Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
The Spirit’s blessings are connected with the Father’s sovereign choice and the Son’s redeeming work. He is the “promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13), which we read of in Ezekiel 36:26–27: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you . . . I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees”.
To have God’s Spirit in us, we need to be born again (John 3:5–6), or regenerated. Jesus promised that He and the Father would send the Spirit (John 14:26, 15:26). While the Spirit does many things in us, Paul highlights two blessings:
He is the seal (Ephesians 1:13). The sealing by the Spirit occurs when someone hears and then believes the gospel. Its purpose is to:
The Spirit brings unshakeable assurance (Romans 8:16) and is intimately connected with our salvation and growth in holiness. He is the deposit (Ephesians 1:14). The Greek word for deposit can mean “down payment” or “engagement ring”—both of which effectively convey the point. In the words of theologians B. Wintle and K. Gnanakan, the Spirit is not a “monopoly” of a gifted few but “the guarantee given to all believers”.
Salvation is a process. Yes, we have been saved, but we also await salvation. We were redeemed (Ephesians 1:7), are being redeemed (Romans 8:1–14), and will be redeemed (Ephesians 1:14). We are now being saved, and as we await our final salvation, we are reassured by the Spirit’s presence in our lives. He is the guarantee that the good work God has begun in us will be brought to completion on the day of the Lord (Philippians 1:6). On that day, God will inherit His people as His special possession (Ephesians 1:14).
In Paul’s lofty praise of the triune God working together for our salvation, he reiterates that all the redemptive activity of the three persons of the Trinity is directed towards God’s glory—not our glory, but His. Thus, Paul’s entire sentence of praise is centred on God and His honour. We reflect God’s pleasure (Ephesians 1:6), God’s purpose (v. 9), and God’s possession (v. 14); by God’s grace, these are all connected with our redemption and future in divine glory.
Reflect on what the sealing of the Holy Spirit means. What do God’s ownership, presence, and guarantee mean as you face challenges and opportunities daily?
Why do Christians suffer from doubt? How does the Spirit’s presence help you trust that God will fulfil all His promises and ultimately save you? How can you cooperate with Him?