to God away from their idols. The focus of your turn is all the difference in the world. He says, "I see that in you, the work of faith. There was a root of belief. Now there’s the fruit that you turned to God away from the idols of your life."
We’ve got to see that folks. We are living, I think, in the Laodicean age when people have joined the church and missed Jesus (Rev 3:14-22). We’ve got people on church rolls everywhere. They don’t know the Lord. How do you know that? Only by the standards set forth in Scripture. If there is not fruit showing, there’s not a root of belief in their life. I’m not trying to make it "works salvation." I’m just trying to understand that word "believe" in Him. Let’s go back to Ephesians 1:15.
Ephesians 1:15: For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints
Oh! Oh, are you kidding me? That’s what Jesus said, wasn’t it? Hey, he said, "By this shall they know you’re my disciples," whether or not you truly bowed to me. That’s all I’m saying. You don’t understand everything I’ve said when you get saved. It’s something you understand later on. But hey folks, it’s all built into it when that surrender comes to that Deity who Christ is.
One of the first things you’ll note and the world notes is when we love one another. If there’s a root, there’s going to be fruit.
There are two things. First, it must be heard and understood. It must be what the scripture says about Christ. That’s the seed, the gospel of our salvation. But secondly, once it’s understood, there’s got to be a response, and that response is the response of belief.
EPHESIANS 1:13-15: THE SECURITY OF OUR REDEMPTION
We’ve been talking about the marvel of our redemption. It appears to me that what Paul is doing in the book of Ephesians is very unique. As a matter of fact, you have to study it all the way through to catch the flavor of what I’m about to say, especially chapters 1, 2 and 3. He’s trying to let the Gentile believers understand that they didn’t get anything different than what a Jewish believer got when he got saved. In other words, sometimes the Gentiles would think, "Well, the covenants were not for us, the promises were not for us, therefore, somehow maybe we didn’t get everything the Jewish believers got." Well, Paul is assuring them that everything that he got as a Jewish believer they got as a Gentile believer when they received the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s say that a friend of yours bought a Toyota, and the Toyota factory has just come out with a warranty on all Toyotas. That’s why he bought one, because that warranty is like no other warranty. It covers the car for the life of the car no matter how many miles, anything that breaks down, even a flat tire. It was really exciting to him to find that out. Well, something he didn’t know and something that folks hadn’t said a lot about was that warranty not only covered his Toyota but it covered any kind of car that Toyota helped make. So, you go out and buy a Geo Prism. Now you didn’t know and the friend didn’t know that Toyota helped make that car along with General Motors. You buy it at a General Motors dealer. You go home thinking that you just got the car and whatever warranty they gave you, but you did not realize that everything the Toyota owners got you were going to get because Toyota helped make that car. Well, one day you get a letter, and in the letter it says, "All the terms that were good for Toyota owners are also good for you, because Toyota helped in making the car that you bought." Well, that would be a joyous day, wouldn’t it?
Well, what Paul is saying is, "You Gentiles, you got everything the Jews got. When you receive Christ and the Jew receives Christ it is the same. You’re made one in Him, and the promises are the same. You don’t get more because you’re a Jew when you become a believer than you do when a Gentile becomes a believer." He has assured the Gentile believers of the marvel of their redemption. He’s writing to a Gentile church, and he makes certain that you understand that in chapters 1, 2 and 3.
Let me go back and review quickly. We saw the sphere of our redemption. We saw that not only were the Jews included, but the Gentiles were not excluded. That’s the beautiful thing. If you take a look at verse 11 he says, "also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory." Those Jews hoped in Christ before He came, but after He came we have an inheritance. Look what he says in verse 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, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance." In other words, the Jewish believer got an inheritance. Paul says, "but also you Gentiles have been sealed in the Holy Spirit as a promise of that same inheritance. What we got you got. You didn’t get any more or less than what we got when we received the Lord Jesus Christ." The sphere of our redemption. He did not exclude Israel, but that’s not the point. He included the Gentiles.
Well, secondly, we looked at the standard of our redemption. It’s in verse 13. "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation… " First of all, the standard is, we must hear it and listen to the truth of the gospel of our salvation. That’s the Word of God. You may hear somebody’s testimony. If they do not include God’s Word then you may be inspired to want to get saved. You may be convinced that you need to be saved, but you’re not going to get saved just by their testimony. The Word of God is the seed that must fall into our heart. That’s what convicts us of sin in our life. We hear the gospel: that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, went to the cross for our sin, and rose the third day, ascended and was glorified. That convicts us of being sinners. We need to hear the truth of the gospel.
He goes on to say,
Ephesians 1:13: "having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise"
Now what does it mean to believe? (see previous sermon) Well, we’re going to come back to that in just a second when we get to our third point. There will be two parts to my third point. We’ve looked at the sphere of our redemption: He did not exclude Israel, but He included the Gentiles. We’ve looked at the standard [of redemption]: after hearing you believe the truth of the gospel.
