Ephesians 1:13-14 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

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, (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: en o kai humeis akousantes (AAPMPN) ton logon tes aletheias, to euaggelion tes soterias humon, en o kai pisteusantes (AAPMPN) esphragisthete (2PAPI) to pneumati tes epaggelias to hagio,

Amplified: In Him you also who have heard the Word of Truth, the glad tidings (Gospel) of your salvation, and have believed in and adhered to and relied on Him, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy Spirit. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: And it was in Christ that it was determined that you, too, should become the means whereby God’s glory is praised, after you had heard the word which brings the truth, the good news of your salvation—that good news, in which, after you had come to believe, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit, who had been promised to you,

ESV: In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

KJV: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

NET: And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)– when you believed in Christ– you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit,

NLT: And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: And you too trusted Him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to Him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: in whom also, as for you, having heard the word of the truth, the good news of your salvation, in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Spirit of the promise, the Holy Spirit, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Young's Literal: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth -- the good news of your salvation -- in whom also having believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,

IN HIM, YOU ALSO, AFTER LISTENING TO THE MESSAGE OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION: en o kai humeis akousantes (AAPMPN) ton logon tes aletheias, to euaggelion tes soterias humon:

  • You also - Eph 2:11,12; Colossians 1:21, 22, 23; 1Peter 2:10
  • After listening - Eph 4:21; John 1:17; Romans 6:17; 10:14, 15, 16, 17; Colossians 1:4, 5, 6,23; 1Thessalonians 2:13
  • The message of truth - Ps 119:43; 2Corinthians 6:7; 2Timothy 2:15; James 1:18
  • The Gospel  - Mark 16:15,16; Acts 13:26; Romans 1:16; 2Timothy 3:15; Titus 2:11; He 2:3
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


In Christ there are no "have's" and "have not's" for all are made complete in Him (Col 2:10+) In Christ is our address for the rest of time and eternity. It speaks of union, oneness, covenant and communion. He is now our life (Col 3:3+), but it will take the rest of our days on earth to even mine a fraction of the treasure in that profound truth! That's called progressive sanctification, becoming more and more like Christ. 

In Him (846) (en autos) refers to Jesus Christ (Ep 1:10), the ground or source our inheritance --Here we see the believer’s divine inheritance in Jesus Christ from our own human perspective."

In Him in Ephesians - Eph 1:4, 7, 9, 10, 13; 3:12; 4:21

In Christ (Jesus) in Ephesians - Eph 1:1, 3, 10, 12, 20; 2:6, 7, 10, 13; 3:6, 11, 21; 4:32

In Him (in Christ, in Christ Jesus) is a major teaching in all of Paul's writings. In Christ means in the sphere of Christ. In Christ defines every saint's eternal, permanent, spiritual location, the spiritual "address" and the "spiritual atmosphere" as it were in which we now live and breathe and have our being. Indeed, as Paul reminds the saints at Colossae, "Christ is your life" (Col 3:4-note).

In Christ is now and forever our new position and new sphere of existence. Before we were born again into the Kingdom of God (Jn 3:3,5), our existence was in Adam (1Co 15:22, Ro 5:12-note = spiritually dead and under the dominion [supreme authority, power, jurisdiction, sway, control, absolute ownership] of the Sin "virus" we inherited from Adam - see Adam in the NT), in the flesh (under the dominion of the flesh - note, believers can and do still "act fleshly" [speaking from personal experience] but strictly speaking are no longer "in the flesh" - see Ro 8:9-note, 2Co10:3-note Gal 2:20-note use "in the flesh" to refer to the human body not the "anti-God" influence), in (under the influence of) the world (were are citizens of heaven and not "of the world", Jn 17:14, 16, Php 3:20-note > Are you "eagerly waiting for Him?"), and in the kingdom of the Devil (unbelievers are under his dominion - Acts 26:18, Col 1:13-note). In the Upper Room Discourse just prior to His crucifixion Jesus alluded to the idea of in Christ when He declared...

In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (Jn 14:20).

Related Resources:

Elmer Towns on Union with God = The Christian's standing or his new position in heaven is described in Scripture by the phrase "in Christ." This expression is used 172 times in the New Testament in connection with virtually every aspect of Christian experience. The experience of being placed in Christ occurs at conversion as the Holy Spirit puts us into the Lord Jesus Christ and we enjoy the perfection of Christ in the heavenlies. It is usually not until much later, however, that many Christians experience the reality of this truth. Being "in Christ" is a description of the Christian not only at conversion, but also throughout his or her Christian life. In identifying the believer's position "in Christ," Paul hints at the intimacy that exists between the Christian and Christ. As the child in its mother's womb is an individual personality while being very much a part of its mother, so the Christian retains his or her individual personality while being in Christ. This expression describes the intimacy of the Christ/Christian relationship more than any other biblical expression or illustration of that relationship. (From his book The Names of the Holy Spirit)

Listening (191) (akouo) means to hear with attention, hear with the "ear of the mind". The idea is to hear effectually as to perform or grant what is spoken. Listen or pay attention to a person with resulting conformity to what is advised or commanded. The context often implies to hear and obey (the old word "heed" conveys this sense).

Jesus gives us some insight into who will listen, hear and heed the Gospel declaring that "“He who is of God hears the words of God (THE LOGOS OF TRUTH); for this reason you (JEWS WHO HAD OSTENSIBLY BELIEVED - Jn 8:30-31!) do not hear them, because you are not of God.” (Jn 8:47)

As we "live out the Gospel" before others, the message we "speak" with our life will provide an opportunity to speak the Gospel with our lips. Notice that Paul says "listening" implying the Gospel has to be proclaimed or spoken.

THOUGHT - Beloved, have you ever shared the "old, old story of Jesus and His love" to anyone you dearly love? If not, may the Spirit of God give you boldness in Christ to do so for His glory. Amen. As Paul rhetorically asked the saints at Rome...

How then (see Ro 10:13+) shall they call upon Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him (Jesus) Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And How shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS! (See Isaiah 40:9, 41:27, 52:7, 60:6, 61:1, Nahum 1:15)" (Ro 10:14, 15+)

Comment: In the Septuagint (Lxx) the verb for "bring glad tidings of good news" is euaggelizo/euangelizo - here are some uses of "good news" [only some of which are used in the sense of the "good news" of the Gospel] in the non-apocryphal Lxx - 1Sa 31:9; 2Sa 4:10; 18:19, 20, 26, 31; 1Kgs 1:42; 1Chr 10:9; Isa 40:9; 52:7; 60:6; 61:1. Remember also that the Gospel was preached in the Old Testament as Paul taught us in Galatians 3:8+ (Compare Ge 12:3+, Ge 15:6, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4, 28:14, 49:10. See also Hebrews 4:2+).

Someone has said "Preach the Gospel always, And if necessary, use words." While this pithy statement has some truth (i.e., let you behavior authenticate your belief), it is also somewhat misleading because it is always necessary to use words to communicate the bad news of man's sin problem and the good news of God's provision for that problem through belief in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. A more accurate way to say it is as we live out the Gospel in the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit before unbelievers, they will see our lives as testimony to the truth of the Gospel and hopefully our transformed lives will motivate them to ask us how this has taken place (cf 1 Pe 3:15+).


I see a bit of a play on words (pun intended) here for "word" is logos and in John 1:1 Jesus is the "Logos" and in John 14:6 He is "The Truth." 

Message (3056) (logos) means intelligence, word as the expression of that intelligence. Both act of speaking and thing spoken. Here the GOOD NEWS that God has provided a way of salvation through the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ"

The message of truth - This could be rendered the "Word of truth" which in this context is a synonym for the Gospel ("Word of Truth" occurs in Ps 119:43, 2Cor 6:7, Col 1:5-note, 2Ti 2:15-note, James 1:18-note). The Pulpit Commentary adds...

It is the “Word of truth”—not cunningly devised fables or illusory dreams of men; for it comes from the God of truth, it has Christ the Truth for its substance, and the Spirit of truth applies it by imparting a true spiritual discernment of its meaning. (Ephesians 1:13 The Means of Salvation)

See also "The Word of the Lord" used as a synonym for the Gospel in the following contexts - 1Thes 1:8-note, 2Th 3:1, 1Pet 1:25-note (see 1Pe 1:23, 24-note).

Paul writes that 

(The Colossian's saints have love for all the saints - Col 1:4+) because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the Gospel (Observe: [1] Gospel must be communicated so that it can be heard and [2] Gospel conveys "hope" [see word study]", not a "hope so"), which has come to you, just as in all the world also it (What is "IT" in context") is constantly bearing fruit (karpophoreo - What is bearing fruit?) and increasing (auxano = growing, cp similar of auxano in Acts 6:7 - "spreading" = auxano, Acts 12:24+ "the Word of the Lord" = the Gospel), even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth (What does the Gospel "explain"?) (Col 1:5+)

Comment: Note the living and active aspect of the Gospel - bearing fruit, growing, opening blind eyes to understand the grace of God in truth. Beloved, does not this truth "take the pressure off" somewhat? In other words, if we are faithful to present the pure Gospel, not a "watered down" version, the Gospel is "alive" and it bears fruit bringing about regeneration and new birth. These effects are not dependent on how clever or eloquent we are in our presentation but on how faithful we are to speak forth the truth Gospel. We do that remembering that this Word of Truth, the Gospel, is the power (dunamis) of God for salvation and that's good news for both "presenter" and "hearer"! (Ro 1:16+).

James writes that...

In the exercise of His will He (the Father of lights - James 1:17+) brought us forth by the Word of truth (To what does this refer?), so that  (PURPOSE CLAUSE) we might be, as it were, the first fruits (BELIEVERS) among His creatures. (James 1:18+)

Truth (225) (aletheia) refers to the: body of real things, events, facts. Obviously whatever God says is truth. Truth, reality; the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, the veritable essence of matter. Truth is revealed to disciples (Jn 8:31-32). Truth sets a person free from bondage to the law, the flesh, the devil (Jn 8:32).

Aletheia in Ephesians - Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:21; Eph. 4:24; Eph. 4:25; Eph. 5:9; Eph. 6:14

The gospel (2098) (euaggelion from = good + aggéllo =proclaim, tell) is the secular Greek term for proclamation of news of victory and the death or capture of the enemy! Ponder this in terms of our enemies! Other uses included news of approaching wedding. Gospel delivers man from power of sin.

