Paul tells us that our salvation, our position with Christ is “sealed” by the Holy Spirit. The seal was made with wax and marked with the emblem of the one who made the seal. The emblem was usually on a signet ring that would identify the family symbol, or perhaps the royal family. Every governmental authority had a seal to denote their particular office. The emissaries of the king were entrusted with the royal seal to conduct official business. Therefore, having a seal meant having power.
There are three uses of a “seal” in the ancient world:• The seal marked the document as authentic.• The seal made the document secure.• The seal denoted ownership.
The Holy Spirit guarantees that our salvation is authentic.
When a person turns to God in repentance and faith in Jesus as Savior, they are saved. This happens instantaneously. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit seals us at the same time – the moment we hear the word of truth and believe. In the same way that the seal of a Notary marks a signature on a document as genuine, the presence of the Holy Spirit guarantees that a Christian’s salvation is authentic. The Holy Spirit will not be present in a false Christian.
At some time or other, every Christian has experienced doubt as to the nature of their salvation. We may have wondered whether what we experienced was true or whether or not we “believed hard enough.” This verse lets us know that all our insecurities can be laid to rest not because of how good we are at expressing faith, but rather because the Holy Spirit has declared our salvation to be authentic.
The Holy Spirit guarantees that our salvation is secure.
The older term “earnest” is usually rendered “down-payment” in modern versions. It is taken directly from the Hebrew word for “pledge,” as one would use an item for collateral. If you put a down-payment on something and decide not to complete the purchase, you lose your down-payment. God is not going to lose the Holy Spirit which is a down-payment on us. Our salvation is guaranteed.
This also means that our redemption is not complete. We are 100% saved but our salvation will not be complete until we get to heaven. The guarantee of the Spirit is that we definitely will get there.
The Holy Spirit guarantees that we belong to God.
In the movie Toy Story, Andy, the owner of the toys wrote his name on his toys. Children everywhere have done the same. Mothers everywhere have written names on their children’s clothes before they went to camp. In the Book of Revelation, we read how the Beast will mark those that belong to him. His mark is a brand, like cattle. By contrast, the Spirit seals His own with His name.
There is a fourth aspect to the concept of “sealing” that is worth mentioning here. Think of a crime scene marked off by police tape. It signals to all that the area is not to be tampered with. It is a warning. Roman authorities sealed the tomb of Jesus but Jesus was resurrected by a higher Authority. That is the Authority that seals us and warns our enemies, “Servant of God – Do Not Cross.”