The sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit is our assurance from God of a secure future. The word in Greek for sealing is “sphragizo” and means to secure, to signify ownership, or to authenticate. We must always interpret Scripture in the time in which it was written. In Biblical times a seal or signet was used to authenticate a transaction or to show ownership of property.
A perfect illustration of this is found in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament. In this story the king sends his ring with his servant, which is to be used as the seal of authority. Even though it was used by a servant (who has no authority himself), it carried the authority of the king. It is the person behind the seal that has the authority, the seal being authentication that the king has authorized the transaction.
In the same manner, God seals the believer at salvation with His seal. God’s seal is not a ring, but rather the Holy Spirit Himself. “The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” What exactly does the Holy Spirit seal for the believer? We are told in Ephesians 1, where Paul enumerates certain spiritual blessings that belong to all believers. In verse four he states that we are the elect (chosen for privilege) of God and that we are made holy (set apart) and blameless before Him (a reference to our position in Christ). In verse five we are told that we have been predestined (a predetermined plan for each of us) and that we have been adopted into the family of God. Verse six tells us that we have been accepted in the beloved. In verse seven we learn that we have been forgiven and redeemed and in verse eight and nine we are told that God’s will has been revealed to us. In verses ten and eleven we find out that we have an eternal inheritance as a result of being in union with Christ. And finally in verses twelve and thirteen we are told that God places His seal on these blessings by sending His Holy Spirit to indwell us because of our faith in Christ.
The reason God the Holy Spirit is our seal is that He is the one Who is able to search and know the “heart” of man. The heart in Greek is the word “kardia” and refers to the soul, which is a compartment in the mind of a person. It also refers to the center of man’s will, intellect and emotions. It is not referring to the pumping organ. The reason the word for heart is used to designate the soul is that the physical heart circulates blood to the entire body. In like manner the soul circulates information. It is doctrinal information circulating in the soul that the Holy Spirit uses to teach and guide the believer.
Every believer is sealed at the moment of faith in Christ (salvation). We know this from an examination of Scripture in the original language. The correct translation, for example, of Ephesians 1:13 is “In whom ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also having believed (not after you believed) ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” The sealing work of the Holy Spirit is immediate and simultaneous with our faith in Christ.
We know from Ephesians 4:30 that every believer is “sealed”, not just a select few. The Apostle Paul is writing to all believers in Ephesus, not just certain ones. In this verse he tells them not to grieve the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we all have the potential of grieving the Holy Spirit. This means that all believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit, regardless of their spiritual health.
The sealing of the Holy Spirit provides security for the believer. Since the sealing is permanent, no believer can become “insecure.” Verse thirteen in Ephesians chapter one makes the statement that we are sealed until “the day of redemption.” When is the “day of redemption and what does it mean to be redeemed?” The “day of redemption” is a reference to Ultimate Sanctification, which takes place at the Rapture of the Church. At the moment of Christ’s return, when all believers of this age are “caught up” to meet Him in the air we will only then realize our ultimate redemption. In other words, we will realize the fulfillment of the fact that we have been redeemed. At that time there will be no more sin, sickness or sorrow for believers.
We still reside in this body while here on earth, but our true home is Heaven. We are just passing though this life, but our real citizenship is in Heaven. When Christ returns for us at the Rapture, we will realize ultimate sanctification. All the truth of our position in Christ and all the potential of experiential sanctification that the believer fulfilled (divine production) will be a reality when Christ returns for His Church (all believers of this age).
For the believer there is going to be a change. Each of us is going to receive a glorified body fashioned after Christ’s body. This will be an instantaneous change as we are being “caught up” to meet Christ in the air.
Ultimate sanctification will be a reality for all believers regardless of their spiritual status. Mature and immature believers will receive a glorified body and will spend all of eternity in perfect happiness. There will, however, be a loss of magnificent rewards and blessings for those who fail to accurately execute the Christian Way of Life.
The definition of the word “redeemed” is “to be purchased from the slave market of sin.” There are three Greek words for redemption, “agorazo” meaning “to buy”, “exagorazo” meaning “to buy out of or remove from sale” and “lutroo” meaning “to release on receipt of ransom or payment.” Christ has redeemed us from the slave market of sin and from the Mosaic Law.
There are several definitions for sin in the Word of God: “falling short of God’s righteousness” (Romans 3:23), “transgression”, which is overstepping God’s law (Psalm 51:1-4), “trespasses”, which is deviation from God’s righteousness (Ephesians 2:1), “disobedience”, which is rebellion against God’s law (I Timothy 1:9-10), and unbelief in Christ as Savior (the only unpardonable sin) (John 8:24). Christ redeemed us from all sin.
The believer is also redeemed from the Mosaic Law, which had been distorted into a system of “pseudo-salvation” by religious Jewish leaders. The Law was never designed to provide salvation, but rather it shows us our need for a Savior and points us to Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament practice of the “kinsman redeemer” is a perfect example of how Christ redeems us from the Law and from sin. Certain requirements had to be met in order for a person to redeem someone from slavery. The redeemer had to be a relative, he had to be able to redeem by meeting the purchase price and he had to be willing to redeem the person in slavery.
By His taking on humanity, Jesus Christ became a “kinsman” to all mankind. (John 1:1-3,14) In order to meet the purchase price, Christ had to be perfect (no sin of His own to pay for). He was born of a virgin, without a sin nature, and lived a sinless life, which qualified Him to meet the purchase price for our sin. (Matthew 1:23, I Timothy 3:16; Romans 5:8; II Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 2:9-11, 4:15: I Peter 1:18) Christ was also willing to redeem us. He was obedient to the Father’s plan for salvation and gave His life freely. Christ even “set aside” the power of His deity (doctrine of Kenosis) and used the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish all of this for us. (Philippians 2:5-8; Romans 5:19, Luke 22:42, 23:46)
The results of redemption are that the believer is:
We have been “bought with a price”… the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. We have been made eternally secure by the sealing of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we have no reason to “doubt our salvation” or to feel insecure in our relationship with God.