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.
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.
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