But I want us to look at the security of our redemption. There are many people who believe that you can lose your salvation. They say, "God will not walk away from you, but you can walk away from Him." I believe there is a problem with that view. I believe that is contrary to Scripture, and I want to try to prove that to you in the statement that "you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Let’s look at verse 13 one more time because that phrase is powerful. "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."
Now why do some people believe that you can lose your salvation? Personally, I think part of the problem is what we have just addressed, and I’m going to go back over it a little bit. It’s an erroneous view of what salvation is. A lot of people who think they have lost their salvation never had it to start with. You know, particularly as Baptists we’re known by other denominations to have a weakened, watered-down view of salvation. That may be true or not depending on the church that you grew up in.
I happen to come from a liberal church in Virginia. As I grew up, I heard God loves you, yes, God has a wonderful plan for you, yes, Jesus is God’s Son, yes, but I never understood repentance and what belief really was. Nobody ever taught me what it meant to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When I was nine-years-old I ran down the aisle because I didn’t want to go to hell. What nine-year-old wants to go to hell? I did whatever they told me to do. I was baptized in the church. I was told by the preacher, "Yes, you’re saved." I was thirty-two-years-old before I came to understand the gospel, the truth of the gospel from the Word of God. When I saw that, I saw myself, and when I saw myself, I understood my problem. Had it been presented correctly to me earlier, perhaps that would have been different, maybe I would have been receptive to it.
What does it mean to believe? Pisteuo is the word "believe." What does it come from? Pistis, which means "faith." When I believe, I put my belief, my trust, in somebody and what they’ve done and who they are. What does it mean to put your trust into someone? It comes from the word peitho, which means "to be persuaded to the point that I’m overwhelmed to surrender." Surrender is built into the word. It doesn’t mean you understand at the moment that you receive Christ, but God looks at your heart. Man looks on the outside. When a person is overwhelmed by the Deity of Christ then he is brought to a place of bowing and surrender. Until that happens there has not yet been belief. Belief is more than the intellect. Belief is more than emotion. Belief has something to do with the will of an individual.
Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6. What did he do? He fell to his knees and said, "I am a man of unclean lips." You cannot see who He is as revealed by the Holy Spirit to your heart until you’re willing to surrender. When you see Him you bow, and that bowing is what that belief is all about. The way I receive Him is by surrendering myself to Him. You see, Jesus is not just the truth. He’s not just the life. He is the Way. When we come to Him we realize our way has been wrong.
What are we saved from and what are we saved to? Those are questions we must ask. One of the problems with people believing they can lose their salvation is a watered-down plan of salvation. It’s not biblical. Therefore, they don’t know what believe means. They come out with all kinds of ideas about it. Certainly I can understand why some people would say, "Well, that person must have lost his salvation because no Christian could live that way." That’s the first point. But I want us to go much deeper than that. Let’s look here in verse 13: "you were sealed (5681) in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."
Now this is what I’ve been wanting to get to. What does it mean to be sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise? The word "sealed" is sphragizo. It’s in the aorist passive. Aorist tense (5681) means at a specific point and time. [see RWP, Torrey's Topic] It agrees with the participles used earlier, "having believed" and "having listened." It all happens almost simultaneously. A person hears it. That word "listen" doesn’t mean just to hear. It means "to hear and understand with a willingness to cooperate," and when that person hears it, and that person believes it, at that very moment the Spirit of God examines that man’s heart and seals him in the Holy Spirit of promise. It all happens at the very moment of belief. When I’ve heard and under-stood, I’ve received, I believed, that sealing takes place right then. The process of sealing had three basic meanings throughout Scripture. Later we’re going to look at those three and show you how the Holy Spirit, who is the seal, does all these things.
SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE
1) First of all, it was done to confirm that something was genuine.
I was reading a magazine this past week. In the magazine there was an article about a Rolex watch, a presidential Rolex Watch. While I was looking at it I was thinking, "Wow, those things cost thousands and thousands of dollars, they tell me." Then I looked at what it said at the bottom of it. It said, "Originally advertised at $99.99, but on this sale alone it’s for $20." I thought to myself, "Wait a minute. It’s a Rolex, a presidential Rolex. It costs more that $99, I know." Then I looked at the bottom. It said, "Exact replica of a Rolex. It even fools the Jewelers." I got to thinking. Anything man seals can always be duplicated. But what God seals, friend, you better pay attention to. When God seals something, it’s proven to be genuine.
2) Secondly, it means to mark as your own property.
In other words, if you had your seal stamped on it, it meant it was yours. There was an official ring that the king would have, and he would put his seal on things. It was official property, a piece of one’s own possession.
3) Thirdly, it meant to make sure that something was secure.
I can’t wait to show you this in Ephesians chapter 4. It means to make sure that something was secure. It’s sealed, not by man, but by the Holy Spirit of promise.
Before we draw any more conclusions, I want to show you something here. It just emerges out of the text. He says, "you’re sealed." What is the seal that God puts on us when we believe after having heard the gospel of Jesus Christ? The seal is the Holy Spirit of promise.
Now when was the Holy Spirit promised and who was He promised to? Turn with me, if you would, to Jer 31:31. Let me read for you Jeremiah 1:16 while you’re finding your place. This is what’s going on at the time these words are spoken. God says through His prophet,
"I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands."
This was a terrible time in the history of God’s people. The tribes had split under Rehoboam’s reign. Ten tribes had gone North, and were called Israel. Two tribes had gone to the South, and they are called Judah. In the midst of all that calamity, about to be overtaken by the Babylonian empire, about to be taken out of their land for seventy years, God promises something that we need to pay close attention to.
A NEW COVENANT
Look at Jer 31:31:
Israel has already been taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Judah is left, and yet God has not forgotten His people. He says to Israel, the ten tribes of the north, and to Judah, the ones that are about to be overtaken by Nebuchadnezzar, "I will make a new covenant with you." Now what He’s saying is, "I’m going to do something radically different inside you, not outside you, but inside you." Every covenant they have been under, the covenant of law, had to do with their works on the outside. It could not do anything to them on the inside. God says, "I’m going to give you a new covenant and when that new covenant comes, I’m going to do something within you. It’s not going to be like this any more. It’s not going to be like my people running off to other gods, running off and rebelling and not wanting to even mention my name. No sir! I’m going to make something different with you. I’m going to change you from within instead of without."
So, the promises of the new covenant begin to unfold. Look in verse 33. He promises,
"But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people"
God says, "I’m going to change you so radically inside, I’m going to write my Law on your heart." Listen, this was written at a time when they had lost His Law. As a matter of fact, when they came back from the Babylonian captivity they found the law. Nehemiah read it at the Watergate, and when he read it, the people fell down and prostrated themselves before God and said, "Oh God, how could we get this far away from your Law?" (Neh 8:9-12) So they came up with two groups of people, one the scribes and the other the Pharisees. The scribes were to continue to read that Law so the people couldn’t stray so far the next time. The Pharisees were their police force to make sure the people did what the scribes came up with. God said, "It’s not going to be like that anymore. You’re not going to be able to walk away from it. You’re not going to be able to just turn your back on it. I’m going to write my Law within you. It will be written on your heart." What a radical difference for Israel. You can walk away from church, folks, you can walk away from your Bible, but if you’re in the new covenant, you can’t walk away from the Law of God. It’s inside of you, written on your heart. You cannot sin and continue to sin and continue to sin. God’s Law is written on your heart.
Verse 33 goes on to say something that I think is very, very important. It says, "and I will be their God,." Now you may think that’s insignificant. Who was their God right now? Things made by human hands. What is God saying? "There’s going to come a day when I’m going to do something so radical inside of you, I’m going to change you so that you won’t be chasing after other gods, and if you do it won’t be for long. You’ll be so miserable you’ll run back to me. I will always be your God." But He goes on to say, "and they shall be My people. They won’t be ashamed of Me anymore. They won’t be like Jonah, on a boat, who was ashamed to tell them that he was a Hebrew and a servant of God running from his own God. No, it won’t be like that anymore. They will be my people. I will be their God. Israel, Judah, look up. I’m promising you a new covenant. I’m going to do something radically different within you that’s going to change you from the inside out." God says, "I’m going to do something brand new with you. I will never turn My back on you to do good to you." In other words, God says, "I’ll have such a relationship with you that you can trust Me all the days of your life that whatever I do in your life is good. It will never be for harm because we’ll have a relationship that we don’t really have right now. It’ll
be from within, not from without."
Well, let’s turn to Ezekiel 11:19 and find something else about the new covenant that was promised to Israel and to Judah. These are two of the specific prophets God used to tell them of an upcoming covenant that was absolutely brand new, a radical new covenant. The word chadash, [for a real blessing see 6 uses Psalms in & 8 in Isaiah] means "brand new, never before understood nor seen." [Ed note: Greek for "new" = kainos] If you’re in the old covenant, yes, you can "prove" that you can lose your salvation, absolutely. But because of the new covenant you can’t do it. It’s brand new. God’s doing something from within. In Ezek 11:19 it says,
And I will give them one heart, & put a NEW spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh & give them a heart of flesh,"
What He’s doing here is so beautiful if you can see it. He’s contrasting something. How yielding is stone? Stone doesn’t yield. It’s hard. It’s unyielding. How yielding is flesh, a piece of soft flesh? You know what soft flesh feels like if you’ve ever handled a piece of raw meat. It says, "I will give you a brand new heart. This heart within you will be changed so that you will want to obey Me. [see also Ezek 36:26-27] You will not be like you’ve been up until now with hearts of stone. You’re going to have hearts that are yielded. I’m going to put a brand new spirit within you. Oh Israel, Judah, I’m going to do something so radically different you’ll never again be the same. I’m going to change you."
