Ephesians 1:3-13. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… 13 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,
Today we return from a short break to our Blessed series from Ephesians 1. In Christ we have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. These are not future blessings when we get to Heaven. Also, these are not earthly blessings like health and wealth. These are the blessings of the new creation that we are able to experience right now, this moment. Why? Because they are Christ’s blessings and we are united to him.
But how do we know? What is the proof of these blessings?
The Holy Spirit. God himself. The Spirit of Christ who indwells us and transforms us into the image of Christ. There is no greater spiritual blessing than the Spirit of God himself. And so Paul makes it clear that when we believed in Christ we were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.
If you’re like me, you have had numerous doubts and conversations with other Christians about the security of your own salvation.
Am I really saved?
What about now?
What about now?
And so we pray the magic prayer over and over again, re-inviting Jesus into our hearts over and over again.
The problem is that our salvation security is rooted entirely in ourselves. Our performance. Our behavior. Our feelings. It is not found in Christ alone. We are quite convinced that if we faced judgment today we would never pass the examination. But we have failed to realize once again that our judgment is no longer based on us. It’s based on Jesus. His work. It’s based on the Father. His faithfulness. It’s based on the Spirit. His seal.
In Paul’s day the seal of the emperor might be placed on a document or an item signifying that it truly came from the king himself (Jesus’ tomb was sealed shut by the Romans – same word). Or when a slave was purchased he or she might be branded in some way (sealed) to show ownership. It’s hard to know exactly which metaphor Paul has in mind (he did earlier call us redeemed from slavery). Either way the seal signifies an extremely important truth for us.
We belong to God.
Say it with me – “I belong to God.”
“I will never be alone.”
“My future is secure.”
God has written his name on you. You’re his. No one can steal you. No one can snatch you away. No one can hide you from God. In fact, God has hidden you in Christ. Think about a king writing a letter and putting it into an envelope and then sealing the envelope shut. OK, you’re the letter. Christ is the envelope (in him). And the Spirit is the wax seal. No one dares to open that envelope and remove that letter without permission. If they do the full wrath of the empire will come crashing down on that person. No force of Hell, no Satan, not even YOU can remove yourself from the envelope of God.
For you archaeology geeks. Kingly seals found in Jerusalem.
For you Toy Story geeks. Doubts make us forget who possesses us. But look at the seal.
Yes, you sin. Yes, you have doubts. Yes, your faith is weak. Yes, your life is hard.
But do you see what you’re doing? Who you’re focused on? It’s YOU. When it should be HIM. Christ is the envelope. The Spirit is the unbreakable seal. God sent the letter. The full power of the Trinity is on your side in this. God’s salvation of you is unstoppable.
Oh, and you being sinful and messing up all the time?
For many Christianity is a life of doubts while striving to maintain a status that was earned by righteous deeds and repeated recitations. But this is not “to live is Christ.” Union with Christ is a seal. A possession. An unbreakable presence. God himself is the seal of our salvation. Not a creed and not a deed. He seals us with his very own life. His presence. A presence given to us as a gracious gift, earned by the banishment of Christ on the cross. Because he was forsaken and shunned we will never be. Ours is an eternal salvation that nothing can destroy. Not even death. We are and forever will be God’s own possession. And there is no better place to be than in the possession of our glorious God. What grace!
“When I look at myself I don’t see how I can be saved. But when I look at Christ I don’t see how I can be lost.” – Martin Luther