Euaggelion in Ehesians -  Eph. 1:13; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 6:15; Eph. 6:19

Related Resource

A B Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel "Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone."

The Gospel According To You...

There's a Gospel according to Matthew; To Mark;
To Luke; and John too.
There's another gospel that many are reading...
The Gospel according to You.

All teachings we find in the Bible
Are facts we know to be true;
You must live them to make them the Gospel...
The Gospel according to You

Many read not the words of the Bible;
I will tell you what some of them do...
They are reading the book you are writing...
The Gospel according to you.

There's Great Power In Gospel Preaching
The Bible teaches that this is true.
But the sermon most likely to influence others
Is The Gospel according to You.

God help us to be faithful to Jesus...
To live all His teachings so true,
So that all may see His Spirit
In the Gospel according to You

You are writing a gospel, a chapter each day;
By things that you do; By things you say.
Others read that gospel, whether faithless or true!
Say! What is the Gospel According To You?

-Leroy Brownlow
(Note some attribute words in highlight to Paul Gilbert, others "Anonymous")

Salvation (4991) (soteria) pictures one's preservation from danger/destruction. Restore the state of well being or health. Salvation can be described as -- Past = justified =declared righteous. From penalty of sin Present = sanctified. from power of sin. Future = glorified From presence of sin (see chart on the Three Tenses of Salvation). This is the only use of Soteria in Ephesians. 

The writers of the New Testament adapted the term Gospel as God's glorious message of salvation for lost otherwise hopeless, helpless sinners. Euaggelion is found in several combination phrases, each describing the gospel like a multifaceted jewel in various terms from a different viewpoint (from the NASB, 1977):

  1. the gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23+, Mt 9:35+, Mt 24:14+)
  2. the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1+) because it centers in Christ
  3. the gospel of God (Mk 1:14+, Ro 15:16+, 2Co 11:7+, 1Th 2:2+, 1Th 2:8,9+, 1Pe 4:17+) because it originates with God and was not invented by man
  4. the gospel of the kingdom of God (Lu 16:16+)
  5. the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24+, Ro 1:1+),
  6. the gospel of His Son (Ro 1:9+)
  7. the gospel of Christ (Ro 15:19+, 2Co 2:12+, 2Co 9:13+, 2Co 10:14+, Gal 1:7+, Phil 1:27+, 1Th 3:2+)
  8. the gospel of the glory of Christ (2Co 4:4+)
  9. the gospel of your salvation (Eph 1:14+)
  10. the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15+)
  11. the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2Th 1:8+)
  12. the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1Ti 1:11+)
  13. In Ro 16:25, 26+ Paul called it “my Gospel” indicating that the special emphasis he gave the gospel in his ministry.
  14. An eternal gospel - Rev 14:6+ (Some writers such as C I Scofield interpret this as a "different gospel" than the other "gospels" mentioned above but I think such a distinction is incorrect and is poorly substantiated).

For a rewarding study, study the preceding references in context making notation of the truth you observe about the gospel. If you would like a special blessing, take an afternoon to go through all 76 uses of euaggelion in context making a list of what you learn about the gospel. The Spirit of God will enlighten your heart and encourage your spirit in a very special way...and you'll want to share the "good news" with someone because of your "discoveries"!

Euaggelion - Matt. 4:23; Matt. 9:35; Matt. 24:14; Matt. 26:13; Mk. 1:1; Mk. 1:14; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 8:35; Mk. 10:29; Mk. 13:10; Mk. 14:9; Mk. 16:15; Acts 15:7; Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1; Rom. 1:9; Rom. 1:16; Rom. 2:16; Rom. 10:16; Rom. 11:28; Rom. 15:16; Rom. 15:19; Rom. 16:25; 1 Co. 4:15; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:14; 1 Co. 9:18; 1 Co. 9:23; 1 Co. 15:1; 2 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 4:3; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 8:18; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 10:14; 2 Co. 11:4; 2 Co. 11:7; Gal. 1:6; Gal. 1:7; Gal. 1:11; Gal. 2:2; Gal. 2:5; Gal. 2:7; Gal. 2:14; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 6:15; Eph. 6:19; Phil. 1:5; Phil. 1:7; Phil. 1:12; Phil. 1:16; Phil. 1:27; Phil. 2:22; Phil. 4:3; Phil. 4:15; Col. 1:5; Col. 1:23; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Thess. 2:2; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:9; 1 Thess. 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:8; Phlm. 1:13; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 14:6

HAVING ALSO BELIEVED: en o kai pisteusantes (AAPMPN):


Having also believed - The KJV translates it "after that ye believed, ye were sealed". This is a misleading translation as there is no Greek word for "after". This rendering suggests that the reception of the Holy Spirit occurs subsequent to the believing. We know that their belief was the real "root" (so to speak), because of their demonstration of repentance which was in fact costly, Luke recording

Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. 19 And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (Acts 19:18-19+). 

Geoff Thomas explains how the KJV is misleading stating that "the Authorized Version (KJV) translates this verse, “after that ye believed ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise,” and so in the light of that some have claimed that a man can be a believer and yet years and years may go by without his being sealed with the Spirit. I cannot accept that interpretation and simply want to make two comments, firstly that there is indeed a close relationship between faith and sealing in that it is believers alone who are sealed. There is no sealing for unbelievers. I also want to say secondly that the translation of the Authorized Version is not the best. There is a precisely similar construction that often occurs in the gospels. We are told that “Jesus answering said . . .” and it is an identical construction here, “you believing were sealed.” You wouldn’t say, “After Jesus had answered He said . . .” Certainly you would never think that the phrase from the gospels meant that many years after Jesus had answered he said something. I am saying that it is equally unhelpful to translate the construction here as the A.V. What Paul is saying is well captured in the New International Version, “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” (Alfred Place Baptist Church - The Holy Spirit Sealing)

Steven Cole adds that "many teach that there is a time lapse between believing in Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit and that only some experience the sealing of the Spirit. This view was fostered by the old King James translation, which stated, “in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” The word after implies a time lapse. Even Charles Spurgeon and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, whom I greatly respect, err in arguing that the sealing of the Spirit is an experience that only some believers receive subsequent to salvation. But that undermines Paul’s entire point here, which is to assure all believers that God has sealed them with the Spirit at the moment of faith in Christ. (Secure in Him - Ephesians 1:13-14). (Bold italics added for emphasis)

Having believed (4100) (pisteuo) refers to belief that effects not just the head (intellectual) but also transforms the heart resulting in changed conduct. It does not result in perfection but does result in a change of direction (so to speak), heavenward rather than hell-ward! Faith is man’s response to God’s elective purpose and gracious provision. God’s choice of men is election; men’s choice of God is faith. In election God gives His promises, and by faith men receive them. There are only 2 uses of pisteuo in Ephesians - Eph. 1:13; Eph. 1:19. 

The aorist tense defines the believing as an past action which is definitive, and effective. Note that it is not enough to hear the Gospel of salvation (and know about Jesus) but one must place one's complete trust (see study of pistis) in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to receive salvation. Jesus warns that in the day of judgment there will be those who are deceived, thinking they know Him when He does not really know them! See Mt 7:21-note, Mt 7:22, 23-note. Note that Jesus says the "mark" of those who truly know Him (who are truly regenerate, born again, new creations in Chris 2Cor 5:17-note) are identified not by what they SAY but by what they DO. DOING does not save them, but it provides visible evidence that what they SAY is indicative of genuine, saving faith and not simply intellectual assent. (Observe Mt 7:21 - "says...does" - where "does" is in the present tense, which indicates one's general lifestyle, the tenor of one's life, speaking of the general "direction" and not perfection! Note that "religious works" per se do not satisfy Jesus in Mt 7:22. He is looking for a genuine heart change, which they clearly did not have, as indicated by the fact that they continually gravitated toward the practice of lawlessness, which John "defines" as sin in 1John 3:4. Yes, all believers still sin. And yes, they may wrestle with a given sin all of their life. And yes, they may fall into sin for a time. But in each of these instances, they are grieved and miserable. Their heart is broken over their sin. And eventually, like David in Psalm 51:1-19 [See notes Psalm 51:1-9 Psalm 51:10-19], they turn back to God. They seek forgiveness and repentance [See 1John 1:9-note]. (See also Great quotes on repentance) Their lifestyle is no longer that of a habitual sinner who willfully, even wantonly practices lawlessness.)

D L Moody illustrates "belief" by one of the two thieves crucified with Jesus writing "The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise." (Moody, D L: "Day by Day with D. L Moody. Moody Press)

Comment: Here the situation is unique and there was no opportunity for the thief to "DO" anything other than express genuine, saving faith. Clearly, the thief truly repented and believed in Jesus, and the omniscient One saw his heart. This is a one in a kind situation and most of us will express belief during life (not at the moment of death like the thief) and our subsequent lifestyle will be proof of or against the veracity or authenticity of our profession of belief. Paul clearly links faith and works in Ephesians 2:8,9-note (this describes salvation by faith) and Ephesians 2:10-note (this describes the "works" that are the "fruit" of the "root" of faith that brings genuine salvation. Note "Whose" works they are! What's the upshot? We need to be careful not to get involved in "works" which are "our" works and not "His" works. Jesus said it this way - "apart from Me you can do [absolutely] nothing! John 15:5). See related study of the intimate association of genuine faith with works - James 2:14-26-notes begin here) (Observe the profession [the "root"] with the "fruit" of certain individuals in Titus 1:16-note) (See also Death Bed Conversion; For an interesting article on whether Charles Darwin had a so called "deathbed conversion" click here)

Spurgeon ("Man's Thoughts and God's Thoughts") once said: As for peace in the hour of death, he who is not pardoned while living is not likely to be pardoned when dying. Nine out of ten, perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand of professed death-bed salvations are a delusion. We have good facts to prove that. A certain physician collected notes of several hundred cases of people who professed conversion when they thought they were dying. These people did not die as they had expected to, but continued to live. In the case of all but one they lived just as they had lived before, though when they were thought to be dying they appeared as if they were truly converted. Do not look forward to a death-bed salvation, it is a mere snare of Satan.

