OUR ENGAGEMENT RING
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, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1: 13-15).
What a doxology! What a triumphant declaration!
You also were included . . . Who were included? The ex-pagans who had indulged in every kind of lewd and disgusting behaviour in honour of their filthy idols, but who were now called “holy and faithful”. How could God call a bunch like that “holy”? Set apart from sin to God?
Paul had every reason to call them holy, just as he could call himself holy. He had been just as guilty of being alienated from God through sin as they were. His sin was much subtler than theirs. He had practised a self-made “holiness” which included hounding to death the followers of Jesus because he believed that he was right and they were wrong.
What is the difference between worshipping an idol by indulging in sexual orgies and worshipping God by killing those who don’t believe what you believe, and then keeping all the rules except “you shall not kill”? As far as Paul was concerned, on the authority of God’s Word, sin was sin, no matter how it showed itself, but the blood of Jesus had the power to wash all sin away – all who trusted Jesus were forgiven, power-washed and holy.
When God stepped in to deal with sin, He not only forgave every transgression of His law through the death of His Son, He also wiped the record so clean that their past had ceased to exist. They were brand new people. They had started all over again, this time as part of the body of Jesus Christ, sons and daughters of God and members of His family.
Their new status gave them access to another privilege never before given to Gentiles – the “engagement ring” – in Greek, the arabon – the Holy Spirit. Amazing that Paul called His presence in the believer a “mark”! Where have we seen that word before in the Bible? The beast, in Revelation, also gives his worshippers a mark. What can his mark be?
God’s Spirit in the believer is His guarantee that we belong to Him, that He will preserve us through every trial and that He will take possession of us as His bride when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom on earth. Think about that! And all we have to do is to bow to Jesus as Lord.
We are no longer slaves but sons. Slaves have no name, no home and no inheritance. They can be sold at any time without a qualm and without protest. They belong body and soul to their owner and he can treat them as he pleases. We were once slaves to the devil – slaves through rebellion against God, and through fear. But Jesus bought us back by shedding His blood for us.
Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared their humanity so that, by His death, He might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (Heb. 2:14-15).
We are no longer slaves but sons, and God has given us The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of sonship. He gave us the name by which we can are known. We are children of the Father. We have the right to call God “Father”.
For you did not receive a Spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8: 15-16).
Since we are God’s children, we also have a home and an inheritance. Our dwelling place is in Jesus, and we shall be forever with Him when He comes to claim His bride.
We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Cor. 5: 8).
What is our inheritance?
The writer to the Hebrews tells us that, through faith and patience, we inherit God’s promises (Heb. 6: 12). Read what Peter said:
. . . He has given us His very great and precious promises so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires (2 Pet. 1: 4).
God has given us an inheritance, His divine nature, which we make our own through His promises.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through Him, the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Cor. 1: 20).
Do you get it, my friends? We have the priceless gift of the Holy Spirit within us, guaranteeing that we belong to God, giving us the right and power to call God “Father” and working in us the reproduce the nature of God as we rely on His promises.
And it’s all about Him!
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.