|DEVOTION FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2018|
|GOD’S PURPOSE: TO SEAL US WITH HIS SPIRIT|
Label-makers appeal to people who like to keep track of their personal belongings. Printing out “property of” stickers and putting them on things proves ownership. Items that are borrowed or lost might be returned—or at least no one else can claim them as their own.
This is in a small way an analogy for what it means to be marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit (v. 13). From the opening verses of the letter and again in today’s passage we see this marvelous news: we were chosen by the Father for Salvation in and through Christ (see Rom. 8:29–30). The Jews may have been “the first to put our hope in Christ,” but it had become clear that God’s plan extended to the Gentiles as well, in Ephesus and elsewhere (v. 12; see Jan. 9–10). The ultimate purpose of it all remains “the Praise of his glory” (v. 11).
Today’s verses address the role played in salvation by the third member of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit (vv. 13–14). He is a seal, marking us as God’s property, or more accurately, as His family members and heirs. Seals in New Testament times also indicated authenticity or genuineness. Sealed objects were under the protection of their owners. Christ will return and claim His own!
The Spirit is a “deposit guaranteeing our inheritance,” a down payment on the future realization of salvation’s fullness. As we wait on the Lord to complete His work in history and in our lives, the Spirit functions as a divine foretaste of the feast to come. From God’s perspective, salvation is already accomplished, but from our perspective, it is yet future. The Holy Spirit’s part in God’s plan and work in our lives thus encourages us that our hope is solid and sure.
|APPLY THE WORD|
Ephesians 1:3–14 is doctrine framed as a statement of praise. All that God has done for us is “to the praise of his glory.” In response, praise the Lord today for His eternal plan of salvation and for your personal redemption and freedom in Christ. You could sing or listen to praise music, create art or poetry, or offer another act of worship to the Lord.