YOU WERE SEALED IN HIM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE: esphragisthete (2PAPI) to pneumati tes epaggelias to hagio:

  • You were sealed: Eph 4:30; John 6:27; Ro 4:11; 2Co 1:22; 2Ti 2:19; Rev 7:2
  • The Holy Spirit of promise: Joel 2:28; Luke 11:13; 24:49; John 14:16,17,26; 15:26; 16:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; Acts 1:4; Acts 2:16-22,33; Gal 3:14
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Luke 24:49+  “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

John 14:16; 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 Him because He abides with you and will be in you

Acts 1:4+  Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;

Galatians 3:14+ in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles (NOTE TO THE JEWS FIRST, THEN TO THE GREEKS), so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.


You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise - At the moment you believe the gospel of your salvation, your were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Your salvation is eternally secure. What God's omnipotent Spirit sealed, finite man, even our faltering faith, cannot unseal this secure seal! 

This was the same promise Jesus gave to His 11 disciples in Luke declaring "And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father (THE HOLY SPIRIT) upon you (FULFILLED Acts 2:1-4+); but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49+) So the Spirit is not only a promise of being sealed which assures us of our eternally secure position in Christ but is also a promise of being strengthened which assures us of sufficient supernatural power to live our Christian lives as more than conquerors in Christ! 

Gaebelein - “The seal is therefore the Holy Spirit Himself, and His presence in the believer denotes ownership and security. The sealing with the Spirit is not an emotional feeling or some mysterious inward experience.”

F B Meyer says "“For sealing there are needed the softened wax; the imprint of the beloved face; the steady pressure. Would that the Spirit might impress the face of our dear Lord on our softened hearts, that they may keep it for evermore!”

Related Resources:

Paul describes the reception of the Holy Spirit by first asking a question...

This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?" (Galatians 3:2+)

Comment: What's the answer to Paul's rhetorical question? How did they receive the Holy Spirit? Clearly they did not have to fulfill some further requirements (Not even water baptism) but "hearing with faith."

Pastor Steven Cole has a lengthy section addressing the question "How do we get the Holy Spirit?" The answer from Ephesians 1:14 is that we receive the Holy Spirit by hearing the Gospel and believing in Jesus Christ. Cole writes that...

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came powerfully upon the believers, thus fulfilling God’s promise. The Book of Acts must be interpreted as a transitional book to the age (or dispensation) of the Spirit. We see the Spirit coming first on believers in Jerusalem, then in Samaria, then on the Gentiles, and then to those in the “remotest part of the earth” (see Acts 1:8; 2:1-21; 8:14-17; 10:1-48; 19:1-7). After the transitional time, all believers in Christ receive the Holy Spirit. (For more discussion see Secure in Him - Ephesians 1:13-14). (Bolding added for emphasis).

In Romans Paul teaches us that ALL believers have received the Holy Spirit. In fact, the Spirit's indwelling of believers is a mark of one who belongs to Christ (cp 1Cor 3:16+, 1Cor 6:19+, 1Cor 6:20+).

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. (Romans 8:9+)

Comment: Contrary to what some individuals teach, Scripture teaches that in the New Covenant, there are no "have's" and "have not's" in regard to the Holy Spirit.

When a person believes the "message of truth, the gospel of...salvation" they receive the Holy Spirit, this transaction referred to as a "baptism", as Paul explained to the Corinthians that "by one Spirit we (all those saved by grace through faith) were all baptized into one body (the body of Christ, the Church), whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13) Note that Paul is NOT speaking here of water baptism which is an outward, physical ordinance believers submit to themselves and which is performed by other believers (Mt 28:19) Baptism in water (contrary to what some falsely teach) plays no role in conversion. Instead, water baptism functions as a testimony before witnesses (the church and to the lost world) that genuine conversion that has taken place as a result of inward Spirit baptism which is entirely the work of God and is virtually synonymous with salvation.

ESV Study Bible adds: The same Greek construction (the verb baptizō plus en [“in”] plus the dative of pneuma, “Spirit”) is used here as in the other six “baptism in the Holy Spirit” passages in the NT (Mt. 3:11; Mk 1:8; Lk 3:16; Jn 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16), and here it seems clearly to refer to the cleansing and empowering work that the Holy Spirit does in a new convert at the point of conversion. (ESV Study Bible)

William MacDonald comments: Several important points should be noted here: First, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that divine operation which places believers in the Body of Christ. It is not the same as water baptism. This is clear from Matthew 3:11; John 1:33; Acts 1:5. It is not a work of grace subsequent to salvation whereby believers become more spiritual. All the Corinthians had been baptized in the Spirit, yet Paul rebukes them for being carnal—not spiritual (1Cor 3:1). It is not true that speaking in tongues is the invariable sign of being baptized by the Spirit. All the Corinthians had been baptized, but not all spoke in tongues (1Cor 12:30). There are crisis experiences of the Holy Spirit when a believer surrenders to the Spirit’s control and is then empowered from on high. But such an experience is not the same as the baptism of the Spirit, and should not be confused with it. ( Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelsons)

Being baptized with the Spirit is different from being "filled with the Spirit" (Eph 5:18+), a description which does not signify one is getting more of the Spirit, but that he or she is yielding every area of their lives to the Spirit’s control and empowerment. The idea of filling is having one's life controlled by God’s Spirit as opposed to being controlled by the self (flesh). There is no neutral ground - we are either under the control of the Spirit or under the control of the flesh. If you are having trouble telling which is controlling you Paul gives a lengthy checklist for us to do personal inventory - Gal 5:19-21+ characterizes a person controlled by the flesh and Gal 5:22-23+ characterizes a person filled with and controlled by the Spirit. This is not super mystical or "spiritual rocket science!" We can know with high degree of accuracy "who" is sitting on the throne of our heart (so to speak) sitting in the position of power and authority!

Hoehner is careful to point out that "In this context the sealing refers to ownership.… Many think this refers to baptism (ED: HE IS NOT REFERRING TO BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BUT WATER BAPTISM.) (or possibly confirmation), denoting identification. This idea is derived from Rom. 4:11 where it refers to Abraham’s circumcision as a seal of his righteousness. It is thought that this is transferred to baptism for the Christian. Although there may have been some church fathers who made this deduction, it is a great leap and really foreign not only to this context but to the whole NT." (Ephesians: An Exegetical Commentary)

You were sealed (4972) (sphragizo from sphragis = seal, engraved object used to make a mark - denoting ownership, approval, or closure of something normally done by pressing into heated wax usually attached to a document or letter) means to set a seal upon or to mark with a seal. To mark so as to certify that something is so. Seals were used to make something secure, to serve as a guarantee of the correctness of the contents, to indicate authenticity, to indicate ownership. Sacrificial animals were examined and sealed if perfect. Jars, sacks of fruit or grain were sealed. To mark with a seal as a means of identification in Greek secular writings was used to mark all kinds of animals, so that the mark denoting ownership also carries with it the protection of the owner.

Wayne Detzler writes that sphragizo was "largely a commercial or business term, referring to sealing a building shut. In order to guarantee property against theft, a seal was placed on it. Or sometimes it took the form of a mark or a brand, as on livestock. When a merchant bought a sack of grain, a seal would be placed on the sack until the full payment was made. This was a guarantee of coming payment. Later the seal became a mark of royalty. Any communiqué from the crown was sealed by the king. After dabbing hot wax on the document, the king would seal it by pressing his ring into the wax. Before long, the engraved ring was called "a seal." In the religious sphere, a sacrificial lamb which was found to be suitable was also sealed, marked as suitable. In the Septuagint Greek Old Testament, a seal was a signet ring. This ring was used to indicate a sale (Jer. 32:10). Royalty also used the seal to authenticate its orders (Esther 3:10; 8:8). Though the precise word for "sealing" is not used, Isaiah 44:5 speaks of people who had "for Jehovah" tattooed on their hands as a mark of religious sacrifice (Borrow New Testament Words in Today's Language)

Sphragizo is used 15 times in the NAS (see below). Translated in NAS: put...seal on(1), seal(2), sealed(9), set a seal on(1), set...seal to(2).

Matthew 27:66 And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone.

John 3:33 "He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.

John 6:27 "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal."

Romans 15:28 Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.

2 Corinthians 1:22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

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,

Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Revelation 7:3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads."

Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

Revelation 7:5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,

Revelation 7:8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

Revelation 10:4 When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them."

Revelation 20:3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.

Revelation 22:10 And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

Sphragizo - 19 verses in the Septuagint (LXX): Deut 32:34; 1Ki 21:8; 2Ki 22:4; Neh 10:1; Esther 3:10; 8:8, 10; Job 14:17; 24:16; Song 4:12; Isa 8:16; 29:11; Jer 32:10f, 25, 44; Dan 6:16-17; 8:26; 9:24; 12:4, 9). Here are some examples...

1Ki 21:8 So she (Jezebel's treacherous action) wrote letters in Ahab's name and sealed (sphragizo) them with his seal (sphragis), and sent letters to the elders and to the nobles who were living with Naboth in his city.

Comment: Jezebel's use of King Ahab's seal made it look as if this letter came straight from the king, illustrating the import of the act of sealing.

Nehemiah 10:1 Now on the sealed document were the names of: Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, and Zedekiah,

Esther 8:8 "Now you write to the Jews as you see fit, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's signet ring; for a decree which is written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's signet ring may not be revoked...8:10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus, and sealed it with the king's signet ring, and sent letters by couriers on horses, riding on steeds sired by the royal stud.

Isaiah 29:11 And the entire vision shall be to you like the words of a sealed book, which when they give it to the one who is literate, saying, "Please read this," he will say, "I cannot, for it is sealed."

Jeremiah 32:10 "And I signed and sealed the deed (when he bought the field which was at Anathoth in obedience to the Lord's command), and called in witnesses, and weighed out the silver on the scales.

Comment: This particular property was worthless since it was in Anathoth, which by this time had already been captured by the Babylonians. But by carrying out this act and sealing it, Jeremiah was affirming that the land would one day future return to the hands of Israel.

