He Has Sealed the Deal

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)

It’s likely you’ve heard the phrase, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes.” Inasmuch as history seems to suggest that Benjamin Franklin is not the originator of this saying, I submit these words in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Le Roy in 1789. Many consider this to be the last great quote that came from the highly quotable Franklin:

Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.

No matter who coined the phrase, the fatalistic “death and taxes” adage acknowledges the inevitability of death in this life, which is the only way to avoid the burden of paying taxes. For the Christian, however, there is much more that we can be certain about in this life, and we need look no further than today’s passage of Scripture to find certainty. Paul was telling the Christians at Ephesus that the Holy Spirit is God’s “seal of approval,” and that we, by grace through faith, are members of His family of faith.

Believing in Christ means we belong to Christ. The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to all believers, is like a down payment — a deposit if you will — guaranteeing the inheritance that God has given us. Nothing in either life or death can take that away from us.

I like to say it this way God has sealed the deal by way of His gift of the Holy Spirit. We have the firstfruits of a promised future beyond this life that no circumstance can disrupt or dislodge us from. And we must understand that God’s assurance contains no obscure, fine-print warning that He will suddenly spring on us when we come to the end of this life. We can rest assured that God will bring the good work He began in us to completion.

“The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me,” David wrote; “your love, O Lord, endures forever” (Psalm 138:8). No weapon formed against us, including our own sinful rebellion, can ever or will ever cause our God to “revoke the warranty” on His promises to us. Peter used language very much like Paul’s to underscore this truth:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Christian, your eternal future is shielded and kept by God’s power. As you think about your life, right now, right where this finds you, is it not a great encouragement to know that God has set you apart for all eternity? Jesus has sealed the amazing, gracious deal of our divine destiny by the shedding of His precious blood on your behalf. May our hearts be gripped by God’s amazing grace, and may the lives we live thus be always and only to the praise of His glory!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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