Our last verse about grieving the Holy Spirit ended with this thought, “By whom [the Holy Spirit] you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Eph 4:30). Similarly, Paul wrote in chapter one, “Having also believed, you were sealed in Him [Jesus Christ] with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance” (Eph 1:13-14). What does it mean to be “sealed” by the Spirit of God?
In Bible times, a seal was a common device that bore a design, a name, or some other words. It was made to impart an impression in relief upon a soft substance like clay or wax. When the clay or wax hardened, it permanently displayed the impression of the seal. The most common seals were finger rings, and every person of standing had a personal seal.
A seal could indicate several things. It denoted ownership. It confirmed authenticity. Your seal showed that you indeed were the one who completed the transaction. A seal was a means of protection for books and documents (and even tombs) to not be tampered with. It also demonstrated deputed authority. When someone gave you their signet ring, their seal, you now carried their authority.
All of these uses for a seal give us a beautiful picture of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When you embraced the gospel message of Jesus Christ, you were given the Holy Spirit as a seal. You now belong to God’s family, and the indwelling Holy Spirit is evidence of that.
We are “owned” by the Father; we belong to God. This salvation is authentic; His seal of the Spirit indicating that the transaction has indeed been completed. And like a seal of protection, the Spirit is your means of protection; empowering you to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.
An interesting difference between the seal of the Holy Spirit and a physical seal is just that. The Holy Spirit is not a physical seal that you can see. It is an invisible person who lives in you. Just like the wind, you can feel and experience His effects, but you can’t really put a physical finger on it. “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is every one who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8).
I think it is significant that this seal is invisible to our physical senses. In many believers, the Spirit’s presence is obvious in their practice of its fruit. In others, for various reasons, the Spirit is suppressed, or quenched, or grieved. But the Spirit is still present. Our role is not to evaluate who is in or out based on our observations as much as continue to plant seeds of faith. So that those far from God may come close and accept His invitation of salvation. And so those of small faith can grow in trust and expression of God’s Spirit.
The amount of faith – an important part of living the Christian life – is not critical to our initial salvation. Who our faith is in is the critical decision. It is our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins that joins us to God’s family.
And that membership in His family is a permanent arrangement; waiting to be revealed at “the day of redemption”. Either the redemption of all of us at the second coming of Christ, or your personal day of redemption when your soul leaves your physical body and flies to be with Jesus forever.