Ephesians 1: 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
As children, one of the most exciting parts of playing sports is getting your first team jersey. I don’t remember much from when I was 5 years old, but I vividly remember receiving my first soccer jersey. It was yellow with the name “Mohawks” emblazoned across the top with a crest of a Mohawk Indian. I thought it was the coolest thing ever and wanted to wear it all the time. I really doubt that I’m the only one with vivid memories of a jersey and the accompanying logo. No matter the sport, there will be some memory from elementary school, middle school, high school, college or even beyond. You can probably recall the pride that you felt, or even feel today, when you slip that jersey over your head and don that emblem that says I’m a “Pirate” a “Cougar”, a “Lion”, a “Panther” or maybe a “Mighty Duck”. Whatever the emblem, you now associate yourself with it, and everyone around you knows it when you put on that jersey.
Today’s scripture, from Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, had a profound impact on me several years ago when I studied it. Like many other verses in the Bible, I had read it many times, but I hadn’t considered its many nuances and the associated meanings. To complete Paul’s thought, here is Ephesians 1: 13-14. “13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Following are key things God put on my heart when considering these two verses:
- A seal is a device for making an impression in wax, clay, paper or other mediums. The original purpose was to authenticate a document. Kings would use their signet rings to make deep impressions on documents to form an official seal carrying the full authority of the office. The King’s design was well known and difficult or impossible to remove. In the same way we are told that when we become believers, we’re marked by a special seal that holds the full authority of God, that being the Holy Spirit.
- Like a physical seal, the spiritual seal can be a very deep impression that is easily visible, or it can be a light impression that is barely visible. The question God asked me was: “what does that seal look like in your life”? If it is faint, it surely isn’t God’s fault because the Holy Spirit is willing to press in as deeply as I will allow. And if it is a deep impression then it will be evident with the Fruits of the Spirit. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
- Verse 14 says the Holy Spirit is a “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”. In Bible times, if you wanted an item, but couldn’t pay the full amount at the time, you could put down a deposit. You don’t yet own it, but the deposit guarantees you the rights to it later. Regarding our salvation, the amazing thing is that we didn’t have to come up with the deposit, nor do we have to come up with the final payment. It has all been done through Christ. (Galatians 3:13-15)
How about you? Are you wearing Christ’s jersey? How evident is the Holy Spirit crest across your chest?