Copyright Rev. Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. 1992





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")


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 us.

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.