Day 146: May 26, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Ephesians 1:13-14
13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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The Holy Spirit Seals the Believer, Guaranteeing our Inheritance
by Cliff Duren, Music & Worship Associate Minister, Brentwood Campus

While in my young 20s, I had an experience where I thought I was getting the best deal ever. I purchased a new car, and along with that purchase came a deal called “free tires for life.” I was ecstatic!

The thought of never having to pay for tires again had me overwhelmed with gratitude to the car dealership, so much so that I didn’t even attempt to get a better price than the one on the sticker. (Yes, I know, falling right into their trap. Remember, I was YOUNG.)

I left the car lot that day with a great car, a greater car payment, and great anticipation of the day when I would return for my free tires. Everything was great!

I’ve never been one to read the fine print. As you can imagine, a deal like this had page after page of strict conditions. All service on the car had to be done by the dealership—ALL of it. Oil changes, windshield wipers, key chains—you name it.

If I went anywhere else for service on my car, then the deal was off. Also, I could only get free tires after a certain amount of time, even if I had exceeded the mileage of my current tires. The list went on and on and on.

Needless to say, I got one free set of tires out of the deal. ONE. And I had to get down on my 20-something-year-old knees and BEG for those. Shortly after, the dealership shut down. Something about them offering too many free tire deals.

You’ve probably had a similar experience on some level. Maybe it was on a cell phone, refrigerator, or luggage. No matter the size or cost, there are always conditions and always an opportunity to have your guarantee revoked, which isn’t much of a guarantee at all, is it?

Ephesians 1:13-14 is one of the most comforting passages to me in all of Scripture. The word “sealed” in verse 14 has eternal value to the Christian. Paul is referring to the type of seal that would be placed on a letter, signifying who it was from and giving that person authority over the contents of the letter. In that seal, the recipient can find security and authenticity.

Here’s one way to think about it: on the day I was saved and became a Christian, Jesus Christ wrote a letter to me that said, “Cliff, you belong to Me and will spend eternity with Me in Heaven.” Then He placed a seal on that letter and mailed it to the mailbox of my soul.

That seal will never fade or lose value, and that letter will always be true, based on the authority of Christ Himself. Now THAT is a guarantee.

These verses also paint a simple picture of salvation. While it is simple, there are steps that must take place for one to be saved:

  1. We must hear the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation).
  2. We must believe in Christ—that He is who He says He is. He’s the Son of God Almighty, who came to this earth, died a sinless death on a cross as payment for our sins, and rose again on the third day. He conquered death, hell, and the grave so we could spend eternity with Him. When we choose to believe in Him, this leads to confession of our sins (that only Christ can forgive) and repentance (our commitment to turn from our sins and head in a new direction with Christ as our leader).

I made a shallow decision as a young child. As a result, I spent my childhood doubting my salvation and security.

At age 17, I heard the gospel, repented of my sins, and believed in Jesus Christ as my Savior. That is my story, but it doesn’t mean that young children can’t be saved. My two oldest children were saved at a young age with a full understanding of who Christ is and the decision they were making to follow Him.

I share my story because I’ve known so many people who spend years struggling with the issue of doubt. For some, it may be that they never truly repented and believed in Christ. If that’s you, then all of that can change for you TODAY. For others, it might be the result of a lack of discipleship and time with God. Distance between you and the One who saved you is very uncomfortable and leads to confusion.

Here’s the bottom line: to know you’re saved is to know you’re sealed…and to know you’re sealed is to know you’ll spend eternity with Jesus Christ…guaranteed. A unbreakable promise brought to you by the Holy Spirit Himself.

Praxis

  1. Know. If there is doubt anywhere in your heart, don’t let another minute go by without knowing where you stand with the Lord. Nothing is more important.
  2. Rest. For the Christian, verse 13 brings such peace and rest. Take time today (and every day!) to bask in the joy of your salvation.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.