How to live a gospel centered life (series) – part 4

We are continuing our series on “How to live a gospel centered life.” I want to look at continual preservation. The bible says, “whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Along with our immediate transformation, the saved by grace are promised continual preservation in Christ our Lord.” (Ephesians 1:13). This too happens the instant we receive Christ by faith. This is accomplished through the sealing of the Spirit. Now, I will admit this is much deeper than I can possibly fathom, but I do want to share a few principles about this preservation.
Consider:
When we are saved by grace through faith, we are immediately sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. This has many implications, and one of which is our identification with the Lord. Throughout the Old Testament, and continuing in Paul’s day, a royal seal was used to mark a document as belonging to, and originating from the king. When this seal was recognized, the recipient immediately knew they had received an official document of the king, literally the property and possession of the king. At the moment of our salvation, the Spirit takes up residence within us. Through the seal of the Spirit, we are identified with our Lord and Savior. The Spirit bears witness that we are now the purchase possession of Christ the Lord. We are marked as property of the King; we now belong to Him. He purchased our redemption on the cross, paying our ransom, and we are eternally His.
While Paul did not specifically say as he wrote to the Ephesians, the seal bore great significance. Being familiar with the use of an official seal, they would have immediately known the abiding principles associated with the seal. Consider the thoughts of Warren Wiersbe on this passage: “What is the significance of this sealing of the Holy Spirit? For one thing, it speaks of a finished transaction. Even today, when important legal documents are processed, they are stamped with the official seal to signify the completion of the transaction.

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This sealing also implies ownership: God has put his seal on us because He has purchased us to be His own (1Cor.6:19–20). It also means security and protection. The Roman seal on the tomb of Jesus carried this meaning (Matt. 27:62–66). So, the believer belongs to God, and is safe and protected because he is a part of a finished transaction. According to John 14:16–17, the Holy Spirit abides with the believer forever. It is possible for us to grieve the Spirit and thereby lose the blessings of His ministry (Eph. 4:30), But He doesn’t leave us.

Another use for the seal is as a mark of authenticity. Just as a signature on a letter attests to the genuineness of the document, so the presence of the Spirit proves the believer is genuine. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). It is not simply our lip profession, our religious activity, or our good works, but the witness of the Spirit that makes our profession authentic.” Would you not agree that we received much as we were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise? An Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. As we conclude our study on the benefit of the Gospel, we find Paul offers a word of eternal significance.

Consider:
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Paul speaks of the earnest of our inheritance, referring to our eternal future with the Lord. This is an interesting term. The word earnest speaks of “earnest money; a down payment; a pledge, or guarantee.” This does not imply that Christ only secured partial payment as He died on the cross for our sin. We know that He fully and eternally satisfied the righteous demands of God, fully atoning for our sin. This speaks of the Spirit abiding with us until the Lord calls us home. The Spirit serves as the down payment, the guarantee of eternity with Christ.

He serves as the assurance that the Lord will fulfill His promise to gather us unto Himself. John 14:1-3 –Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, therefor ye may be also. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Paul knew the struggles associated with walking by faith and living for the Lord among the world. The Ephesians would face adversity while serving the Lord. They had received a down payment through the Spirit, with the promise of full redemption of the Lord’s purchase possession. They were not saved and abandoned in the journey.

The Lord fully intended to return for the church, taking the possession He purchased with His own blood to live throughout eternity with Him! The world would have us believe our faith is in vain, and that there is no hope for eternity. They may believe that, but I know in whom I have believed. I know that the Spirit abides within, guiding and guarding my life. I cannot fully comprehend all we shall receive, but I am resting in the promise of my Lord and Savior! 2 Tim.1:12 –For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Finally, we discover an often-overlooked benefit of our salvation through the Gospel –the praise of God’s glory. Many seek salvation basically for fire insurance; they want to avoid the eternal lake of fire. Others focus primarily on eternal life, and the splendors of heaven. While these are certainly worthy of our rejoicing, I wonder how many focus on the glory of God through our salvation. In Christ we are privileged to worship and glorify God. Our obedient faith in salvation results in God’s glory. I have nothing to offer God. He is self-existent. He doesn’t need us to fulfill His sovereign will. However, through salvation we can offer something He takes pleasure in –our worship and praise. Our salvation brings glory to God. Surely you will agree that is a glorious benefit of the Gospel

Conclusion: Whether you are saved by grace through faith or not, I hope you have discovered the benefit of the Gospel. The Lord provided the means for our salvation; He sent the Holy Spirit to seal us until the day of redemption; and we are promised eternal life in Him. Through salvation we have the opportunity to glorify God, our gracious Creator. Have you responded to the Gospel by faith? If not, I would urge you to do so as the Lord leads. He alone provided for our salvation; there is no other way. Following salvation, you will enjoy the guidance and provision of the Spirit. There is great benefit in the Gospel. Believer, I hope you have been reminded of what you have received as well. I pray that we will be mindful of the Gospel, and the tremendous impact in has on our daily lives. Come to the Lord for the needs in your life!

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