As we continue studying Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church, we see more and more of what the Lord has done for us. So far we’ve talked about God’s plan…
…to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:10b NIV
That’s what I meant when I introduced Ephesians. With this letter, the Holy Spirit is beginning to reveal to the church how we are to work together as the body of Christ on earth. We are one organism.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV
In this verse, Paul is talking about his own calling and that of the other apostles. They were the first to hope in Christ. This sentence is full of truth concerning the ministry. Let me give you my take on what this says after reading it in the original Greek.
Paul says that, in Christ, they were given an allotment. There’s a portion of the work that was set aside for them to do.
That word, predestined, literally means to mark out beforehand. This means that before Paul was even born, God had marked out the path that He wanted the apostle to follow. Of course, if you know Paul’s story, you know what the Lord had to do to get him on that path.
But the simple fact is that God has a plan. He will accomplish it, with or without my participation. And even beyond that, God will get the glory for what He works out.
So now Paul turns his attention to the Ephesian church.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession — to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV
He makes it clear that this is not some exclusive club for the spiritually elite. All those who believe on Christ for their salvation are a part of this body. Here we see a detailed description of what happens when we receive Christ.
First, we have to hear the Word of truth – the Good News of salvation. Then, once we hear it, we respond to the faith that arises in our heart. At that point we’ve obtained this great salvation.
But, there’s more to it than that. Something else takes place on a spiritual level. This verse says that we were marked in Him with a seal. That’s actually all one word in the Greek language.
This is because we don’t do much with seals anymore. Back in those days, important people and government officials had special rings called signet rings.
When there was an important paper to release, a signature wasn’t enough. Anybody could pretend to sign something. So, what they would do to make it official, is to let molten wax drip near their signature. Then they would press their unique ring into the wax, leaving a mark that authenticated the letter as theirs.
That’s what the Holy Spirit is to us. He’s the One who makes the salvation official in us. The Holy Spirit in me is a sign to all of heaven and hell that I belong to the kingdom of God. I’m God’s property.
The rest of the passage says that the Holy Spirit is the down payment of the inheritance. Then, in the future, the full result of the purchase will be made manifest. That will happen when Christ returns to claim the full rights to His kingdom.
I can’t think of any place else I’d rather be than in God’s kingdom. I look forward in hope, to the day the Lord returns to claim His own. My desire is that you have that same motivation, driving you to serve Him with your very best.
Question: How important do you see your relationship with the Holy Spirit?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi