Ephesians 1:13-14 - The Holy Spirit's Sealing
Let us then take a moment to read all of Ephesians 1:3-14 as a way of reminding us what we have considered over the last month. And then we will primarily look at verses 13-14 today.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Charles Spurgeon once recounted a time when he visited one of his elders who was laying on his death bed. The elder looked at Spurgeon with some new found clarity due to his impending death and he said, “How silly all those arguments against the gospel now appear to me! I have read some of them, and I have noted the attacks upon the old faith, but they seem quite absurd to me now that I lie on the edge of eternity. What could the new doctrine do for me now?”
Spurgeon described this man on his death bed in this way, “I never saw so much joy at a wedding as I saw in that quiet chamber. He hoped soon to be with Jesus; and he was joyful in the prospect. He said, ‘I have no doubt, no cloud, no trouble, no want; nay, I have not even a wish. The doctrine you have taught has served me to live by, now it serves me to die by. I am resting upon the precious blood of Christ, and it is a firm foundation.’”
Spurgeon then said these words, “We shall evermore keep to the Word of God, because we have had experience of its power within ourselves...Like a hammer the Word of God broke your hardened heart, and brought down your stubborn will. By the Word you were brought to the cross, and comforted by the atonement. The Word breathed new life into you; and when, for the first time, you knew yourself to be a child of God, and felt the ennobling power of the gospel received by faith. The Holy Spirit wrought your salvation through the Holy Scriptures...It was neither human reasoning, nor the force of eloquence, nor the power of moral persuasion, but the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, applying the Word itself, that gave you rest and peace and joy through believing. We are ourselves trophies of the power of the sword and the Spirit.”
I could not think of a better story to introduce us to our text than the one I just shared. In that story we see a man on his death bed celebrating the fact that his heavenly inheritance was soon going to become a reality to him. In that moment, when death was creeping up on him, this man said, “I have no doubt, no cloud, no trouble, no want; nay, I have not even a wish.”.
This man could see that that LORD had kept him and had sealed him in this life. As a result of this sealing and guaranteeing work of the Spirit, this man was not led away by all of the attacks against the gospel in which he had put his trust.
Interestingly enough it was in this moment, when his strength was failing and the light of his eyes were fading that he was able to see with the greatest clarity. He said, “I have noted the attacks upon the old faith, but they seem quite absurd to me now that I lie on the edge of eternity. What could the new doctrine do for me now?”
He is on the edge of eternity and from there he sees more clearly than ever before saying, “I am resting upon the precious blood of Christ, and it is a firm foundation.”
Who is this that this man spoke of during his final hours here in this earth?
Who is the man whose blood is a firm foundation on which to set our confidence and hope?
It is Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. The apostle John describes him in this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3, 14)
John the Baptist describes Him by saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
While laying upon his death bed this man considered the eternal Son of God who had died for him. While doing so, this man was at peace and content.