We always hear people in the church today say that "we are sealed with the Holy Spirit". Exactly how true is this though?
When examining Paul's letter to the church of Ephesus, we see something that should really catch our attention. He is explaining to them the redemption that they had in Christ, through His blood. He says that through His blood they would receive forgiveness of sins which He lavished upon them according to the riches of His grace. He goes on to say....
"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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:11-12
Now we are going to get to the part where we read about this "sealing" of the Holy Spirit. In the futurist camps, the "sealing" is still ongoing today. They are looking ahead and waiting for the Day of the Lord. However, a proper understanding of the end of the age and what would occur when the Lord returned (past tense) will quickly prove that this ongoing "sealing" view is just not correct. Look what Paul writes next....
"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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:13-14
Did you catch that? It is extremely important to understand.
Paul said that at the moment they believed in Christ, they were given a guarantee of their soon to come inheritance. They were given the promised Holy Spirit who came and "sealed" them.
Now remember, this was written after the cross. Keep that in mind and consider the very next words that Paul writes....
"who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:14
This was after the cross and they had not yet received their inheritance. What was their inheritance? Their inheritance was immortality. It was eternal life. It was the fullness of their salvation which would come when the Lord returned to gather them into Himself and to be King of His Kingdom. They had not yet received that.
According to Paul when writing to the Corinthians, it wouldn't be until the Lord returned, that they would be changed to immortal. It would be at that point that death would be swallowed up. (1 Corinthians 15)
The promise of the Holy Spirit was a deposit to guarantee that they would receive the inheritance. It was proof that they were His. It was proof that they were a child of God and they would inherit their place in His Kingdom when He came for salvation. It caused them to cry out "Abba Father".
Sin was dealt with at the cross but salvation would be inherited at His return. Which is why the author of Hebrews writes...
"so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation." Hebrews 9:28
In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians he writes...
"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
Again, it was a guarantee. They were waiting for their inheritance.
When the Lord would return to bring His Kingdom, the saints would put on immortality and officially be clothed in perfection. They would put away childish things and would now come to the full stature of maturity as they were brought into the Perfect Man, who is the very Kingdom Himself.
They were partially clothed at the cross but wouldn't be fully clothed until He came. That is why Paul wrote...
"For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life." 2 Corinthians 5:4
The New Jerusalem was seen coming down as a bride after the temple fell at the end of the age. This coming Kingdom would bring perfection and immortality to the saints. This was "that which is perfect" that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
I believe that the deposit of the Holy Spirit that was given to them was the partial and the "childish" version of what was coming. It was given to them while they waited for the arrival of the perfect. This is why Paul emphatically stated in 1 Corinthians 13 that "when that which is perfect comes" then all the miraculous gifts such as tongues, prophecy, etc would cease. He uses emphatic language that can only mean to cease.
Whatever form or fashion that the Holy Spirit was given in that transitional period, it was given as a deposit until the Lord returned and clothed them all in His perfection. They were changed in the twinkling of an eye at that moment. The same thing that happens to a child of God today when they are made new.
Jesus ascended and He sent the helper to comfort them until He returned. The form of the Holy Spirit which we see operating during the transitional period was a transitory vehicle to take the saints to the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Christ has since been revealed to the world and He continues to reveal Himself to the world day in and day out.
How is that "sealing" different than today you ask?
Today, when we enter the Kingdom, we instantly have possession of our inheritance. We are instantly made eternal. We instantly put on immortality when we are resurrected into Christ. Hades has been cast away and is no more. Death has been defeated in Christ. He who believes shall never die.
The first generation believers were still waiting until the Coming of the Lord which would happen before some of them died. (Matthew 16:27-28) It would be at that point that the Morning Star would dawn in their hearts and they would be clothed in perfection forever.
Today, we are instantly gathered into the Kingdom, which is Christ.
It's a great time to be alive.
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