The Analytical Lexicon has an excellent summary of the various nuances of meaning of sphragizo = (1) literally seal up, secure by putting a seal on (Mt 27.66); figuratively, as keeping something secret seal (up), conceal (Rev 10.4); (2) as providing a sign of identification or ownership (mark with a) seal (Rev 7.3); metaphorically, of endowment with the Spirit (Eph 1.13); (3) figuratively, from the idea of an official seal on a document; (a) confirm, attest, certify (John 3.33); (b) metaphorically, as a commercial technical term indicating a safely accomplished transaction literally seal to someone this fruit, i.e. safely turn over to someone this kind provision (Ro 15.28) (Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

In a parallel passage we read (note four of the many spiritual blessings that we receive when we are saved) "Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, Who also sealed (sphragizo) us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge (earnest money - see pledge). (2Cor 1:21-22+)

Paul uses sphragizo in another passage in this same letter writing "And do not grieve (present imperative with a negative = stop this action) the Holy Spirit of God, by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30+)  Note that even when we grieve the Spirit we cannot unseal the seal set by the Spirit. Our salvation is secure in Christ!


In secular Greek use of sphragizo the sealing signified at least four results...

(1) A Finished Transaction - Compare John 19:30+ - Jesus' words on the Cross - "IT IS FINISHED" is one word in Greek = the verb "tetelestai." (Perfect tense of verb teleioo) which literally means "PAID IN FULL!" HALLELUJAH! When a Roman citizen was convicted of a crime, the law of that day slammed him into prison. They prepared a "Certificate of Debt" that listed all the crimes he was convicted of on it, and nailed it to his cell door for all to see. It remained nailed there so all would be assured that he served his full sentence, and "paid in full" the penalty for his crimes. When Jesus shouted the Greek word "Tetelestai" ("It is finished") from the Cross, it was a very familiar phrase. It was the same word that would be stamped across the Certificate of Debt after a criminal completed his prison term. It would literally mean "Paid in Full" for all your crimes. Then the criminal was given the certificate. He would be able to produce it to show that his crimes were "paid in full." He could never become a victim of "double jeopardy." Or paying for the same crime twice.

Related Resource:

(2) A Mark of Ownership -- Buyers of timber in the forests of Asia Minor would select trees which would be felled, stamped them with the buyer’s seal, and floated them downstream. At the port in Ephesus, the markings would identify the logs. God stamps us with His seal, indicating ownership.In Revelation we see the sealing conveyed thoughts of ownership and protection, John recording the angel's words...saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads." (Rev 7:3+)

THOUGHT - Who owns us now? See 1Cor 6:19+, 1Cor 6:20+. In Ezekiel 9:4+ before He destroyed Jerusalem, the Lord told Ezekiel ""Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem & put a MARK on the foreheads of the men who sigh & groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst." The Hebrew for "MARK" is the Hebrew letter "TAV" which is written like an "X" or a "CROSS"! This marked the men as protected from God's wrath and destruction! Believers are SEALED & in a sense have a "MARK" on our foreheads showing that we belong to Jesus Who "will deliver us from the wrath to come." (1Th 1:10+). HALLELUJAH!

(3) A Bond of Security -- Setting a seal to prevent opening.

Daniel’s lions’ den was sealed by royal decree "And a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel. (Daniel 6:17+)

Christ’s tomb was sealed by royal decree, Matthew recording "And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal (sphragizo) on the stone. (Mt 27:66)

Comment: The chief priests and Pharisees evidently took the Lord's promise to rise on the third day seriously and must have assumed the disciples would try to steal the body. Their paranoia, however, served only to strengthen the evidence for the resurrection. This securing was likely done by connecting the stone to the tomb with a cord and wax so that any tampering could easily be detected.

THOUGHT - How secure is our eternal future? Jesus declared of believers, His "sheep" that "I give eternal life to them and they shall NEVER perish and NO ONE shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all & NO ONE is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." (John 10:28-29). HALLELUJAH!

(4) An Imprint of Authenticity or of Identity -- In ancient times, everyone’s unique seal, when pressed into wax, imprinted his identity. God places the Holy Spirit in us permanently as His "signet" (signet = a seal used to stamp or authenticate documents)

THOUGHT - What is our identity now? Before being sealed we were all "in Adam" and at salvation we are placed "in Christ" forever = union, oneness, identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. "For as IN ADAM all die, so also IN CHRIST all shall be made alive." (1Cor 15:22+) Now and forever "Christ is our life." (Col 3:4+) HALLELUJAH!

Charles Wesley wrote in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”...

Adam’s likeness now efface
Stamp Thine image in its place.

Sealed is in the aorist tense which is a past completed action. The passive voice signifies that subject, believers, are acted upon by an outside force or power, God. The indicative mood is the mood of certainty which states a thing as being a fact -- the point is that every believer receives the Holy Spirit the moment he or she believes.

In antiquity people used seals to authenticate documents (Jer. 32:10), and archaeologists have discovered more than 1,200 seals from Old Testament times.

TDNT writes that "The seal serves as a legal protection and guarantee. It is thus placed on property, on wills, etc. Laws prohibit the misuse of seals, which owners often break just before death. Seals serve as proof of identity. They also protect houses, graves, etc. against violation. Both testator and witnesses seal wills. In Roman law all six witnesses must break their own seals to open the will, and in South Babylonia beneficiaries signify or seal when the inheritance is divided. Seals also serve as accreditation, e.g., of weights and measures. The seal plays an important public role in government. All authorities have seals. The king’s seal confers authorization. In both private and public life holding a seal expresses an element of power. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans)

NIDNTT has a lengthy note writing that "Seals were widely used very early (3rd millennium onwards), especially in Mesopotamia, where Herodotus observed that every man possessed not only a staff but also a seal (1, 195), and later in the whole Mediterranean area (on the different forms of seals-e. g. rolls, buttons, scaraboid.... The real importance of the seal is a legal one: the owner puts his mark on his possessions, his beasts...and thereby guards his property against theft. To that extent one can call it a protecting sign or a guarantee. When used with documents (wills, deeds of sale, etc.) the seal served as a signature to authorize what was written there (cf. TDNT VII 941). Things sealed were at the disposal of the possessor of the seal. This applied not only to private persons, but also particularly to the authorities of a city and to kings. The seal symbolized their authority. Seals were also significant in religious life. For instance, a beast could be attested as ritually pure and thus suitable for a sacrificial victim.... Men show themselves to be the possession of their deity by the imprint of their seal.... More tangibly one can seal houses, etc., to guarantee that they were preserved, or documents, to keep their contents a secret. Hence, one can also say that the mouth or words are sealed...: what one has experienced must remain secret and in safe keeping. This applied particularly to keeping the secrets of the mysteries. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology) (Bolding added for emphasis)

Craig Evans - Documents were often sealed both to simply close them up (Euripides, Iphigenia Aulidensis 38; Frg. 781.10; cf. PAmh 2.41.7) and to authenticate a document. Xenophon records a letter authenticated by “bearing the King’s seal” (Hellenica 1.4.3; LCL; cf. Jer. 32:11). Such seals were personalized to their owners (Herodotus, Histories 1.195, 3.41; cf. Euripides, Frg 1063.9; Nicomachus Gerasenus, Mathematics 1.23). In Jewish and Christian language a mark on the forehead was a seal, signifying election (Ezek. 9:4) and protection (cf. Rev. 7:2–8), as was circumcision (Barn. 9.6; m. Ber 7.13; Gen. 17:11). It established and expressed ownership (Gen. 4:15; Exod. 13:9; Lev. 19:28; Deut. 6:8; 14:1; Ezek. 9:4; Pss. Sol. 15:6; Rev. 9:4; 13:16–17; Barth, 136). Cattle or slaves could likewise be marked as property. Such marks could also be used to convey authority (Gen. 41:42; Isa. 22:22; Esther 3:10; Matt. 16:19) or to set approval upon someone (John 3:33; Rom. 15:28). The early church saw baptism as a similar seal of ownership (2 Clem. 7.6; 8.6; Hermas, Similitude 8.2.3; 9.16.3–7; Acts of Paul and Thecla 25; Testament Truth IX, 3 69:7–11; Acts of Thomas 131). See comment at 2 Cor. 1:22+. (Bible Knowledge Background Commentary)

Puritan John Owen wrote that "God's sealing of believers is His gracious communication of the Holy Ghost unto them, so as to enable them unto all the duties of their holy calling. The effects of this sealing are gracious operations of the Spirit in and upon believers; but the sealing itself is the communication of God's Spirit to them.

Is this truth practical? Absolutely! Listen to an anecdotal story from Pastor Ray Stedman..."A young man called me this past week to tell me how discouraged he was, how he'd lost his confidence in prayer because he felt that no answer was coming, and how ready he was to quit. So I said to him, "Well, why don't you just quit, then? Give up. Stop being a Christian. Try it." -- because I knew that if he did, the first thing he would have discovered is that he couldn't quit. And he knew it, too. The minute I said that, he acknowledged it: "You're right. I can't quit." That is because, as Paul will describe in this letter, there is imparted to us the Holy Spirit of God, and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit so that we can't quit! That is a mark of a believer in Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-14: God At Work)

Hallelujah! What a Savior
by Philip Bliss

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
SEALED my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“FULL ATONEMENT!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Vocal Versions:
Hallelujah! What A Savior
Hallelujah, What a Savior - Shelly Moore Band

Holy (40) (hagios) means pure, consecrated, set apart. Its fundamental idea is separation, consecration, sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth’s defilement. In this context of course this "holy" refers to the Holy God Himself, the Holy Spirit! When a person becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his life (Ro 8:9). The Spirit of God is our securing force, our guarantee. Saints (hagios Eph 1:1+) who are positionally holy ((hagios Eph 1:4+) can (and should) now pursue holiness (Heb 12:14+), because they have the indwelling Holy Spirit to empower a supernatural walk. Saints need to begin to live like who they are in Christ before the lost world still in Adam and rapidly deteriorating morally and ethically! 

Spurgeon comments that "Those who believe in Christ have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them: the Holy Spirit is a part of heaven, "the earnest of our inheritance"; and wherever he dwells, it is not possible that the heart should lose the inheritance. It is entailed upon those in whom the Spirit dwells. Judge, there, dear brethren, whether the Spirit of God dwells in you or no."