Who was it first promised to? It was promised first of all in the new covenant promise to Israel and to Judah. Once He comes into a person’s heart, He radically does some house cleaning. He runs the devil out of here. The blood of Jesus has already cleansed the vessel, and now the Holy Spirit has moved in. When He moves in He says, "I will cause you to walk in my statutes."
Remember this. The Holy Spirit is not an "it". He’s a "He". He’s a person. The person of the third person of the Trinity is going to come into our lives and will bear out all the promises God made in the new covenant. This is why the Lord Jesus had such a hard time with His disciples. They were slow to understand what Jesus was telling them. Jesus sat down with them and said, "Look guys, I’ve got to go back to the Father." They were looking at Him and asked, "Why do you have to go back to the Father?" What is the whole new covenant hinging on? The Holy Spirit coming to live in our lives. He says, "If I don’t go back, then the Comforter can’t come." [Jn14:25-27] The Comforter coming is the beginning of this new covenant that He promised to Israel and Judah.
Look in John 14:16. Jesus is trying His best to help them understand why He’s got to go back to the Father which includes going to the cross and dying for our sin. Obviously, He has not been there, yet. Verse 16 says,
"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever."
The word "another" [allos] means "of exactly the same kind." He’s going to be the Spirit of Christ. Some people say, "Yes, I received Jesus, but I haven’t received the. Holy Spirit." Folks don’t make three Gods out of Him. He’s one God in three persons. You can’t receive Jesus without receiving His Spirit. They’re synonymous. That’s the mystery of the Godhead.
Jn14:16-17 "I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever. 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know (5719) Him because He abides with you and will be in you"
When was He promised to be in you? "I will put My spirit within them, saith the Lord." Look in John 16:7. It says,
"But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go , I will send Him to you."
Now do you understand what took place in Acts 2:1-2? Here are the disciples, waiting, and all of a sudden the Lord comes and speaks to them and says, "In a very short time you will receive power." [Acts1:8] Then chapter 2 talks about the Holy Spirit of God coming. What a historical event. It was first promised to Israel and to Judah, a promise of the new covenant . It was the inauguration of the new covenant. Jesus was the Lamb sacrificed. Until His blood was shed and He had gone back the Spirit could not come. Now the Spirit comes at Pentecost, and when He comes He comes to dwell in the hearts and lives of those who believe. That was the inauguration of the new covenant. It was promised to Israel and promised to Judah.
How in the world can the Gentile be a part of a covenant promise to Israel and to Judah? You’ve got to remember that He promised to Abraham that Israel was for a reason. They were to protect a seed that would come through them, through Judah, through David and on down finally to be the Lord Jesus Christ. That Seed, Galatians 3 says, is Jesus. (Gal 3:16) It’s through Jesus that all the nations now are allowed in. Look in Eph 2:11. He says,
"Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "Uncircumcision " by the so-called (5746) "Circumcision… "
These were those Jews who, at the time Paul was writing this, got on his case when he went over to Jerusalem, because he even told the Gentiles they could be saved. He even told the Gentiles they could be allowed into covenants. They accused him of defaming the Jewish nation, defaming the temple, and defaming the law. They were just jealous because they didn’t want anybody else to be allowed into what God had promised. It says,
Ephesians 2:11b-12a: "which is performed in the flesh by human hands— remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise … "
What covenants of promise? The Abrahamic, the Davidic and the new covenant. The Gentiles were strangers to all of it. They didn’t even know what you were talking about:
Ephesians 2:12b-13: "… having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.."
Folks, here’s the door opening up for all nations to be blessed. Christ had to come through Judah, through David, right on down just like He was prophesied to come. When He came and went to the cross, shedding His blood, vindicated by the Father as to who He was [Ro3:23-26], that door swung open [Mt 27:50-51, Mk 15:38, Lu 23:45, Heb10:19-24]. Now Jew or Gentile is allowed into the same covenant of promises given to Israel and to Judah.
Ephesians 2:14-18 "For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father."
What is Paul trying to say? He’s trying to say to those Gentiles, "We have an inheritance. Jewish believers have an inheritance. But Gentiles, you have an inheritance, and you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. That Spirit that was promised to us is now yours, made possible through the Lord Jesus Christ who brings us both from two groups into one." We have been brought into that "new covenant" [see 8 uses]. The promises, all the promises, Corinthians tells us, in Jesus are "Yes and Amen." They’re all ours in Him. So the door swung open. What was promised to Israel and Judah becomes ours through Jesus because of the blood that He shed for us on the cross. What does that mean? That means we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. That seal proves that we’re genuine believers. What is the mark of the believer? It’s the Holy Spirit of God being in his life. That’s what it is. We are "God's own possession." He’s proof of that. Not only that, we’re sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. He is there to secure us, to make sure that we are kept.
