Ephesians 1:3-14. 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 …were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee/deposit of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Because we are in Christ we share in every one of his spiritual blessings. How? Because we have the life of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the greatest of the spiritual blessings. God’s presence. God’s life. God’s love.
Here in Ephesians 1:13-14 Paul brings together two of the Spirit’s roles in our salvation. First, the Spirit is God’s seal. His mark of ownership. We are possessed by God for all of eternity and the Holy Spirit is the seal of that ownership.
Also, Paul says, the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of our future inheritance. The word guarantee means deposit or down payment. A promise made now toward a future fulfillment.
One of the best illustrations of this truth is an engagement. When two people get engaged they make a promise to each other today that they will get married in the future. In the ancient biblical days it was called a betrothal. The betrothed or engaged couple was legally bound to one another (think about Joseph and Mary from the Christmas story) just as we are legally bound to God. The betrothed couple enjoyed some of the blessings of being married without enjoying all of the blessings of being married (wink wink). In our culture we give an engagement ring to prove that we are committed to our future wedding. In Paul’s day promises were made, gifts exchanged, a bride price paid, and a house built. These all served as the guarantee that one day a wedding would happen.
Look at Jesus’ language in John 14 right before his crucifixion:
John 14:2-3. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
This is betrothal language. Jesus has asked us to marry him. When we say yes we are brought into his promise to return one day and take us to himself and consummate the marriage. And then we will live with him forever in the eternal joy and bliss of his presence.
So let’s think about this for a minute. What did God give us when he proposed to us? It wasn’t a ring or any other earthly thing. It was himself. The guarantee that we will be in God’s presence one day is that his presence is in us today.
John 14:15-17. 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth
When Jesus proposed to the Church and made a marriage promise to her, he left us with a guarantee, a deposit – the Holy Spirit of truth.
Or we could say that when God left earth he left God here with us to guarantee that God would send God to return for us and bring us to God.
There is literally no greater deposit that God could leave behind, no greater guarantee than himself.
And yet we still doubt.
Most likely because what we have now is a deposit. It’s not the full payment.
The good news.
We are getting a little taste of eternity right now. We have every spiritual blessing – NOW. We are truly forgiven, redeemed, and adopted. We are positionally holy and blameless. We have been shown the mystery of God’s will, the goal of all history, the uniting of all things in Christ. We have been made heirs of God. We await a glorious inheritance. We live for the glory of God’s grace. We are experiencing life in God’s presence. All of this right now. Today.
The bad news.
We are not experiencing the fullness of God’s presence. In our position we are holy and blameless but in our condition we still struggle with endless temptations and sin. Our suffering is great. The battle is raging outside of us and inside of us. The flesh is wreaking havoc within and the Enemy without. And so we doubt and question our salvation. But the Spirit as God’s guarantee is meant to bring us hope, faith, and love if we would let him.
The more good news.
Because we only have the deposit and not the full presence of God, the good news is that there is an even greater reality yet to come. This is not all there is. Praise God! Yes, we have every spiritual blessing, but we don’t have every physical blessing. The world around us is in chaos. But not forever. There is hope. There is resurrection. There is physical blessing awaiting us. We can only imagine what it will be like when our bridegroom returns for us and every spiritual blessing collides with the physical blessings that await us on the New Earth as the New Creation.
“To live is Christ” places us in this place of “already but not yet.” Already we are indwelt by the presence of God and given an inheritance. But not yet do we fully possess it. This leaves us living lives of hope with humility. No regrets. No bucket lists. No FOMO. Eternity awaits. And all the spiritual and physical blessings of our glorious groom will wash over us. Until then we are betrothed brides patiently awaiting the return of Christ while the Spirit of Christ fills our hearts with his love for us. Just as he will forever.