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  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3
   
 

Sealed With the Holy Spirit

“Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5. The “much assurance” given the believer concerns his present and his future. God assures the believer (1) that he is now a child of God, (2) that everlasting life will be his at Christ’s return, and (3) that he will have an inheritance in the new earth.

How may one who has surrendered his life to Christ find assurance that God will continue to recognize him as His child? The Bible promises that he who was “heard” the Word of God and ‘believed” its promises is “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, … the earnest of our inheritance.” (Ephesians 1:13,14.) The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life attests our acceptance. (1 John 3:24; 4:13.) The gift of God’s Spirit constitutes the “earnest,” or “down payment,” which God gives every born-again soul to assure him that the rest of the blessings promised will be given him in due time. And this presence of the Holy Spirit influencing the inner life thus seals or certifies God’s promises.

Paul said, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30. This “day of redemption” occurs at Christ’s Second Coming. Thus, the Spirit’s presence in the life assures us of a resurrection. (Romans 8:23; Luke 21:27,28; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17.)

Though we cannot comprehend it, God has bequeathed of all His vast holdings to His children. The children of the resurrection are to be “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” (Romans 8:17.) However, how can we know that we shall have an inheritance in the new earth? Paul declared that those who “have the first fruits of the Spirit” would have the assurance. (Verse 23.) All who have received the Holy Spirit have the initial installment, or binding down payment. With Abraham they can look with confidence for that “city … whose builder and maker is God.” (Hebrews 11:10-16.)

A seal has many functions. First of all, it produces an image. Whatever is sealed becomes a counterpart of the seal. Job’s imagery, “turned as clay to the seal” (Job 38:14), well portrays this aspect of a seal. God has indeed sealed the Christian who reflects the image of Jesus.

A seal constitutes an announcement that every condition has been met and approved. Of Jesus we read, “Him hath God the Father sealed.” John 6:27. Jesus was indeed “approved of God.” (Acts 2:22.) Peter described Him as He “who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:22.)

The Bible uses various terms to describe different aspects of the Christian’s relationship to heavenly citizenship. The concept of being “sealed” (Ephesians 1:13) looks forward to a finished work; “adoption” (Galatians 4:4-6) emphasizes a relationship; and sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11) connotes a process. All refer to a progressive experience continuing throughout life.

Christ explained who would be saved: “He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10. Death concludes or seals one’s character development. What a man is at death, he will be in the resurrection.

However, some living in time’s last hour will not come under the power of the grave. They will live to see Jesus come and be “caught up” – that is translated – at His glorious appearing. (1 Thessalonians 4:16,17.) The Bible speaks of these as “sealed,” not sealed in the grave, but sealed during their lifetime, sealed when probation closes, sealed because in character they have made the necessary preparation to endure the test and trials of the seven last plagues and meet Christ at His Second Coming. However, sin can never be approved of God. No one who is not living up to all the light he has will be sealed. (James 4:17.)

Life bears many uncertainties. No one knows what tomorrow holds. However, we can know today that we have accepted Christ and that we are accepted by Him because we have presence of His Spirit in our hearts and lives. We can know today that we are living up to all the light that is falling on our pathway. We can know today that we are settling into the truth through obedience to the Word of God and the Spirit’s promptings. We can know that we are day by day being sealed by the Spirit into an experience that will prepare us for Christ’s return and qualify us to receive an inheritance in God’s everlasting kingdom.



   
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