Eph 1:13-14 (1:13) In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (1:14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
One of the greatest joys of salvation, as far as I am concerned is the hope of eternity that the Lord gives to everyone who is saved by Him. Personally, I find that more motivating for me to complete my race than all the blessings which we can enjoy here on earth. That fullness of salvation, where I am saved from my sins and my tendency to sin, where righteousness and peace reigns forever - where I shall be with the Lord Jesus forever - that gives me the desire to press on towards the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
These verses above struck me as I was meditating the word today. In these verses, I see a divine progression for a believer towards eternity. Let's take a look at that.
1. Heard the Word of Truth
When we were without Christ, the Lord came seeking us and through His divine channels (I.e. the word of God, through human beings, through media, etc) He proclaimed the Word of Truth to us. It is this word of Truth that sets us free (John 8:32 Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free). This is the reason why children of God (and especially those who would dare to call themselves servants of God) are exhorted to Show themselves approved to God, unashamedly dividing the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15). It is this truth that shines into our dark places and sets the captives free. In Eph 1:13, the Lord calls this the Gospel of our salvation. Blessed are the feet on the mountains of those who bring this good news and the message of hope to the masses.
But - It is not just sufficient for the word of Truth to be proclaimed, it is necessary for it to be heard! The word of God reminds us - let him that has ears, hear what the spirit says! Every one has ears. But few have the real "ears" to hear what the spirit proclaims through the word of truth. But blessed are those who really hear & respond positively to the Word of truth - for salvation is offered to such! As it is written in James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word (Implanted/Rooted in you), which is able to save your souls.
2. In Whom Ye Trusted
Gospel declared and heard is not completely effective. It is the gospel that is "believed in" that has the power of God unto salvation. The final choice of this belief rests on the person. God can't make you believe. It is a free will choice that you're going to make. Always. And always remember, when you hearken and believe the gospel, you are not trusting mere words, but you are trusting the Word of Truth, and you are trusting a person - Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. A simple thought for us to store away - The Good news is a Person - Jesus Christ. It's all about Him, His love, His sacrifice, His church and His plan for it, His second coming and an eternity that is spent with Him. He is the author and finisher of our salvation, and He is indeed the reward that we are running for. Look to Jesus & trust Him implicitly - irrespective of the spiritual season of your life.
3. After you believed
Continuing from Point 2., The blessing of salvation is opened to us after we believe. I am not talking about an empty acknowledging of a fact - but a trust, a reliance, and a faith in the Lord and His salvation plan. I am talking about a Heb 11:1 kind of faith - one that appropriates and sets on a higher level the eternal, unseen realities of the Kingdom of God more than the reality of the present evil age that we live in. James 2:19 reminds us that even the devils also believe and they tremble. But that belief doesn't lead them to salvation. But the Lord in His mercy has opened to us the way of salvation, in that He enabled us to repent and to believe and become born again.
4. Sealed with the Holy Spirit
The blessedness of salvation is made manifest to the believer the moment he becomes born again. The Lord accepts him into the household of God (Eph 2:19) and gives him the ability to become a son of God and a partaker of His divine nature. He sends the Holy Spirit (which is Himself!) to dwell with us and we become the temple of the Living God! We carry in our body, the manifest presence of God himself. The spirit of God renews our spirit and begins the life-long work of renewal in us - which implies a renewal of the spirit - Justification, a renewal of the mind (Rom 12:1-2) - sanctification & Finally a renewed glorified body - glorification (Rom 8:21).
The word (Eph 1:13) says : This is a seal! Something which is an assurance which cannot be broken. This seal cries inside us convincing us that we are indeed the Sons of God! This assurance of God's love causes us to experience the freedom whereby we can call the creator of heavens and earth as our Father and witnesses the truth that we are indeed his children! Not just that, the spirit of God is sent to us as an earnest (or downpayment) of the eternal inheritance that He has stored for us.
Let me illustrate. Let's say, we are planning to purchase a house which costs $100,000. We do not make the full payment upfront. We just may give a small initial downpayment (Maybe $15,000) and then continue to make the payments as we progress in construction. Dearly beloved, the spirit of God that He has given in our hearts is just a small foretaste of divine glory. He is but one aspect of heaven that we are enjoying here on this earth. How much more glorious is our life in heaven and how much more we should be motivated and driven by eternity !
May the Lord bless you as you meditate on this reality. God Bless!