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Signed, sealed, and safely delivered

April 6, 2011

My daughter, Sarah, and her fiancé, Justin, are getting married June 18th. We’ve been busy with a variety of exciting wedding tasks. For instance, I’ve helped make program fans, address invitations, and create darling “ribbon wands” for the guests to wave during the send off.

Justin presented Sarah with the ring during a sweet proposal in the park last July. Beautiful, old-fashioned filigree work surrounds the diamond. It suits her perfectly. The ring constantly reminds Sarah that the wedding is coming, that Justin has promised to marry her.

In Ephesians 1:14, Paul uses the Greek word arrhabon to describe the Holy Spirit. Arrhabon, which can be translated as “earnest” or “deposit,” also refers to an engagement ring in modern Greek. Like an engagement ring, the Holy Spirit is a constant reminder of God’s promises to us.

Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance… Ephesians 1:13-14

As Sandra shared with us yesterday, from beginning to end, our salvation is a work of God. God “regenerates” us or gives us new spiritual life through His Spirit (John 3:3-6). Once “dead” in our transgressions and sins, God made us alive through the “regenerating” presence of His Spirit (Eph 2:1,5). (Kristi will dig into this a little more next week.)

In addition to regeneration, the Holy Spirit does some very specific work in a new Christian. Ephesians 1:13-14 uses two phrases/terms to describe what the Holy Spirit does in our life the moment we are saved.

  • We are “marked in Him with a seal.”
  • He is our “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.”

The Holy Spirit “marks” or “seals” believers. In the ancient world, a wax seal was often used on letters, documents, or containers as a mark of ownership, identification, or authenticity. When God saves us, He marks us with His Spirit, to prove we belong to Him. The Holy Spirit gives us emotional and spiritual assurance of our salvation. Also, like a seal, the Spirit’s presence protects us from Satan and his activity.

God also gives us His Spirit as a deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promises. The Spirit is a “down payment,” giving us a taste of what we will fully experience with God when we get to heaven. Like an engagement ring on a young woman’s hand, the Holy Spirit constantly reminds us of God’s eternal intentions. He is God’s gift of peace and security for every believer.

In what ways does the Holy Spirit remind you that you belong to God?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2011 1:13 am

    How timely. We *just* studied these verses in our fellowship last night (and on to how the Spirit intercedes in our prayers). Our pastor has explained the seal history and “down payment” analogies before, too, and I love those phrases for understanding this gracious gift.


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