|Topical Bible Study||June 1961|
The Holy Spirit Series—Lesson VI
The Seal of the Spirit
WHEN the Bible refers to the “seal” of the Spirit, the Greek word used means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation.”* In olden times a signet ring, or a stamp, was used to seal important documents. The custom is similar today. A letter is sealed to secure secrecy for its contents. Contracts are sealed, or attested, to guarantee their fulfillment.
* Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, word no. 4973.
This custom is used by the Lord in his Word to illustrate a very blessed ministry of the Holy Spirit in the lives of dedicated followers of the Master. (Eph. 4:30) The Apostle Paul refers to this “seal” of the Spirit as “an earnest (or, Diaglott, pledge) of our inheritance.” (Eph. 1:13,14) Here the Greek word translated “earnest” means “a pledge, that is, part of the purchase money or property given in advance as security for the rest.”*
* Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, word no. 728.
Paul’s reference to the “Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1:13,14) suggests one of the ways by which the Heavenly Father pledges, or attests, that we will receive a full reward. It is by the many promises which the Holy Spirit has caused to be recorded in his Word, promises which cover every situation in life which might hinder us from entering fully into our inheritance. The blessings of the Holy Spirit itself are in fulfillment of divine promises.
The seal, or attestation of the Holy Spirit through the Word of truth, that we are the Sons of God is the more realistic because of the diversified promises of God relating to our needs, in order to be victorious and receive the crown of life.
We are promised wisdom to guide us in doing our Heavenly Father’s will. (James 1:5,6) The foes of the new creation are many and powerful, and if we had to fight against these in our own wisdom and strength we would be defeated, and fail to attain the “great salvation.” (Heb. 2:3) But the Lord has promised to help and protect his people. (Ps. 91:1-15) How precious are these promises!
Being sealed by the Spirit does not imply perfection of character, or full control over the weaknesses of the flesh. But despite our imperfections we have the assurance that, through Christ, God justifies us. (Rom. 8:33-35) Because of this we know that no one can properly condemn us, and that nothing can separate us from the love of God if our hearts remain loyal to him. This is surely a blessed assurance of sonship.
We have the witness of the Spirit concerning our being called of God, and our begetting as his children. One of the promises by which a continuance of this blessed relationship is attested assures us that God is able to and will finish this work of grace in us. (Phil. 1:6) We know that our Heavenly Father will fulfill all his good promises toward us, for we are assured that it is his “good pleasure” that we shall have the kingdom.—Luke 12:32
We expect that trials will continue to the end of the way, but we know that because God is faithful he will not permit us to be tested beyond our ability, and, with his help, will enable us to endure.—I Cor. 10:13
Concerning God’s faithfulness there can be no doubt. (I Cor. 1:8,9) What more could the Lord say to “seal,” or secure, our inheritance? Let us rejoice in these promises of victory, and continue on faithfully to the end!
What is the meaning of the Greek word in the New Testament which is translated “seal”? What does this mean with respect to the “seal” of the Spirit?
What is meant by the expression, “earnest of our inheritance”?
What is suggested by the expression, “Holy Spirit of promise”?
Why is God’s promise of wisdom part of the Spirit’s seal?
Without the assurance of God’s help could we be victorious against our enemies?
Does being sealed by the Spirit imply perfection of character?
How do we know that God will finish the good work he has begun in us?
Can we expect to be free from trials?
“The Atonement Between God and Man,” pages 246-248.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
The seal of the Holy Spirit, through the many promises of God’s Word, is a sort of “down payment” on the heavenly inheritance which will be ours if we prove faithful to the end of the narrow way of sacrifice.