The Spirit Sealing
Closely connected with the Spirit’s work of witnessing with the Christian’s spirit that he is a child of God, is His operation in sealing. This appears clearly from 2 Corinthians 1:19-22 and Ephesians 1:13.
The riches of the Christian are found in the promises of God, and these are all "Yea and Amen" in Christ: unless, then, our faith he built upon them, it is worthless. It is not sufficient that the promises he sure, we must he "established" upon them. No matter how firm the foundation (be it solid rock), unless the house he connected therewith, actually built thereon, it is insecure. There must he a double "Amen": one in the promises, and one in us. There must be an echo in the Christian’s own heart: God says these things, so they must be true; faith appropriates them and says they are for me. In order to have assurance and peace it is indispensable that we be established in and on the Divine promises.
The Christian’s riches lie in the promises of God: his strength and comfort in his faith being built upon them. Now the same Divine power which delivered the Christian from the kingdom of Satan and brought him into a state of grace, must also deliver him from the attacks of the enemy upon his faith and confirm him in a state of grace. Only God can produce stability: only He can preserve that spark of faith amid the winds and waves of unbelief, and this He is pleased to do—"He which bath begun a good work in you will finish it" (Phil. 1:6). Therefore are we told "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ. . . is God." Observe carefully it isnot "hath stablished," but "stablisheth" — it is a continuous process throughout the Christian’s life on earth.
In what follows the apostle shows us what this "stablishing" consists of, or how it is accomplished: "and bath anointed us ... who bath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our heart" (2 Cor. 1:22). Each of these figures refers to the same thing, and has to do with the "stablishing" or assuring of our hearts. Under the Old Testament economy prophets, priests, and kings were authorized and confirmed in their office by "anointing" (Lev. 8:11; 2 Sam. 5:3; 1 Kings 19:16). Again; contracts and deeds of settlement were ratified by "sealing" (Esther 8:8; Jer. 32:8-10). And a "pledge" or "earnest" secured an agreement or bargain (Gen. 38:17, 18; Deut. 24:10). Thus the sure estate of the Christian is first expressed under the general word "stablisheth," and then it is amplified under these three figurative terms "anointed, sealed, earnest." It is with the second of them we are now concerned.
It may be asked, But what need has the Christian of attestation or confirmation of his state in Christ—is not faith itself sufficient proof? Ah, often our faith and the knowledge we have of our believing in Christ is severely shaken; the activities of indwelling sin stir up a thick cloud of doubt, and Satan avails himself of this to tell us our profession is an empty one. But in His tender grace, God has given us the Holy Spirit, and from time to time He "seals" or confirmsour faith by His quickening and comforting operations. He draws out our hearts anew unto God and enables us to cry "Abba, Father." He takes of the things of Christ, shows them to us, and brings us to realize that we have a personal interest in the Same.
The same blessed truth is found again in Ephesians 1:13. It is important to note the order of the three things there predicated of saints: they "heard," they "believed," they were "sealed": thus the sealing is quite distinct from and follows the believing, as the believing does the hearing. There are two things, and two only, upon which the Spirit puts His seal, namely, two mighty and efficacious works: first, the finished work of Christ, whereby He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself; and second, upon His own work in the hearts of those who believe. In legal documents the writing always precedes the witnessing and sealing: so here, the Spirit writes God’s laws on the heart (Heb. 8:10), and then He seals the truth and reality of His own work to the consciousness of the recipient.
The main intent of "sealing" is to assure, to certify and ratify. First, the Holy Spirit conveys an assurance of the truth of God’s promises, whereby a man’s understanding is spiritually convinced that the promises are from God. Neither the light of reason nor the persuasive power of a fellow-mortal can bring any one to rest his heart upon the Divine promises: in order to do that, there must be the direct working of the Holy Spirit—"Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance" (1 Thess. 1:5): the "much assurance comes last! Second, He gives the believer an assurance of his own personal interest in those promises: and this again is something which none but the Spirit can impart. We do not say that this sealing excludes all doubting, but it is such an assurance as prevails over doubts. (Please click here to continue reading, "The Spirit Sealing")