Hagios in Ephesians - Eph. 1:1; Eph. 1:4; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 1:15; Eph. 1:18; Eph. 2:19; Eph. 2:21; Eph. 3:5; Eph. 3:8; Eph. 3:18; Eph. 4:12; Eph. 4:30; Eph. 5:3; Eph. 5:27; Eph. 6:18

Spirit (4151pneuma from pneo = to breath) describes a movement of air (a gentle blast) of the wind, hence the wind itself or the breath of nostrils or mouth. In this context of course it refers to the divine "Pneuma." 

Promise (1860) (epaggelia/epangelia from epí = upon or intensifier of meaning + aggéllo = tell, declare = to announce with certainty as to what one will do) is a declaration to do something with implication of obligation to carry out what is stated. Epaggelia was a legal term denoting promise to do or give something. It was a legally binding declaration giving one to whom it is made right to expect or claim performance of the specific act. Most often epaggelia is used to describe the promises of God. and provides firm assurance of His future action.

Epaggelia/epangelia in Ephesians - Eph. 1:13; Eph. 2:12; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 6:2;

(see John 16:7-10)
Titus 3:5
Eph 5:18
2 Thess. 2:7
1 Cor. 6:19
2Co 3:18
Ep 1:13, 4:30, 2Co 1:22
1Co 2:12
Ro 8:26-27, Ep 6:18

Interest in Advance - The Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, gives us a foretaste of the coming glory of heaven. He is therefore called the “earnest” or pledge of the inheritance we shall receive by God’s grace in eternity (Eph. 1:13,14). In biblical times, the word “earnest” was a trade term for the initial payment on a debt. It was made as a promise that full payment would be forthcoming. In principle, then, when an earnest was given, the final installment was guaranteed. Likewise, the joy we experience now through God’s Spirit is just a kind of first installment of the rich blessings that His children will receive in eternity.

A wealthy man called his faithful assistant into his office one day and said, “I’ve put your name in my will, and someday you’ll receive $10,000. Since it may be a while before you get that legacy, I want to make you happy now by paying you the interest on that amount each year. Here is a check for $600 as a starter.” The surprised clerk was doubly grateful. The prospect of the inheritance was certainly good news, but the money he received in advance gave him complete assurance that someday the entire $10,000 would be his.

As God’s children, let’s rejoice in the riches we now have in Christ through the Holy Spirit. He is our guarantee of the “exceeding and eternal weight of glory” that our Heavenly Father will one day give to the heirs of salvation (2Cor 4:17). Our present blessings are but a token of the greater inheritance we will eventually receive.

Several centuries ago, a Japanese emperor commissioned an artist to paint a bird. A number of months passed, then several years, and still the artist did not deliver the painting. Finally the emperor became so exasperated that he went to the artist's home to demand an explanation. Instead of making excuses, the artist placed a blank canvas on the easel. In less than an hour, he completed a painting that was to become a masterpiece. When the emperor asked the reason for the delay, the artist showed him armloads of drawings of feathers, wings, heads, and feet. Then he explained that he couldn't complete the painting until he had done exhaustive research and study.

In a sense, Christians are similar to that piece of art. We are "sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13), and predestined by God "to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Rom. 8:29). But the process takes time. The "artist" is the Holy Spirit—sent by the Lord Jesus at Pentecost to indwell believers. Slowly but surely He leads us to spiritual growth and maturity. Our transformation requires years of patience and will not be finished until we enter the presence of our King.

The day is coming when all Christians will be like Christ. But now we are growing and preparing. As we follow the Spirit's guidance through one experience after another, we become more and more like the masterpiece we will be someday in Glory. —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The work Christ accomplished for us on the cross,
His Spirit can now accomplish in us on earth.

F B Meyer has the following thoughts in Our Daily Homily...

Possessed. — The saints have been purchased at great cost by the precious blood of the Son of God. Not only their spirits, but their bodies, have been bought with an infinite expenditure. Is it not a wonderful thought that God should have thought it worth his while to expend so much on us! But, since He has done it, we cannot suppose that He will not make all He can of us! He will bring his estate under cultivation; there will be no corner of it that will not yield Him produce.

To be redeemed. — Our bodies are owned by God, but they are not yet entirely redeemed. And if we should die before the Lord’s advent, they will return to their mother earth, possessed but not redeemed. Hence the apostle says that we are waiting for our adoption — to wit, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:23). We are under the sentence of corruption for Adam’s sin; but we are to be redeemed.

Sealed. — In Ezekiel’s day a mark was set on the foreheads of the men that sighed and cried for sin (Ezekiel 9:4); and in the Apocalypse we read of the sealing of God’s servants (Revelation 7:2–3). For sealing there are needed the softened wax; the imprint of the beloved face; the steady pressure. Would that the Spirit might impress the face of our dear Lord on our softened hearts, that they may keep it for evermore!

This sealing is an earnest of our inheritance. — The eternal future is all unknown, yet we may guess at it, because the work of the Spirit within us is the first fruits — the grapes of Eshcol, showing what the vintage will be; the earnest-penny, which is the pledge as well as part of the entire payment; the first streak of the coming day. (Our Daily Homily)

QUESTION -  Can you lose the Holy Spirit? (Watch the video)

ANSWER - The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the triune Godhead. The Holy Spirit indwells believers at the moment of salvation. We know from 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19–20 that the bodies of Christians are the Spirit’s temple. The teaching of the New Testament is that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is permanent. We cannot lose the Holy Spirit. 

The Old Testament relates occasions in which the Spirit left someone, such as King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) or Samson (Judges 16:20). However, in those days the Holy Spirit worked differently than He does since the time Jesus rose from the dead. In the Old Testament, the Spirit is never said to “indwell” anyone; rather, He “came upon” people for a time to accomplish specific purposes (Judges 3:10; 1 Chronicles 12:18). The Holy Spirit inspired the prophets to proclaim truth to the people (Ezekiel 11:1–2). He instructed the leaders of Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). He inspired the writing of Scripture (2 Peter 1:21). But He did not indwell those people as He now does with believers in Christ.

Before Christ’s finished work and ascension, the Holy Spirit came and went, but He no longer works that way. He does not come and go in the lives of believers today. Just before His arrest, Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit, who “lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). The Amplified Bible emphasizes the permanency of the Spirit’s presence: “He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you.”

Acts 2 describes the transition from the Old Testament economy to the New as it pertains to the Holy Spirit. The disciples were gathered for prayer, waiting for the promise of the Father, in obedience to Jesus (John 14:26; Acts 1:4, 8). As they prayed, the Holy Spirit fell upon them all and filled them (verse 3–4). Jesus’ promise was fulfilled, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon all who had trusted in Christ. That outpouring resulted in courage in the face of opposition, love for all humanity, and supernatural gifts and abilities to further the gospel (1 Corinthians 12:4; Hebrews 2:4).

Salvation is impossible without the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). Jesus explained this to Nicodemus in John 3:1–21. Nicodemus, a leader of the Jewish religion, wanted to know what laws he could keep or additional actions he could perform that would guarantee eternal life. Jesus responded that there was nothing Nicodemus could do and that salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit’s work in a repentant heart, no one can be born again, regardless of how many “sinner’s prayers” he prays or Christian actions he performs. It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates and renews a heart (Titus 3:5).

An issue related to losing the Holy Spirit is eternal security. There is debate among Christians about whether or not someone can lose his or her salvation. To lose salvation would be to lose the Holy Spirit who provides it. In fact, Scripture says that the Holy Spirit “seals” our salvation until we experience its completion in the presence of God (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). For the Holy Spirit to vacate a heart that He had promised to seal would make Him unfaithful. One of the Holy Spirit’s tasks, after moving into a believing heart, is transforming that person into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:29), and we have the promise that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). We do not believe the Spirit will undo His work of regeneration, give up on His transformative work, or redefine eternal life to mean “temporary life.”

Since we did not “find” the Holy Spirit, it is doubtful that we can “lose” Him. Some take issue with the word lose and say that, while a Christian cannot lose the Holy Spirit, he or she can forfeit the gifts and salvation He brings by a willful renouncement of Him. However, Ephesians 1:13 says, “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.” Can a believer truly break the seal placed on him by God? The Holy Spirit is the mark of a true believer; therefore, to lose Him would be to lose any hope of salvation in the future.

Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to “grieve the Holy Spirit.” And 1 Thessalonians 5:19 says that we can “quench the Spirit.” These passages do not imply that the Holy Spirit has left us, only that He is sorrowful because of our sinful actions. The grieving and quenching of the Spirit hinders our fellowship with Him but does not nullify our salvation, in much the same way that a rebellious child may lose the fellowship of a parent but is not kicked out of the family.

What causes confusion on this issue is that we cannot know whether someone else has truly been born of the Spirit or whether he is the “shallow soil” as Jesus described in Luke 8:1–15. Some people seem excited to follow Jesus and may exhibit what appear to be supernatural gifts, but they were never truly born again. Jesus addresses those people with a stern warning in Matthew 7:21–23. Many people profess to have the Holy Spirit but eventually prove that they were imposters when their lives turn away from following Him (see Romans 8:14). Such people did not lose the Holy Spirit; He was never theirs at all (1 John 2:19).GotQuestions.org

QUESTION -  What is the seal of the Holy Spirit?

ANSWER - The Holy Spirit is referred to as the “deposit,” “seal,” and “earnest” in the hearts of Christians (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30). The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people, His claim on us as His very own. The Greek word translated “earnest” in these passages is arrhabōn which means “a pledge,” that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest. The gift of the Spirit to believers is a down payment on our heavenly inheritance, which Christ has promised us and secured for us at the cross. It is because the Spirit has sealed us that we are assured of our salvation. No one can break the seal of God.

The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a “first installment” to assure us that our full inheritance as children of God will be delivered. The Holy Spirit is given to us to confirm to us that we belong to God who grants to us His Spirit as a gift, just as grace and faith are gifts (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through the gift of the Spirit, God renews and sanctifies us. He produces in our hearts those feelings, hopes, and desires which are evidence that we are accepted by God, that we are regarded as His adopted children, that our hope is genuine, and that our redemption and salvation are sure in the same way that a seal guarantees a will or an agreement. God grants to us His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that we are His forever and shall be saved in the last day. The proof of the Spirit’s presence is His operations on the heart which produce repentance, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), conformity to God’s commands and will, a passion for prayer and praise, and love for His people. These things are the evidences that the Holy Spirit has renewed the heart and that the Christian is sealed for the day of redemption.

So it is through the Holy Spirit and His teachings and guiding power that we are sealed and confirmed until the day of redemption, complete and free from the corruption of sin and the grave. Because we have the seal of the Spirit in our hearts, we can live joyfully, confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories.GotQuestions.org

Related Resources:

Ephesians 1:14 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 (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: o estin (3SPAI) arrabon tes kleronomias hemon, eis apolutrosin tes peripoieseos, eis epainon tes doxes autou.

Amplified: That [Spirit] is the guarantee of our inheritance [the firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage], in anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring [complete] possession of it—to the praise of His glory. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: the Spirit Who is the foretaste and guarantee of all that one day we will inherit, until we enter into that complete redemption which brings complete possession.

ESV: Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

ICB: That Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will get what God promised for his people. This will bring full freedom to the people who belong to God, to bring praise to God's glory.

KJV: Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

NET: Who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

NIV: Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

NLT: The Spirit is God's guarantee that He will give us everything He promised and that He has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what He has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory. (Phillips: Touchstone)

TLB: His presence within us is God’s guarantee that He really will give us all that He promised; and the Spirit’s seal upon us means that God has already purchased us and that He guarantees to bring us to Himself. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.

Wuest: Who is the token payment of our inheritance guaranteeing the full payment of all, looking forward to the redemption of the possession which is being preserved with a view to the praise of His glory.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

Young's Literal: which is an earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.

WHO IS GIVEN AS A PLEDGE OF OUR INHERITANCE: o estin (3SPAI) arrabon tes kleronomias hemon:

  • Who is given as a pledge - Romans 8:15, 16, 17,23; 2Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Galatians 4:6
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Who - Notice that instead of "Who", the KJV uses "which", a pronoun which Collins English Dictionary says is "used in relative clauses with inanimate antecedents." The more modern translations use the personal pronoun "Who" which counters the frequent misunderstanding that the Holy Spirit as an "It" (cp "which") instead of a Person, the third Person of the Trinity.

Related Resource:

Who is given as a pledge - "The firstfruits, the pledge and foretaste, the down payment on our heritage" (Amplified) "The foretaste and guarantee." (Barclay) "A deposit guaranteeing our inheritance" (NIV) "An earnest" (YLT) "The first installment" (NAB). "The first fruit of our heritage" (BBE) "The initial installment" (NET) "The token payment." (Wuest) "The caution money" (Vincent).

The Holy Spirit is God's "earnest money" given to assure that the whole will be fulfilled in the proper time. 

Writing to the saints at Rome Paul stated that...

you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. (Ro 8:15-note, Ro 8:16-17-note)

Paul then described the Holy Spirit as the first fruits...

And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. (Ro 8:23-note)

Comment: In the OT the first fruits was first portion of offering was set aside specifically for Lord. First fruits was also the first portion of harvest and as such was regarded as a first installment and as a pledge (analogous to Eph 1:14, 2Co 1:22, Eph 4:30+) of the final delivery of the whole. Thus first fruits conveys a very similar picture to the Spirit as a "pledge" in the present passage. Paul also uses "First fruits" to refer to Christ (1Cor 15:20, 23+), signifying that His resurrection from the dead assures the future bodily resurrection of every believer in their order.

THOUGHT - How do we know we have the Spirit as first fruits or as a pledge? Have you had a victory over sin this past week? If you are a believer, surely you can remember some time during the past week when sin was tempting you mightily to surrender to some lust (strong desire) and yet you were able to say "No" because of the "Pledge", the Holy Spirit Who was indwelling you (cp Ro 8:13+ - note our responsibility/God's provision). Indeed, every spiritual victory you have experienced in the past or will experience in the future is an affirmation that you have received the pledge of the Spirit of God, "by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ep 4:30+) And so our present experiences of victory over the power of sin enabled by the Spirit are but a foretaste that the best is yet to come when we will experience permanent, perfect victory over the power of sin! (Hallelujah!) Not only that, but the day of redemption will bring us freedom from the presence of sin, and even remove the pleasure of sin! (Glory!) (cp Heb 11:25+)

Wuest writes that "The bestowal of the Holy Spirit is God’s part payment in the salvation He gives the believing sinner, that part payment guaranteeing the full delivery of all parts of the salvation given. Salvation is in three parts; justification, the removal of the guilt and penalty of sin and the bestowal of a positive righteousness, Jesus Christ, is given at the moment the sinner puts his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour; sanctification, a progressive work of the Spirit in the life of the believer, is a present possession in which He eliminates sin from the experience of the believer and produces His own fruit; glorification, the act of God transforming the present bodies of believers into perfect, sinless, deathless bodies. The believer has the first two now. The Holy Spirit, indwelling the believer, is God’s earnest money, guaranteeing to him the future glorification of his body. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)


Pledge (728) (arrabon) is the payment of part of a purchase price in advance. Literally was a legal and commercial technical term, representing an advance transaction that guarantees the validity of a contract or a full purchase price. The corresponding modern term is "earnest money", "down payment", installment or deposit that guarantees full amount will be paid.

Marvin Vincent refers to arrabon as "caution-money, deposited by a purchaser in pledge of full payment."

NET Bible notes "The Greek word arrabon denotes the first payment or first installment of money or goods which serves as a guarantee or pledge for the completion of the transaction. In the NT the term is used only figuratively of the Holy Spirit as the down payment of the blessings promised by God.... In the "already - not yet" scheme of the NT the possession of the Spirit now by believers ("already") can be viewed as a guarantee that God will give them the balance of the promised blessings in the future ("not yet").


One form of arrabon was used for an engagement ring! God's bestowal of His Spirit is the church's irrevocable pledge, her "divine engagement ring" giving her firm assurance that she is immutably betrothed to Christ's. In the NT arrabon is used only in a figurative sense and is used to describe the Holy Spirit Who the Father has given to believers in this present life to assure them of their future and eternal inheritance

Cole writes that "God gives us the Holy Spirit as the down payment or earnest of the full blessing of our future redemption. In one sense, we have been redeemed by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7-note). But, in another sense, our redemption is not complete until we get to heaven. Right now we can begin to enjoy the inheritance that is ours in Christ. But it’s just a foretaste of future glory. We don’t get the complete inheritance until we go to heaven.(Secure in Him - Ephesians 1:13-14).

Arrabon - 3x in the NT 2Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14 - these are all the NT uses of arrabon.

Now He Who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, Who also sealed (sphragizo) us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge (earnest money - see pledge). (2Cor 1:21-22+)

Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (2Cor 5:5+)

Arrabon - 3 uses in the Septuagint (LXX) - Gen 38:17-18, 20

Genesis 38:17 He said, therefore, "I will send you a kid from the flock." She said, moreover, "Will you give a pledge until you send it?" 18 And he said, "What pledge shall I give you?" And she said, "Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand." So he gave them to her, and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and departed, and removed her veil and put on her widow's garments. 20 When Judah sent the kid by his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman's hand, he did not find her.

The Analytical Lexicon notes that arrabon is "transliterated from the Hebrew; literally, as a legal and commercial technical term, an advance transaction that guarantees the validity of a contract or a full purchase price. down payment, first installment, pledge (Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament)

Craig Evans Pledge here (arrabōn) is a loan-word from Hebrew (‘erabon, cf. Gen. 38:17–20) and is an expression from law and commerce referring to a securing deposit, pledging full payment at a later time (Menander, Frg. 697; Aristotle, Politics 1.11). The Paris Papyri 58.14 speaks of a woman receiving 1000 drachmas as a pledge for the cow she was selling (cf. PLond 143.13; POxy 2.299.2). The term can also refer to the fore-payment of a service to be rendered (PGrenf 2.67.17). The root of the word is retained in modern Greek in reference to a “betrothed bride” and an “engagement ring.”(Bible Knowledge Background Commentary)

NIDNTT writes that in classical Greek and the Septuagint (LXX) "The Gk. word arrabon (borrowed from the Semitic, cf. Heb. 'erabôn) is a legal concept from the language of business and trade. It is found only rarely (Isaeus, Aristotle and later grammarians such as Suidas) and means: (1) an installment, with which a man secures a legal claim upon a thing as yet unpaid for; (2) an earnest, an advance payment, by which a contract becomes valid in law; (3) in one passage (Gen. 38:17ff.) a pledge. In each case it is a matter of payment by which the person concerned undertakes to give further payment to the recipient. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Barclay says arrabon was well known in the ancient Greek business world noting that....

It was a part of the purchase price of anything, paid in advance as a guarantee that the rest would in due time be paid. There are many Greek commercial documents still extant in which the word occurs....It is a common word in Greek legal documents.

A woman selling a cow receives 1,000 drachmae as arrabon that the rest of the purchase price will be paid. Some dancing girls being engaged for a village festival receive so much as arrabon, which will be included in the final payment, but which is a present guarantee that the contract will be honored and the full money paid. A certain man writes to his master that he has paid Lampon, the mouse-catcher, an arrabon of 8 drachmae so that he will start work and catch the mice while they are still with young.

Arrabon was the first installment and the guarantee that the rest would be paid. Everyone knew this word. It is the same idea as is in the Scots word arles which was a token payment made when a man was employed or a house bought, and a guarantee that the full contract would be honored.

What Paul is saying in Ephesians 1:14 is that the experience of the Holy Spirit which we have in this world is a foretaste of the blessedness of heaven; and it is the guarantee that some day we will enter into full possession of the blessedness of God. (The Daily Study Bible)

Inheritance (2817) (kleronomia from kleros = a lot + nemo = to distribute) (see study of related Kleronomos) is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general distribution. In the NT the idea of chance attaching to the lot is eliminated for all believers we inherit all spiritual blessings in Christ. Kleronomia is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by special gift from someone who has died (Lk 12:13). In a figurative sense, kleronomia refers to God's promised salvation, gifts, and benefits as our inheritance (which is the use in Eph 5:5-note) and eternal possession for every believer. (See dictionary discussion of Inheritance) and benefits, an

Kleronomia - 14x in 14v all translated "inheritance" - Mt 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; 20:14; Acts 7:5; 20:32; Gal 3:18; Eph 1:14, 18; 5:5-note; Col 3:24-note; Heb 9:15-note; He 11:8-note; 1Pet 1:4-note

Matthew 21:38 "But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.'

Mark 12:7 "But those vine-growers said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!'

Luke 12:13 Someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me."

Luke 20:14 "But when the vine-growers saw him, they reasoned with one another, saying, 'This is the heir; let us kill him so that the inheritance will be ours.'

Acts 7:5 "But He gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot of ground, and yet, even when he had no child, He promised that HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM AS A POSSESSION, AND TO HIS DESCENDANTS AFTER HIM.

Acts 20:32 "And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Galatians 3:18 For if the inheritance is based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by means of a promise.

Ephesians 1:14 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.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Colossians 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebrews 11:8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

1 Peter 1:4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

Thayer summarizes kleronomia as (1) an inheritance, property received (or to be received) by inheritance, or (2) what is given to one as a possession.

NIDNTT says that in classical Greek the root word "kleros is derived from klao, break. In the first instance it means a lot. Used from Homer on it meant originally the fragment of stone or piece of wood which was used as a lot. Lots were drawn to discover the will of the gods. Since land was divided by lot, probably in the framework of common use of the fields, kleros came to mean a share, land received by lot, plot of land, and finally inheritance. The verb belonging to this is kleroo, to draw lots, apportion by lot (only in Eph 1:11-note, Heb 1:4-note). Kleronomia compounded from kleros and nemo, allot, is first the activity of dividing by lot, then the portion so divided, the inheritance. The Kleronomos is one who has been given a kleros, the inheritor. synkleronomos is a fellow heir, and kleronomeo means be an heir, inherit. What is the difference between kleros and kleronomia (in the context of the uses in the Septuagint)? Sometimes both terms are used interchangeably for nahªlâh (e.g. Nu. 18:23, 24.; 32:18, 19.; Josh 17:4; cf. Jdg. 2:9). However, kleros, which meant originally lot, stresses more the individual piece of land allotted by lot, whereas kleronomia points more to the fact of inheritance with all its connotations already mentioned. Kleros may be used in the plural, but kleronomia is never so used. Kleronomia has the richer associations in the context of salvation history. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)

Here is an excerpt from Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 47:4 ("He chooses our inheritance for us") entitled "A Wise Desire" in which the prince of preachers speaks of God's inheritance in His Beloved and for the beloved in Christ...

It is a great truth that God does choose the inheritance for his people. It is a very high honor conferred upon God's servants, that it is said of them, "He shall choose their inheritance." As for the worldling, God gives him anything, but for the Christian, God selects the best portion, and chooses his inheritance for him. Says a good divine, "It is one of the greatest glories of the Church of Christ, that our mighty Maker, and our Friend, always chooses our inheritance for us." He gives the worldling husks; but he stops to find out the sweet fruits for his people. He gathers out the fruits from among the leaves, that his people might have the best food, and enjoy the richest pleasures. Oh! it is the satisfaction of God's people to believe in this exalting truth that he chooses their inheritance for them. But, since there are many who dispute it, allow me just to stir up your minds by way of remembrance, by mentioning certain facts which will lead you to see clearly that verily God does choose our lot, and apportion for us our inheritance. (Click to read more about your inheritance in Spurgeon's Sermon A Wise Desire Psalm 47:4)

F B Meyer commenting on inheritance in 1Peter 1:4-note...

Yes, it is an inheritance. It is a free gift, and yet we have a right to it. We do not ask for it — we were born into its blessed privilege. The child that lies in yonder cradle, over which the coronet is emblazoned, may claim his broad ancestral estates simply by right of birth: and it is on that tenure that the saints hold heaven. By God’s great mercy we have been begotten again (1Pet 1:3-note).

Oh, blessed heritage!

Incorruptible! The gnawing tooth of decay cannot injure it. Moth and rust cannot consume, nor thieves break through to steal. No spendthrift hand can scatter or over-spend its treasures.

Undefiled! Not a stain on its pure robes; not a freckle on its leaves; not a taint of miasma on its atmosphere. Into the city enters nothing that defiles, or works abomination, or makes a lie.

That fadeth not away! To use the Greek word, it is amaranthine (see amarantinos). Some of the fairest hopes that ever blessed human vision; the most delightful friendships; the most perfect dreams of delight, have faded and withered before our eyes. That never can.

It is kept for us, and we are kept for it. It is reserved in heaven for you.

I have a heritage of joy,
That yet I must not see;
The hand that bled to make it mine,
Is keeping it for me.

Who by the power of God are guarded through faith. (1Pe 1:5-note)— The idea is that we are being brought through an enemy’s country under a strong escortas (escort = a person or group of persons accompanying another to give protection ) the women and children from Lucknow, between the double line of English soldiers, till they were safe from the onset of the Sepoys. We are not in heaven yet; but we are as safe as if we were. (Meyer, F B: Our Daily Homily)

F B Meyer writes about...

THE SAINTS' INHERITANCE IN GOD. (Ephesians 1:14, Ephesians 5:5) - When an emigrant first receives the title-deeds of the broad lands made over to him in the far West, he has no conception, as he descends the steps of the Government office and passes into the crowd, of all that has been conveyed to him in the schedule of parchment. And, though acres vast enough to make an English county are in his possession, rich and loamy soil, or stored with mines of ore, yet he is not sensibly the richer. For long days he travels, towards his inheritance and presently pitches his flimsy shanty upon its borders. But even though he has reached it, several years must pass before he can understand its value, or compel it to minister, with all its products, to his need.

O child of God, thy estate has been procured at the cost of blood and tears; but thou didst not buy it! Its broad acres have been made over to thee by deed of gift. They became thine in the Council chamber of eternity, when the Father gave Himself to thee in Jesus. And they became thine in fact, when thou wast born at the foot of the cross. As soon as thou didst open thine eyes to behold the crucified Lord, thou didst all unconsciously become heir to the lengths and breadths, and depths, and heights of God!

No sooner has the emigrant reached his estate, than he commences to prospect it. He makes a circuit of its bounds; he ascends its loftiest hills; he crosses and recrosses it, that he may know all that has come into his ownership. And this is God's message to thee, O Christian soul! Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all this land is given to thee! Precious things of the sun and of the moon, for God is light; of the ancient mountains of his faithfulness, and the everlasting hills of his truth; of the fountains and brooks of his love, that gush spontaneously forth to satisfy and enrich.

But next to this, the emigrant encloses some small part of his inheritance, placing around it a tentative fence or partition; and here he begins to expend toil and skill. The giant trees are cut down; and their roots burnt out, or extracted by a team of horses. The unaccustomed soil is brought beneath the yoke of the plough. The grassland yields pasture to the cattle; and there is not a square inch of the enclosed territory that does not minister to the needs of the new proprietor. But not content with this, in the following year he pushes his fences back further into the depth of prairie or forest, and again renews his efforts to compel the land to yield him her secret stores. Year after year the process is repeated, until, perhaps when twenty years have come and gone, the fences are needed no longer, because the extent of occupation is commensurate with the extent of the original purchase.

Let every reader mark this, that supposing two men obtained a grant of an equal number of acres, if other things were equal, their wealth would be in exact proportion to the amount of use which each had made of his special acres. If one had learnt a swifter art of appropriating the wealth that lay open to his hand, he would be actually, though perhaps not potentially, richer than his neighbour. All of which is a parable.

The difference that obtains between Christians is not one of grace, but of the use we make of grace. That there are diversities of gift is manifest; and there always will be a vast difference between those who have five talents and those who have two, in the amount of work done for the kingdom of God. But as far as our inheritance of God's grace is concerned, there are no preferences, no step-children's portions, no arbitrary distinctions. It is not as under the laws of primogeniture, that one child takes all, while the younger children are dismissed with meagre allowances. Each soul has the whole of God. God gives Himself to each. He cannot give more; He will not give less than Himself.

If then you would know why it is that some of God's children live lives so much fuller and richer than others, you must seek it in the differences of their appropriation of God. Some have learnt the happy art of receiving and utilizing every square inch if we may use the expression of that knowledge of God which has been revealed to them. They have laid all God's revealed character under contribution. They have raised harvests of bread out of the Incarnation; and vintages of blood-red grape from the scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary; and pomegranates and all manner of fruit out of the mysteries of the Ascension and the gift of the Holy Ghost. In hours of weakness they drew on God's power; in those of suffering, on his patience; in those of misunderstanding and hatred, on his vindication; in those of apparent defeat and despair, on the promises that gleam over the smoke of the battle, as the Cross before the gaze of Constantine; in death itself, on the life and immortality which find their home in the being of Jehovah.

The analogy that we have quoted, however, fails us utterly in its final working out. The emigrant at last covers his estate, its mines become exhausted, its forests levelled, its soil impoverished; but when a million years have passed, the nature of God will lie before us as utterly unexplored and unexhausted, as when the first-born son of light commenced like a Columbus in the spiritual realm to explore the contents of the illimitable continent, God.

When we were children, the map of Africa gave us a few scattered names around the coast line; but the great interior was blank. Modern maps containing the results Of the explorations of Livingstone, Stanley, Burton, tell another story of river, Savannah, tableland, and of myriads of inhabitants. Probably, ere long the whole will have been opened up to European civilization and commerce. But with God this shall never be. We shall never know the far-away springs of the Niles and Congo's of his nature; we shall never unravel the innermost secret of his being. (The Reciprocal Inheritance)

WITH A VIEW TO THE REDEMPTION OF GOD'S OWN POSSESSION: eis apolutrosin tes peripoieseos, eis epainon tes doxes autou:

  • The redemption - Ep 4:30; Leviticus 25:24-34; Psalms 74:2; 78:54; Jeremiah 32:7,8; Luke 21:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:23; 1Peter 2:9
  • Ephesians 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


With a view to (1519) (eis) is a preposition of motion signifying unto, towards. Metaphorically of a state or condition into which one comes (in this case redeemed God's own possession forever)." NET Bible has "until the redemption of God's own possession." 

