Marked with a Seal—Ephesians 1:13-14
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Last summer, we tried canning for the first time. We had an abundant tomato harvest so naturally we wanted to preserve as much as we could. The process was simple enough—sterilizing the jars, blanching the tomatoes, and boiling the jars to remove air and seal them. Now we have a shelf full of canned tomatoes that will last a very long time.
Something similar happens when we receive the gospel message. We are marked, sealed, and preserved by God. He puts both His mark of ownership on us and “seals” us through the promised Holy Spirit to preserve us for the day of redemption.
Just like canning, there are a few steps in this process. First, we must hear the good news message of Jesus and accept it (Rom. 10:9-10, 13-14). Then we will receive a new spirit that serves as our deposit or guarantee of what is coming (2 Cor. 1:21b-22, 5:17; Eph. 1:14). This spirit is just like the righteousness and holiness of Jesus (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). This is why God seals us. He does this for preservation purposes so sin will not corrupt our newly born-again nature (1 John 3:9).
Not only can we look at this sealing as a means of preservation for this world, but also as proof of ownership for the next. When God places His stamp on us, it means that we belong to Him in the same way a king of old would place his mark on a letter or document and thereby show his authority over the content. When we believe, God marks us as His own and this is our down payment for what is coming: “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Cor. 1:21b-22).
F.F. Bruce in his commentary on Ephesians explains it this way, “An owner seals his property with his signet to mark it as his; if at a later time he comes to claim it and his right to it is questioned, his seal is sufficient evidence and puts an end to such questioning. So, the fact that believers are endowed with the Spirit is the token that they belong in a special sense to God.... Other seals, literal or figurative (like circumcision, the seal of the covenant with Abraham), were affixed externally; the seal of the New Covenant is imprinted in the believing heart.”
As you can see, something significant happens when we accept the gospel message—but this is just the starting point! It is just the down payment of what is coming. Today, take a moment to thank God for being so thorough about our redemption.