Look at Eph 4:30: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were SEALED for the day of redemption."
"I thought I have already been redeemed?" We have, but we’re going to be redeemed, not just from the power and the penalty of sin, but from the presence of sin. (Ro 8:23) God says, "I’m making certain that you’re going to make it. I’ve sealed you with my own seal. My Spirit is in you." It will keep you until the day of redemption when we go into the presence of the Father. That’s when we fully understand what salvation really is all about. ["future tense salvation"]
"Brother Wayne, I think I can lose my salvation." Do you understand salvation? Do you understand the new covenant? (XR's) Do you understand we are made new creatures, brand new creatures in Christ? (2Co5:17) Do you understand the Holy Spirit of God has come to live within us and change us from within? How can we lose a salvation that begins from within and works itself out?
EPHESIANS 1:13-15: THE SECURITY OF OUR REDEMPTION, PART 2
Will you turn with me to Ephesians. We’ve been talking about the marvel of our redemption. We saw the sphere of our redemption. God did not exclude Israel, but that’s not the point. He included you and me in the inheritance that is promised one day. We saw the standard of our redemption. Is saying "I’m saved" enough? Well, the key is have you heard the truth of the gospel of your salvation and have you believed? If you’ve done that, then you know that you’ve met the standard of what salvation is from God’s Word. Now we’re looking at the security of our redemption. There are three things that I want you to see.
First of all, the security of our redemption is marked by His seal. That’s very important to see. It is marked by His seal. Now look at verse 13 again. We’ve been focusing on that. He’s speaking to a Gentile audience. Paul, a Jewish convert, is writing to Gentiles that have been converted seeking to assure them that the Jewish believers got no more or no less than the Gentile believers. We’ve all been made one in Christ Jesus.
"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"
We are marked by a seal. That seal is the Holy Spirit of promise.
We looked at the fact that the Holy Spirit was first promised to Israel. It’s all involved in the promise of the new covenant, the covenant that we’re in through the Lord Jesus Christ, the better covenant built on better promises. Now you know the promise of the new covenant was the promise of what God will do with Israel and Judah. He’s offered to them the opportunity of being changed from within, not from without. What the Law could not do, grace would do. A person would be changed from within. Now the key to the whole new covenant is the ingredient of the Holy Spirit of God coming to dwell in the life of a believer. That’s when the change takes place, when His Spirit and my spirit are made one. Now He promised that to Israel and to Judah. We are allowed into the spiritual promises of the new covenant, not the external promises, not the land. That’s for them. As for the spiritual promises, we have been allowed into the very same thing that they were promised according to Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
Now we have already seen that in Eph 2:11-22. I won’t go back and read it again. We were brought near by the blood of Christ. You see, Israel was a nation holy unto God among pagan people on this earth. In that nation God kept them together so that a seed could come through it, through the tribe of Judah, and down through David. Of course, that was the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Gal 3:16 for a review. It was through that seed, the person of Christ, and what He would do for us on the cross that the door was opened up to us into the promises and the covenant that were once promised solely to Israel and Judah. That’s what he says in Eph 2:11-22. We were allowed access. So therefore, Paul, writing to the Gentile believers in Ephesus, is just simply saying, "Hey, what we received you also received. We have an inheritance as those who hoped in Christ first, but also you the Gentiles have believed, and now you’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, the pledge of our inheritance."
Now this new (of a new kind, unprecedented) covenant, as I said, was a promise to change a person from within. This is all still review, so stay with me. By the Holy Spirit’s coming into the believer, what do we have? We now have His Law written on our hearts. The divine referee lives within us. We know when we’ve sinned. We might not understand it all, but we know when we’ve transgressed the will of God. God is always blessing or chastening us, and when He is chastening us all the blessings seem to disappear. All the reality of His presence seems to disappear. All the reality of His power seems to disappear. A Christian is most miserable when he sins. Why? Because the Holy Spirit lives in that individual’s life. The Law is written on his heart. We have a new relationship and allegiance to God. He says, "You will be my people and I will be your God." That’s the key. "You’re not going to run to this god and that god and this god and that god. I’m going to give you a new covenant. I’m going to radically change you from within. You may try one for a while but you’ll hurry back because my Spirit is within you."
You know, that seems to imply something to me. That means that we’re drawn to each other as believers. If we’re drawn to Him, and we have a new relationship to Him we have a new relationship to one another. We’re drawn to other believers. We are compelled from within to defend the name of our Father. It’s a brand new relationship, not like the old covenant. We know that because the Holy Spirit now lives in us, and we know Him in an intimate way. We know God in an intimate way. We have a oneness with Him that we didn’t have before. Now that needs to be cultivated. We’re not talking about perfection, but we have that potential now within us. Why? Because the third person of the Trinity lives within us and causes us to be able to know something that we couldn’t have known before. John says He becomes our teacher. We’re changed from within. God will never turn His back on us as His children. We have that promise. Isn’t that wonderful? We have the promise that God will never turn His back upon us. So we know whatever happens in our life God is doing something that is good.