Redemption (629) (apolutrosis from apo = marker of dissociation or separation + lútron = ransom from lúo = loosen what is bound - How to do Greek Word Study) describes the payment of a price to ransom, buy back and deliver, from a situation from which was powerless to liberate himself or from a penalty which one could never pay. It was used of prisoners of war, slaves, those under penalty of death, of Israel when set free from slavery in Egypt and for God's continual rescuing of His people in the time of their trouble. In the NT, apolutrosis means to to set free men who are prisoner to power of sin, the old nature inherited from Adam, by the payment of a ransom price.

Possession - Literally "the possession". KJV = "purchased possession" (Ep 1:14KJV).

Possession (literally "the possession")(4047) (peripoiesis from perí = acquisition + poiéo = make thus to acquire, purchase) expresses the general ideas of preserving, acquiring, or gaining for one’s self, without specific reference to a price. Refers to the saints as God’s heritage which He preserves for Himself.

The UBS Handbook writes “The possession” has God for Actor: God possesses, and His people, those He had made His own, are His possession; compare NIV “those who are God’s possession.” RSV takes “we” as the subject of the noun: “until we acquire full possession of it”; this is possible, but does not seem as probable as the other interpretation. So TEV translates those who are his. In this verse, we and us are inclusive referring to all of God’s people. The ultimate purpose of the whole process of salvation is the praise offered to God:

Peter writes...

But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION (peripoiesis - "His own special people"), so that (Purpose clause. Always use these "so that's" to interrogate the text -- E.g., What's our purpose as believers? How should this affect our day to day life?, etc) you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9+)

Jamieson comments on the KJV rendering "purchased possession"...God’s people purchased (“acquired,” Greek) as His peculiar (Greek) possession by the blood of Christ (Ac 20:28). We value highly that which we pay a high price for; so God, His Church (Eph 5:25, 26; 1Pe 1:18; 2:9; “my special treasure,” Mal 3:17, Margin). Inc.


John Gill adds that the with a view to the redemption of God's own possession refers to the

saints, of the church of God, who are bought with a price, and are purchased with his blood; and who, as they were redeemed from sin, Satan, and the law, when they were purchased, so will be redeemed again in the resurrection morn, which is called the day of redemption, Eph 4:30, and which will be a redemption of them...

from the weakness, corruption, and mortality of the body; from their present state of absence and pilgrimage;

from the body of sin and death;

from all sorrows and afflictions, both inward and outward;

from the reproaches and persecutions of men;

from a tempting devil, and an unbelieving heart;

from all doubts and fears; and

from death and the grave;

and so the Syriac version very justly renders it, "until the redemption of them that are saved". Now till such time, the Spirit of God abides as an earnest, even until the whole felicity is enjoyed both in soul and body; and this shows the perpetuity of the Spirit's inhabitation, and grace, the final perseverance of the saints, and the security of the inheritance to them.

Couch on with a view to - Paul uses the phrase “with a view.” This is an appropriate translation of the preposition eis, as denoting time. Eis is a Greek preposition that speaks primarily of movement toward something, thus “with a view,” Paul is speaking once again of the future. In this case, however, it is the future of every believer, both Jew and Gentile, when their redemption is fully realized and the inheritance is gained, that is, when the seal of promise through the Holy Spirit is no longer required. The seal secures the guarantee of salvation. The seal cannot be removed or changed. It is a “governmental” sign of what God is going to do. His “property,” the believer, is secured and belongs to Him. (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary)



His glory - Whose glory? In context of the Spirit's sealing and pledge, this would seem to logically be the Holy Spirit. This would "round out" the praise in chapter -

  1. to the Father Who elects (Eph 1:6),
  2. the Son Who redeems (Eph 1:12)
  3. the Spirit Who seals (Eph 1:14). 

Couch on to the praise of His glory  - Always, and in all things, especially in salvation, God receives the glory! He is the author of redemption. He conceived of the plan, sent His Son to carry out the plan, and then applies its gracious effects to the elect. No expenditure of human effort or energy could bring about salvation. It is totally the work of a sovereign God. And no human beings could have devised such a perfect master plan. This is why He alone receives the glory and the honor.....All commentators agree that this section is one of the most complete and comprehensive parts of the Word of God describing the work of salvation. The human side of faith is hardly mentioned. The work of God is amplified and explained with as much detail as the human mind can grasp.(Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary)

John Gill says "the glory of the Father, by Whom the saints are chosen and pre-destined, Eph 1:6 and to the glory of the Son, by Whom they are redeemed, in Whom they obtain the inheritance, and in Whom they trust, Eph 1:12, so to the glory of the Holy Spirit, by Whom they are sealed, and Who is their earnest; for He must have His share of glory in the salvation of the elect, as well as the other two persons. (Glory!)

Guzik - We have this guarantee until we are “completely purchased” by God through resurrection and glorification - again, all to the praise of His glory

Praise (1868) (epainos from epí = upon + ainos = praise). In our humanly–oriented society, God’s wanting exclusive credit seems inappropriate only because men have no concept of His greatness, holiness glory. "

Epainos - 11x in 11v - Rom 2:29; 13:3; 1Cor 4:5; 2 Cor 8:18; Eph 1:6, 12, 14; Phil 1:11; 4:8; 1 Pet 1:7; 2:14. fame(1), praise(9), worthy of praise(1).

Glory (1391) (doxa) means to give a proper opinion or estimate of. God desires creatures that will give Him glory by both proclaiming and displaying His glory. For that reason He redeems men. God alone deserves glory

I like what Wayne Barber says about Ephesians 1 "If you were to come to me and say, "Wayne, if you had one chapter in the Bible that a new believer should be studying and should understand, what chapter would it be?" I would have to say the first chapter of Ephesians because in that chapter everything that God has done for us is very carefully outlined. It shows us His grace. It shows us His love. (Sermon)

F B Meyer writes of the Spirit...

HE IS THE SEAL AND EARNEST OF OUR INHERITANCE. (Ephesians 1:14) Upon the yielded soul the blessed Spirit descends, bearing with Him the likeness of Jesus, which He imprints and fixes, as a stamp will leave its die upon the softened wax. Only melted gold is minted; only moistened clay is moulded; only softened wax receives the die; only broken and contrite hearts can take and keep the impress of heaven. If that is thy condition, wait beneath the pressure of the Holy Spirit; He shall leave the image of Jesus upon thee, and change thee into his likeness, from glory to glory.

This gracious operation is God's seal of authentication. It is as though by an act that could not be mistaken, He said: This soul is mine--redeemed and appropriated for my own possession; and it shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels. We place our seal on that which is unmistakably our own, and deem to be of value; so the likeness of Jesus wrought on us by the Spirit is the sign that God counts us his, and reckons us to be his peculiar treasure.

It is also the earnest of our inheritance. The love, and joy, and peace, which are wrought in us by the Blessed Spirit, are fragrant with the scent and beautiful with the hues of Paradise. They are the grapes of Eshcol; the peaches and pomegranates of the Homeland; the first notes of angelic symphonies; the first flowers of the everlasting spring; the herald rays of a morning that shall rise to the meridian glory of a nightless day. We know that there is a land of pure delight, because we have tasted its fruits; just as Columbus knew that he was drawing near land, when the land-birds alighted on his ship, and the drift of the waves told of human habitations.

Nay, more: we know, as we experience the gracious work of the Holy Spirit, the quality, though not the infinite measure, of the blessedness of heaven. The Spirit's work is not only the pledge; it is the specimen of our inheritance.

In Morning and Evening, Spurgeon writes the following devotional on Ephesians 1:14...

Oh! what enlightenment, what joys, what consolation, what delight of heart is experienced by that man who has learned to feed on Jesus, and on Jesus alone. Yet the realization which we have of Christ's preciousness is, in this life, imperfect at the best. As an old writer says, "'Tis but a taste!" We have tasted "that the Lord is gracious," but we do not yet know how good and gracious he is, although what we know of his sweetness makes us long for more. We have enjoyed the firstfruits of the Spirit, and they have set us hungering and thirsting for the fulness of the heavenly vintage. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption. Here we are like Israel in the wilderness, who had but one cluster from Eshcol, there we shall be in the vineyard. Here we see the manna falling small, like coriander seed, but there shall we eat the bread of heaven and the old corn of the kingdom. We are but beginners now in spiritual education; for although we have learned the first letters of the alphabet, we cannot read words yet, much less can we put sentences together; but as one says, "He that has been in heaven but five minutes, knows more than the general assembly of divines on earth." We have many ungratified desires at present, but soon every wish shall be satisfied; and all our powers shall find the sweetest employment in that eternal world of joy. O Christian, antedate heaven for a few years. Within a very little time thou shalt be rid of all thy trials and thy troubles. Thine eyes now suffused with tears shall weep no longer. Thou shalt gaze in ineffable rapture upon the splendour of him who sits upon the throne. Nay, more, upon his throne shalt thou sit. The triumph of his glory shall be shared by thee; his crown, his joy, his paradise, these shall be thine, and thou shalt be co-heir with him who is the heir of all things.

Guaranteed Future - One day my friend Arthur Lewis, an expert in biblical Greek, was walking along the streets of Athens. Accompanying him was a professor who teaches Greek. They stopped occasionally to read the signs in shop windows.

As they gazed into a jewelry store, they saw a sign with the word arrabon on it. When they entered and talked to the proprietor, he told them that in modern Greek the word arrabon means "an engagement ring." The Greek professor thought for a moment, then commented, "How interesting! In the New Testament that's the term for 'a guarantee, a down payment.'"

In Ephesians 1:13, 14, we are told that the Holy Spirit is given to believers as an arrabon, a down payment, a guarantee of heaven. The blessing of the Spirit's presence in our hearts is a foretaste of the greater blessings we will enjoy when as the bride of Christ we are eternally united with our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus.

Now the Spirit lives in us to give us guidance and power to live for God (Jn 16:13; Gal. 5:22, 23-note). But someday we'll have even more: We will live in the very presence of God. With joyful anticipation we await that day--for our future is guaranteed! --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God's guidance and help that we need day to day
Is given to all who believe;
The Spirit has sealed us--He's God's guarantee
That heaven we'll one day receive. --J D Brannon

The greatest joy on earth is the sure hope of heaven.