More Pondering from the Ponderosa. We are thinking about seven ministries of the Holy Spirit. We have gone through regeneration, baptism, indwelling, and now we will consider the Holy Spirit’s sealing ministry. Does a Christian truly have eternal life or do we receive probationary life from God, until we commit a serious sin? It should be obvious to the most casual Bible student that if eternal life can be lost, it was never eternal life to begin with.
A truly amazing characteristic of God’s Holy Spirit is His sealing ministry. Speaking of Jesus Christ, Paul wrote that inHim (Christ) you trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation (one is to respond to the gospel by faith in Christ), in whom also, having believed (one first hears the gospel and believe in Christ) you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).
What does it mean to be sealed with the Holy Spirit? One of the most cherished teachings in the Bible is the life of Noah and the great flood. God judged and destroyed the entire civilization of man, sparing only one family. You remember that God placed Noah and his family and all the animals in the ark, and He shut them in (Genesis 7:16). God alone was the doorman! He saw to it that the door remained securely closed until all were safely deposited in the new world.
When the flood was over, Noah and his people and all the animals exited the ark safely onto a new world. Why? God guarded that door. After the flood, God promised never to destroy this world again—by water. But He did not promise never to destroy this world again (2 Peter 3:3–5).
Scoffers are here today! They are asking, “Where is your God? What about His promise to once again engage this world with His judgment?” Evil is rampant. The Bible’s view of marriage has been compromised. Babies are being slaughtered by the millions. We are immersed in a sexual revolution, and a civil revolution, and now this pandemic. Many thought that these events would never happen, but they are here. Once again, people are asking, “Where is your God?” Centuries have passed and still no Christ. Things continue to get worse. The scoffers are once again doing exactly what they did before Noah’s flood.
Just as Noah and his family were spared from God’s wrath by being positioned in the ark, those who will be spared from God’s coming wrath must be positioned in the body of Jesus Christ (baptism of the Holy Spirit) (1 Corinthians 12:13). He is our Ark. Those who are “in Christ” will never perish (John 10:28). Once in Christ, we can never get out of Him. Just as God shut Noah and his family safely in the ark, He, by the sealing ministry of His Holy Spirit, also shuts us safely in Christ.
With no postal service in the ancient world, important documents were sent by runners. These documents had an official seal pressed upon the folds of the document. If the seal was broken for any reason before the letter was delivered, the carrier was arrested and punished, and the contents of the document rendered of no value. The seal could be broken only by the one to whom the letter was addressed.
Believers in Christ are sealed forever in Him (Ephesians 1:3-4). We are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of our redemption. “Until” is a time word. We are sealed until the redemption of the purchased possession. We are sealed until God Himself breaks the seal by taking us to be with Him. He opens the door into His kingdom. Wow! This sealing ministry of the Spirit is said to be a guarantee. This is the Greek word, arroban, a pledge, which can be translated engagement ring. An engagement ring is a symbol that a promise will be kept. God the Holy Spirit’s seal becomes the guarantee that our position in Christ is forever secure. “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Stay safe and stay tuned.