Recently I was supposed to be at the First Baptist Church of Mt. Dora, Florida. I was caught in a blizzard in Marietta, Georgia, and a tornado hit the First Baptist Church of Mt. Dora. I finally got hold of the pastor a couple of days later, and I said, "Bob, do you think we might have missed God on this one? We had the worse storm in a hundred years, I was stuck in a blizzard in Marietta, and a tornado wipes out your church." Well, we kind of chuckled over it, but isn’t it wonderful to know that whatever went on, it was for our good? God never does anything except for our good.
We’re in a brand new relationship with Him, not like Israel was when Hosea said He even gave them a writ of divorcement. Oh no! We’re now His children. The Holy Spirit of God lives within us and marks us as His own.
Well, not only that, we’ll never turn away from Him it says in the promise of the new covenant. We’ll never turn away from Him. I love the argument that some people use. "Oh I can lose my salvation. My God will never turn away from me, but I can turn away from God." How are you going to do that when God said in the promise of the new covenant, "They shall not turn away from Me. I will cause them to walk in My statutes." One thing we tend to overlook. We are going to be changed from within.
Well, in our text in Eph 1:13 it says we are marked by His seal. Once you have believed, after having heard the gospel of your salvation, you are sealed in Him. At the moment God examines your heart and sees your willingness to surrender. At that very moment He seals you with the Holy Spirit of promise.
What does it mean to be sealed? What does it mean to be marked with the seal of His Spirit?
First of all, a seal was used in that day to prove that something was genuine.
Secondly, it was used to mark something as one’s own possession.
Thirdly, it was used to make sure something was secure.
Now I want to show you how the Holy Spirit is in us. He was promised first to Israel and Judah. Now we’re allowed to be a part of it because of Christ. I want to show you how He does all three things. Look in Ro8:16. First of all, He proves that we’re believers, that we’re genuine, that we’re not a mockery. How do you know that somebody is a believer in Jesus Christ? By the obvious work of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life. I was reading something recently about this verse, and it said that D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones got into this verse and spent about four chapters in it because he felt it was so important for believers to understand the transforming work of the Holy Spirit of God.
What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Verse 16 says,
"The Spirit Himself testifies (bears witness) with our spirit that we are children of God."
Do you want to know whether or not you’re genuine? Don’t ask your brother or your sister. Paul says that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, will bear witness to you that you’re a child of God. If He has not borne witness that you’re a child, then somehow maybe you’ve missed it. The Spirit is given as a mark to make sure that we know that we are secure. He marks us as genuine. The mark of the new covenant on the believer is the Holy Spirit being in that individual’s life.
You ask, "Wayne, how in the world could He bear witness?" Well, I’ll give you just one idea. He’ll convict you of sin. What is it within us that convicts us of sin? Only the Holy Spirit of God. One of the greatest ways to know that you’re His child is the chastisement you go through when you willfully transgress His will [Heb12:4-11]. It doesn’t take you long to figure it out. I know there’s a problem when all of a sudden the joy leaves my life, when all of sudden I become critical and judgmental, when all of sudden everybody else is wrong and I’m the only person that’s right. God inside of me is saying, "Wayne, pay attention to Me. You’ve transgressed My will, and now you’re not enjoying My presence." So I run back to the cross. Listen, when you ask Him, "God what have I done?", He’ll tell you straight, and then you deal with it, and the joy returns. That’s the working of the Holy Spirit. That’s the witness that He has in your life. That’s just one of them. Another of them would be the manifestation of the life of Christ, when all of a sudden you can love someone who is unlovable. All of sudden you see a change inside of you, and all of a sudden people don’t seem to be the problem they used to be, and all of sudden you start handling circumstances differently. A witness of the Holy Spirit of God in your spirit that you are God’s child. That’s what He’s there for, to let you know.
Secondly, not only does He mark us as being genuine by His presence in our life, He marks us as being God’s own possession. Look in Ro 8:9. Have you ever heard somebody say, "I’ve been in the flesh?" Well, we can’t be in the flesh any more. We can be "after" it, but not "in" it.
"However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."
It marks someone as God’s own possession. When that Spirit is in you He’s convicting you of sin and doing all the other things He was sent to do in your life. You begin to see the obvious witness of His working within you. You know immediately you belong to God because it marks you as God’s own possession, therefore, securing your redemption.
But then thirdly, He makes sure that we are secure. Look in Eph 4:30.
The day of redemption. We’re going to look at the day of redemption later. "I thought, Brother Wayne, the day of redemption has already come in my life." Part of it has, but the picture’s not complete yet. There is another day of redemption that is coming when we shall be taken to be with Him, released from the presence of sin (Ro8:23-25). Now wait a minute! Wait a minute! Now listen! We are sealed. What for? So that we can be secure until the day of redemption.
