THE HOLY SPIRIT'S WORK IN THE SEALING OF THE BELIEVER
THE DOCTRINE PRACTICED:
The sealing of the Holy Spirit is that process by which the Holy Spirit
is sealed up within our own ego and person, so that He is rendered completely
inoperative in our lives. NO! This is not what sealing is, but many today
seem to operate as if this were the proper interpretation and definition
of the doctrine.
Eph. 4:30, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed
unto the day of redemption."
Note, that whatever this sealing is, it is for a long long time. It
is till the day of redemption! We will have the Spirit until the day that
we are finally and completely redeemed from this earth and miserable state!
We also notice that we are not to grieve the Spirit in this verse. We will
deal with this subject in a coming study.
What is a seal? An animal that likes to balance balls - yes. Christmas
and Easter seals - yes. However, in this case it means much more. In the
legal area it is something that indicates a guaranteeing of the contents
of that which is sealed.
Let me give you some illustrations of seals? There are seals dating
to the days of the Babylonians for certain. They have found barrel seals
that are placed in the Babylonian period with pictures of a man and woman
and snake. Seals have been around for many years. They would role the seal
in fresh clay to leave the impression. The kings of Europe used ring seals.
They would imprint warm wax with their ring so that all could know that
the item was from the king. We still have the ancestors of the old time
seal. When you graduated you probably received a diploma imprinted with
a seal of some sort.
Gift shops still sell little seals with wax sticks. You melt the wax
on the back of your sealed envelope and then press the seal into the hot
wax. It is for ornamentation, yet it guarantees that the seal of the letter
has not been disturbed.
When a new teacher's belongings arrived one summer in Wyoming, the driver
had to use tools to break a steal band that had been placed on the container
when it was loaded in Germany. That seal guaranteed that no person had
entered that container along the way. The seal had a number on it that
was a double guarantee of no entry. That number matched the receipt that
the couple had signed in Germany.
As believers, God has sealed us in some manner, and the Spirit is that
seal. He is our guarantee that something is going to happen, that our final
redemption will come. He is also our guarantee that nothing is going to
happen - that is our eternal security.
Since He is our seal, how can we know that we are saved? We can know
by knowing the work and presence of the Spirit in our life. If you have
known the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life, then you have known
the seal that guarantees your salvation.
There is the idea of approval as well in the seal. When the container
was sealed there was an approval from someone on the other end that knew
that what was inside was in good shape and complete.
"Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our
hearts." II Cor. 1:22 Note should be made that the sealing is like indwelling
in that it is for all believers, even the carnal and babes of Corinth.
It is automatic, it is complete, it is irrevocable, it is impossible to
reject when you are saved, and it is impossible to reject when you don't
feel that you're saved.
The seal of the Holy Spirit comes when we believe and are saved. "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, Who is the earnest of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his
glory." Eph. 1:13, 14
Just when is this redemption going to take place? Either at death, or
at the Rapture.
The seal on the overseas container, with its number also identified
that container as belonging to that particular couple. So, the seal that
we bear identifies us as belonging to the one that sealed us - God. II
Tim. 2:19 tells us, "Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure,
having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every one
that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
It is of interest in the verse that God knows His own because of the
seal that He has given, but notice that next phrase! Based on God knowing
His own, Paul adds, "...Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart
from iniquity." Based on God knowing us, we are told to depart from iniquity!!
There are two terms used for seal in the New Testament.
Both terms are always translated as some form of the word seal. (sealed
is Strong's number 4972 which is the Greek word "sphragizo"; seal is Strong's
4973 which is the Greek word "sphragis")
INFORMATION OF INTEREST
1. Ryrie mentions that Eph. 1:13 can be interpreted two ways quite perfectly,
due to the construction. It can indicate that there was an interval of
time between believing and the sealing. The other, quite valid, interpretation
is that they occurred at the same moment. He also mentions, and he agrees
with me, that logically it would fit best for the believing and sealing
to occur at the same time, or in that instant when all the many things
of salvation occur. However, logic demands the sequence of trusting, then
those saving items from God.
