“In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” Eph. 1.13.
Some consider this sealing as the highest assurance, which but few obtain. Others as a state of perfection in holiness and entire freedom from the being of sin, which some pretend to, but no one enjoys in this life. But it is plain the apostle means nothing more than what all believers in common are favoured with. Not ‘after ye believed’ but ‘in believing ye were sealed’ is the proper sense of the text. That is, as soon as you received the truth in the love of it, you were sealed with the Spirit as the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Consider what is implied in being sealed. A seal is to make an impression on its contents. Sealing an instrument is making it valid, and acknowledging it as our act and deed. The heart of a believing .sinner, melted by the word and Spirit of God is the subject of this healing. The contents of this seal are grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ (Jn. 1.17). This is sealed upon the heart by the act and deed of the Holy Spirit. This impress of our salvation by the grace and truth of the Son of God, is made so deep and lasting on the relieving heart, that time with all its changes, sin with all its
malignity, the world with all its charms and frowns, and Satan with all his power and fraud, can never, never efface it. It will remain as
the impress of the seal on the wax. It answers to the revelation of Jesus Christ made in the word, as the impressed wax to the seal. Such a sealed heart is God’s jewel. He has distinguished it as His own. It will receive no other impression, but from the broad seal of heaven, salvation by the blood and righteousness of the Son of God only.
Now, is this sealed upon your heart? Do you reject with abhorrence every other hope? Do you believe in, look to, and trust Jesus for all your salvation? Then rejoice: you are sealed.
Consider again, that all believers are sealed. The Sealer is ‘the Spirit of promise’. He is promised to all the believing members of Christ, for they are the ‘heirs of promise’. They have all fled to Jesus for refuge and laid hold of Him as their hope; and nothing but consolation, strong consolation, awaits them from the God of promise. Not without cause is the Sealer the Holy Spirit; for, by His healing He impresses the heart with the love of Christ, of truth, and of holiness. Hereby He fulfils our Lord’s prayer for His members:
sanctify them through thy truth’ (Jn. 17.17). Therefore, though in heaviness through manifold temptations, though in dejection from many enemies, let not go your confidence of faith. Rate not yourself an unbeliever; think not yourself under the curse of the law; deny lot the Spirit’s work. For if you believe on Jesus in your heart, you are ‘sealed unto the day of redemption’ (Eph. 4.30).
2. THE EARNEST
“God . . . hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” ‘Cor. 1.22.
None but a sinner believing in Christ can say. God has sealed me;
but every believer in Him may truly say so. But, do all believers alike enjoy the comfort of this sealing? No; no more than any one believer enjoys at all times the comfort of it. It is a certain truth, that by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ ‘Rom. 5.1). Though every believer is alike justified before God, .and is at peace with God, yet every one has not the same sense of peace, nor any one at all times: so it is of this blessed privilege of sealing. But if it is not looked upon and believed, that it may be alike enjoyed in common by all believers, many will rest short of the comfort of it; and this is indeed the case. How few believers are crying, Lord give me the comfort of this sealing! In believing we are sealed; in believing we enjoy the comfort of it.
But here is another precious blessing of the Lord to His people:
the earnest of the Spirit’. This also is the privilege of all believers. Consider, what is an earnest? It is a pledge given in covenants and
contracts as a part to ensure the whole. This is common in things of this life. So in salvation God gives His Spirit as the earnest and pledge of our certain enjoyment of all the glory and blessedness of heaven. This is according to covenant love and promise to sinners who believe in Christ.
But how is the Spirit an earnest of this? Mind, it is ‘in our hearts’. He brings our hearts to believe in, and to be in love with Christ. Yea, He brings Christ into our hearts, and He dwells there by faith. He bears witness of Christ and of salvation by Him. He takes of the things of Christ, such as adoption by Him, union to Him, pardon of sin through His blood, justification in His righteousness, peace with God and joy in God, through His mediation, and the hope of eternal life through His intercession. He shows these unto us. Thus, says Christ, ‘He shall glorify Me’ (Jn. 16.14).
Thus He fills us with joy and peace in believing. He bears witness to our spirits that we are the children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus, and that salvation is sure in Him to us. Oh believers, see your inestimable privilege. Give the Lord the glory of it, and plead the comfort of it. This will endear the love of Father, Son, and Spirit to your hearts; cause you to look down with contempt on the world, to hate all sin, to love holiness, and to look up with longing delight and growing meetness for heaven and glory. And be assured, that as truly as God gave His Son to die for your sins, and has given His Spirit as an earnest in your heart, eternal life also shall be yours by His free gift (Rom. 6.23).
3. SEALED UNTO THE DAY
“Ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Eph. 4.30.
This sealing, here and elsewhere, is spoken of as a thing done. Ye are; ye were; God hath sealed us (2 Cor. 1.22). If all believers are not sealed, it is absurd to exhort them to ‘grieve not the Spirit whereby ye are sealed’. Know, believers, that this is your inestimable privilege. Rejoice in it and give the Lord the glory of it. May the Spirit, the Sealer, help us to make some improvement of it.
(1) Are all believers sealed unto the day of redemption? Then is their estate safe, and their salvation sure. ‘The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his’ (2 Tim. 2.19). ‘They shall be mine, saith the Lord, when I make up my jewels’ (Mal. 3.17). It is blasphemous to assert that any soul may go to hell whom the Spirit has sealed with the broad seal of heaven.
(2) Are we thus sealed by the Spirit? Then let our souls adore His eternal power and godhead, and praise Him for His work in us. What power, short of omnipotent, could open our blind eyes,
quicken our dead souls, subdue our rebellious wills, and bring our proud self-righteous hearts, to submit to the righteousness of Christ, and to receive Him for our whole salvation?
(3) Has the Spirit sealed us as the sons of God, and possessed our hearts with the peace of God, through faith in Christ? Then -beware that you do not grieve the Spirit. If we bear the impress of the Spirit’s seal, shall we then do the devil’s drudgery in our lives with God’s seal upon our hearts? Oh ye sealed ones of God, be singular for God; be exemplary in your lives before Him. Consider whose image and superscription you bear; sink not below your dignity; shun Vanity Fair, avoid what gratifies the flesh; flee the scenes of folly, leaving them to those who know not the love of your Saviour. Live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit.
(4) Sealed believer, know that this sealing of the Spirit is the finishing grace of the covenant of love. Now you are ‘complete in Christ’ (Col. 2.10). Your title is clear to the heavenly inheritance. Live by faith upon the comfort of it; reject all doubts and fears concerning it. Soon you shall possess ‘the day of redemption’; lay hold on eternal life (1 Tim. 6.12).
William Mason (1719-1791)