How do we know that we’re secure in our redemption?
We are marked by His seal. Secondly, we know that we’re secure in our redemption because it is anchored by His promise. It is marked by His seal and anchored by His promise. Folks, you can’t get around the fact that when God promises something, God is faithful to deliver it. Let’s go back to our text, Eph1:14. By the way, the word " promise," there (Eph1:13), "Spirit of promise," that’s a legal term. It’s given by grace and not negotiation. I like that. Israel didn’t negotiate with God on the new covenant. God just gave it by grace. It was a promise. It was a legal term which meant when God promises something He is bound by His promise to carry it out. But that doesn’t cost you anything.
Verse 14, "Who is given (5748) [speaking of the Spirit] as a pledge (KJV = "earnest" like "earnest money") of our inheritance." Why is the Holy Spirit given? He’s given as a pledge of our inheritance. It’s not the inheritance that we have in Christ right now. It’s the inheritance that we have that is coming one day. The day of redemption will kick that into gear. It is given as a pledge of our inheritance. The phrase "Who is given" is important. It’s not "which is given." The Holy Spirit is not an "it". He’s a Person. He lives in you. He’s sensitive. He’s a person. He feels. He thinks. He wills in your life. You have another person living in you. His Spirit has joined my spirit.
Now what does it mean "a pledge of our inheritance?"
"A pledge" (EBD, ISBE, "arrabon" in Vines) is the word that means "something that is paid as a down payment to assure that the full payment will come later on." You can find countless experiences of men where they have failed in coming through in what they said they were going to do. But we’re not dealing with men, folks. We’re dealing with God, and God says, "I sealed you with my Holy Spirit as a pledge of your inheritance."
Let’s go back over what we learned earlier about the Holy Spirit being in your life. Every day He lets you know when sin is there. Everyday He lets you know when you’re displeasing to God. He convicts you and brings you to the cross so you can deal with that sin. Every single day He reminds you that you’ve been birthed into a holy family, a heavenly family. He begins to help you find brothers and sisters in Christ. You find a relationship with others that you’ve never known before. Every day His being in your life is giving you a brand new desire to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Every day He cries out, "Abba Father" within you. You have the victories that you have because of the Holy Spirit being in your life, every single one of them. We could have testimonies. Hundreds of people could come up and tell what Jesus did last week. We could sum it all up and say, "All that is in earnest that the full payment is yet to come."
You find some Christians that aren’t even living under the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and they’re as miserable as they could possibly be. That’s good evidence that they’re God’s children, but it’s also good evidence that they’re God’s disobedient children. They’re not willing to walk. We have at least 49 commands in Ephesians. If you think we’re talking about perfection, forget it. He’s got to write to a church and tell them first of all whose they are and what they are. Then he’s got to remind them of how they ought to be living. Maybe you’re not living that way. Maybe this doesn’t grab you. Maybe you’re not walking in the victory of the Spirit of God. Maybe God has not been allowed to produce unconditional love to somebody whose been treating you like a rat for weeks and weeks and weeks. Maybe you haven’t been able to forgive yet. When you start trusting Christ, and when Christ starts doing something and His Holy Spirit starts manifesting the character of Christ in your life, then you start living unconditionally. You start forgiving other people. You only want to be at peace with them. That’s victory. That victory you’re having in the Spirit is only the earnest of your inheritance. The best is yet to come. God says the Spirit-filled life, the Christ-centered life, the Christ- filled life, the Christ life, however you want to say it, is simply the earnest of your inheritance. It’s a down payment. It’s a promise. If I have a victory in the Spirit tomorrow it’s a promise of what is yet to come in my walk with Him. Listen, the security of our redemption is marked by His seal. It is anchored to His promise. The Holy Spirit is given as God’s way of assuring us that we’ll receive full payment later on.
There’s one more thing that I want you to see in that verse. It is fulfilled by His power. By fulfilled, I simply mean, the purpose of His putting the Spirit in our life is brought to its conclusion. It’s all fulfilled by His power. Look again at verse 14: "… who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view… " Now that term "with a view " is the little term eis. It means "motion toward something." In other words, when God put the Spirit in our life, that is not the end. That is the beginning. Oh, so many Christians misunderstand that. The whole thing is our being transformed.
Listen, some people say Jesus loves you just like you are. That’s true, but it’s not true. It’s true in the sense He understands you, and His love is unconditional. But it’s not true that He loves us the way we’re living right now. God wants us to be perfect before Him, and one day it’s going to be made complete. It will only be affected by the day of our redemption. We’ll never see it down here. One day we’ll be delivered and taken out of here and changed. When we see Christ we’ll be like Him. That’s when we’ll understand the purpose of our salvation. Salvation is a beginning, not the end. It’s going to be fulfilled by His power.
