Day 16 – Ephesians 1 v 13

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise

 

This verse is key to New Testament theology.  It outlines the steps by which our TRUST results in us being the beneficiaries of the PROMISE.  The first step is that we must hear the WORD of TRUTH, which when clearly spoken and delivered becomes the Gospel of our salvation. Romans 10 v17 tells us faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Just as God spoke the worlds into existence in Genesis 1v1 by having FAITH in HIS OWN WORD, so those who would live by faith must be birthed by the spoken WORD of the Gospel. 

The Gospel message of salvation in and through Jesus Christ is available to all and therefore it is potentially the salvation of all, since Christ died for the sins of the whole world and not just for the elect saints.  But only those who hear and respond through belief and trust actually receive that salvation.  Through hearing and believing the Gospel we recognise that we are sinners and that Christ’s perfect sacrifice on the Cross is the only provision for our sin, that He alone is our SAVIOUR.  By yielding control of our lives to Christ through TRUST we surrender ourselves to Christ’s leading and direction in our lives and therefore make Him our LORD.  Unfortunately many only make the connection of Christ as Saviour yet tragically fail to receive Him as LORD.  It is my personal understanding from studying God’s Word that only those that take both steps; to make Jesus both SAVIOUR and LORD are actually sealed by the Holy Spirit as described in today’s verse.  This is why Jesus in the parable of the Sower (Mark 4v1-20) describes some who hear the Gospel as seeds that seem to grow fast, but factors like persecution and the pursuit of materialism cause these persons to fall away.  Certainly they seemed to believe in Christ, they said all the right words, but testing revealed their true hearts.  This aspect of apparent salvation is clearly addressed in 1 John 2v18-25 (see the references below).

Therefore hearing leads to FAITH which leads to TRUST which results in Christ’s LORDSHIP and this is the qualification for the SEALING of the HOLY SPIRIT.  Let us be clear about this: Eternal Life is impossible without the sealing of the Holy Spirit; 1 John 3v24 says, “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the SPIRIT Whom He has given us”; and 1 John 4v13 goes on to declare,By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His SPIRIT.”

It is the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives that imparts eternal life to us. He is the Holy Spirit of PROMISE because HE is the COMFORTER Jesus Christ promised would come after His Ascension (See John 14v15-17,26 below).  Paul was using the term of sealing from a 1st Century perspective in which to seal meant to place a mark of legal ownership and authority over a person’s life.  Therefore the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is the legal guarantee that we belong to GOD!

Those sealed by the Holy Spirit cannot be un-sealed, in other words God will never remove His mark of ownership from our lives.  This is because LORDSHIP has to do with FAITH not works.  If Lordship were about works then none of us would have the slightest hope of eternal security.  Receiving Jesus Christ as our LORD doesn’t mean that we will serve God with a perfect heart this side of heaven, or that we won’t ever slip up along our faith journey.  Now this doesn’t absolve us from apathy or wilful sin, remember our study on Day 5.  What making Jesus as LORD does mean is that we have made a concrete decision that no matter what we will NEVER deny HIM.  In 2 Timothy 2v11-13 Paul underlines this truth, This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.  If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

Therefore it is our good confession at the point of conversion; the point at which we believe in AND transfer our TRUST to Jesus Christ that results in the Holy Spirit taking up permanent residence in our lives.  To those who have made such a firm and resolute decision Jesus Christ has promised never to leave or forsake them!  This too is why it is so important to have a memorable conversion experience.  Now that will be different to everyone because Christ meets us where we are, at the time of our greatest need;  but to be able to remind ourselves of the time and even the event of our decision to follow Christ is the anchor for our souls. If that anchor is secure in the knowledge that we made a historic decision to follow Jesus Christ then no matter what comes against us, whether great disappointment at the hands of other believers, temptation in its various guises or persecution at whatever level, we will never be shaken from our position in Christ!

Some people have Damascus Road type conversions and that is great, it is wonderful to hear people share such experiences about how they came to faith in Christ.  But we won’t all have such lightning moments like that.  Some of us may have grown up in Christ, being raised in godly households where worshipping Christ was just normal and logical, or we may have, as it were, meandered onto the narrow path of the Gospel.  But what is important is whether we can answer the following question with absolute certainty, “If we were to die tonight would we go directly into the presence of Jesus Christ?”

If there is the slightest doubt in our minds then let us make today our memorable moment of decision for Jesus Christ.  Let us find somewhere quiet, kneel if possible and simply ask Jesus Christ to be our SAVIOUR, to forgive us our sins and to come and to be the LORD of our lives.  For those of us who recognise that that prayer is needful use the prayer below; for those who are confident in their final destination in Christ let us pray for others who read this devotional blog that it will become their memorable day!

OUR PRAYER TODAY

Heaven Father, I thank you that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to die for us, for me. I recognise that I have sinned and that I need Your forgiveness and I look to Christ’s finished work on the Cross. Forgive me and cleanse me.  Jesus Christ I ask that by the power of the Holy Spirit that You come into my life and take Your rightful place as LORD.  Lead me and direct me into all the good plans that You have prepared, not only for me but also for all those who trust in You as SAVIOUR and LORD.  Lead me to a good Church and may our lives glorify Your Name.

Amen.

 

If you have prayed that prayer sincerely please tell us as we would love to send you a book that I have written that will encourage your faith in Jesus Christ.

Contact @  theshepherdandthebranch@gmail.com

Pastor David

 

References

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.  3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
Genesis 1
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.  3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Hebrews 11
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.  10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.  16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever–  17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you……26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you
John 14
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,  19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5

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