2. It is hard to tell whether it is the Spirit that actually does the
sealing or if He is only that which is given. It is clear that God sealed,
but was it the Father, Son or Spirit. We can't be certain from the texts
we are given.
Eph. 4:30, "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed
unto the day of redemption." This text seems to indicate it was the Spirit,
the verse can also read "in whom" ye are sealed rather than by whom. The
preposition is translated both ways in the scriptures.
In II Cor. 1:21 it mentions that it is God that seals us. It would seem
logical that if God is keeping, and God is the one that promises, and God
is the one that seals that it would be the Father that does the Sealing
with the giving of the Holy Spirit.
3. The II Tim. passage (2:19) does not specifically speak of the seal
of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is not mentioned. It probably is, however
authors tend to assume, then state it as fact.
4. Jo. 6:27 mentions that God sealed Christ. We can learn little from
this due to the special relationship Christ had to the Trinity. Whether
this is speaking of the same type of seal or not we don't know. I would
assume possibly that if there were similarities that Paul would have mentioned
it. Christ needed no seal in relation to redemption because He didn't need
to be redeemed or saved, so I doubt that it was the same.
5. Actually the sealing of the Holy Spirit is the indwelling of the
Spirit. His dwelling in us is that guarantee that is the seal.
1. Ownership was one of the things that the seal of the New Testament
day meant. In Ephesus they had a large lumber trade. Merchants of the area
would come to select and buy lumber, then place their seal or signet on
the lumber. At a later time one of his workers or servants would come to
the harbor and select out the lumber that had their masters seal on it
and take it home.
The seal is not unknown in real estate transactions. The Old Testament
relates of times when deeds were sealed, and this is a picture to many
of the seven seal book of Revelation. The seal was to be opened, or used
by only certain people.
The seal implies ownership. We are bought with a price. Again, I must
ask the question that I have posed in previous studies. If God owns us
then how dare we begin to make decisions concerning what we are going to
do in life without first contacting Him? We presume enormously to consider
our lives apart from His wishes!
2. We have seen that the Old Testament saints were not indwelt, baptized,
nor sealed. What can we draw from those facts? God is doing something special
for us in the Church age. The next question is, why? Might it be that God
is proving something very special to the principalities of the air? That
no matter what God does for man, or offers to man, that man will turn against
God. It seems that this may be a good reason for the dispensations.
3. The idea of sealing is also a very good doctrine for the insecure
believer. If God has sealed us then there is no way that we can unseal
ourselves. He will keep us until all that He has promised has come to pass.
Any concept of the seal in history relates that the seal guarantees the
contents of something. How can the contents ever unseal itself? IMPOSSIBLE!
Ryrie has a very good paragraph. "The concept of sealing includes the
ideas of ownership, authority, responsibility, and, above all, security.
Sealing assures us of the security of God's promises to us, especially
our salvation. We can be certain (a) that He possesses us, (b) that we
have a secure salvation sealed by and with the Spirit, and (c) that He
purposes to keep us to the day of our full redemption." (Reprinted by permission:
Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 360)
I like that thought that almighty God purposes to keep us!
4. The II Tim. text mentions that the sealed person is to depart from
iniquity. We need not say much more than that!
5. It is of interest that the sealing is an act which yields nothing
further than what it, in itself, means. Because of it we will continue
to be sealed unto the day of redemption, however there is nothing further
that will benefit or act on our behalf aside from its original intent.
6. II Cor. 1:22 and Eph. 1:13,14 both mention that the Spirit is our
earnest. In real estate transactions there is what they call earnest money.
It is money given by the buyer and received by the seller as a token of
their promise to one another to consummate the deal. It is their guarantee
to one another. God has given us the Holy Spirit as His earnest money to
guarantee His deal with us. The Spirit is our guarantee that He will redeem
Not only are we sealed to that end but the Spirit is a double guarantee
of what God has promised.
If we then are assured that we have the Spirit indwelling us on a permanent
basis then we can have security! Tell that to the insecure believer and
possibly it will do some good.