He says, "… with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory" As a matter of fact, we’re in a metamorphosis. There’s a metamorphosis taking place in our life. Look back in Romans 12 just for a second, and let me show you that it’s a process, not something that happens overnight. Yes, we’re brand new creatures, but we’re not perfect creatures. It begins there, and the metamorphosis here is something that is progressive. It says in Ro 12:2,
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed ("metamorphoo") by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." (Click here for exposition of Ro12:2)
We’re on a journey down here. While we’re on this journey the Holy Spirit of God has been given to us to perfect us in the character of Christ and to conform us in the image of God. When we get into the Word of God we’ve got to make choices. There’s a whole lot involved in the process of sanctification [see Jehovah Mekeddeshem, LORD Who Sanctifies]. Metamorphosis is like a caterpillar walking around, that ugly little creature. One day it gets in that cocoon, and what happens? He emerges as a butterfly. Totally different. Well some people think that’s immediately what Christianity is. Well, no. It starts the process. The process goes on until the day of our redemption. Then one day, boom, out of this cocoon we come. We’re different. We’re glorified. Then we’ll understand what our Christianity is all about.
So therefore, the security of our redemption is not only marked with "H" as seal, not only is it anchored by His promise, but it’s going to be realized by His power. Only God Himself could keep us secure in our redemption until the day of our redemption. Only God could do that. Nobody else could. We’re His own possession. And He will make sure to it that we go all the way through the process until one day we can be redeemed into His presence. As a matter of fact, the word there for "redeemed" [apolutrosis in Eph 1:7] is the word that means "to be released from something." We studied that in Eph1: 7. If you’ll go back to verse 7 of Ephesians 1 you’ll see it. Verse 7 says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood… "
Now we’ve already got that, but it’s in three phases.
REDEMPTION IN 3 PHASES
(1) When we first receive the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit comes into our life. We are released from the penalty of sin [Ed note: Equates with "past" tense salvation = justification].
(2) Not only that, we are now being released from the power of sin as we let the Holy Spirit dominate our lives. [Ed note: "present" tense salvation = sanctification]
(3) But one day at the day of redemption, we’ll be released from the presence of sin. [Ed note; "future" tense salvation = glorification. See the Relationship of Justified, Sanctified, Glorified] That’s when we finally come out of the cocoon. God changes us completely. That’s what it’s been all about. That is only the beginning, folks. The best is yet to come.
Well, all of this should result in His praise. In the last part of our text, Ephesians 1:14, he says, "… to the praise of His glory." He ought to be praised daily. You know, I was thinking about this whole process. too. The little children sing a song, "We’re under construction. God’s not finished with us yet." (cf Phil1:6, 1Th5:24, Spurgeon) That’s it! That’s is! We’re under construction. Salvation starts the process. Guess who the "Carpenter" is? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, who was a pretty good carpenter Himself when He walked on this earth. He’s in us to conform us to the image of Christ. Then one day we’ll put on those white robes, and we’ll just sing, "Glory to the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb." You see, He’s going to take us all the way through the process. The full payment of what we’re looking forward to is yet to come.
It is marked by His seal. Not only is it marked by His seal, it’s anchored by His promise. It will be realized by His power, and it all should result in His praise. Now I want you to know that I’m not upset with somebody who believes you can lose your salvation. Personally I think I would like to have a few of those people around. If you believe that you can lose your salvation, I just want to ask you a question. How many sins would it take for you to lose it? Well, if sin is all the same in God’s eyes, then evidently one. Alright. I want you to hang as close to me as you possibly can because we’ve got a lot of work to do before Jesus comes. You see, people who say they believe it have never thought it all the way through.
How in the world are you going to get a Christian unsaved? No possible way!
Our security is nailed right here in this text. And that’s why Paul says to those Gentiles, "I wish you could understand. I pray that you might understand what I’m trying to tell you. What God has done is glorious and should result in all the praise going to Him." Oh, the marvel of our redemption. The sphere of it, we’re included. That just blows me away. Gentiles are included. Pagans like us. No covenants, no promise, but we’ve been allowed in by the blood of Christ. That just overwhelms me. The standard of it. Don’t just go around telling people you’re saved. Make sure that you’ve done what the Bible says to do to be saved. Make sure you understand belief is not just mentally understanding or emotionally feeling something. It’s an attitude of the will also. That’s still a part of us. There’s that surrender. Call it what you want to call it. But there’s that willingness to bow and surrender. That’s the way you receive Him. Oh, many came and committed them-selves to Him, but He wouldn’t commit Himself to them, John tells us, because of the attitude of the hearts of those men. He knew their motives. They came with their hand out and not with their hearts bowed. Then remember the security of our redemption. It’s secure. You don’t have to worry about it. Thank God we’re not basing this on men’s promises. We’re basing this on God’s promises. If you’re saved you’re always saved. It won’t be anything you do to your credit. It will be to the integrity of a God who loves us enough to see to it that it’s done.