Spirit’s Seal

Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
~ 1 Peter 2:10

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
~ Ephesians 4:21

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.
~ Psalm 119:43

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
~ Acts 13:26

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
~ Ephesians 4:30

The Sealing of the Spirit, by Andrew Murray. The following contains Chapter Five of his work, “Aids to Devotion, The Holy Spirit in Ephesians”.

Chapter V.

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 — Ephesians i. 13.

The wonderful sentence that began with the spiritual blessing with which God has blessed us in Christ, and through ten verses showed us what we have in Him, closes with that in which all is contained, the blessed sealing of the Holy Spirit, When a king appoints an ambassador or a governor, his commission is sealed with the king’s seal, bearing the king’s likeness. The Holy Spirit is the seal of our redemption, not in the sense of giving us the assurance of our sonship as something apart from Himself: He Himself by His Word is the seal of our sonship. His word is to reveal and glorify Christ in us, the image of the Father, and by fixing our heart and our faith on Him, to transform us into His likeness. What a wonderful thought. None less than the Spirit of the Father and the Son, the bond of union between them, comes to as as the bond of our union with them, giving us the witness of the Divine life within Tis, and enabling us to live out that life here in the body. In the Christian life everything depends on knowing the Holy Spirit and His blessed work aright.

First of all, we need to know that He comes to take the mastery of our whole being,—spirit, soul, and body,—and through it all to reveal the life and the power of God as it works in our renewed nature. Just as Christ could not be glorified and receive the Spirit from the Father for us until He had died upon the cross, and parted with that life in which He had borne our sin and the weakness of our nature, so the coming of the Holy Spirit into our hearts in power implies that we yield ourselves to the fellowship of the cross, and consent to die entirely to that life of nature in which self and sin have their power, that through the Spirit, the new, the heavenly, life may take complete possession of us.

This entire mastery implies on our side complete surrender and obedience, Peter speaks of the ‘Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him.’ Even as Christ came to do God’s will alone, and humbled Himself to the perfect obedience of the Cross, that He might receive the Spirit from the Father and we through Him, so the full experience of the Spirit’s power rests entirely on our readiness in everything to deny self, in everything to yield ourselves to His teaching and leading. The great reason that believers are so feeble, and so ignorant of the blessings of the Spirit, is this, that at conversion and in their Christian life the question was never faced and settled that by the grace of God they would in everything, in every place, and at every moment, yield themselves to the control of the Spirit. Oh, that God’s children might accept of God’s terms, the undivided mastery of the Spirit, the unhesitating surrender of the whole being to His control.

In this connection we need specially to understand that the degree or measure in which the working of the Spirit is experienced may vary greatly. A believer may rejoice in one of the gifts of the Spirit, say peace or joy, zeal or boldness, and yet may be extremely deficient in the other graces which His presence bestows. Our true position towards the blessed Spirit must be that of perfect teachableness, waiting to be led by Him in all the will of God, with the consciousness of how much there still is with the heart that needs to be renewed and sanctified, if He is to have the place and the honour that belong to Him.

There are specially two great enemies under which, man was brought by his fall. These are the world and self. Of the world Christ says, ‘The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it knoweth Him not.’ Worldliness is the great hindrance that keeps believers from living the Spiritual life. Of self Christ said, ‘Let a man deny himself,’ ‘Let a man hate his own life,’ Self, in all its forms— self-will, self-pleasing, self-confidence—renders a life in the power of the Spirit impossible. And from these two great enemies, the power of the world and the power of self, nothing can deliver us but the Cross of Christ. Paul boasts in the Cross by which he has been crucified to the world. And he tells us, ‘ They that are Christ’s Lave crucified the flesh,’ in which self has its seat and power. To live the spiritual life nothing less is needed than the entire giving np of the old life to the death, to make room for the blessed Spirit to renew and transform our whole being into the will of God,

Without the Spirit we can do nothing acceptable to God in things great or little, ‘ No man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost,’ jJo man can truly say ‘ Abba, Father,’ but by the Spirit of God’s Son sent into our hearts. In our fellowship with God, and as much in our fellowship with men, in our religious worship and our daily devotion, in the highest pursuit that life can offer and as much in the daily care of our bodies, everything must bear the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Of the Son we read, ‘Him hath God the Father sealed.’ It is ‘in Christ’ that we are sealed. As He, when the Spirit had descended upon Him at His baptism, was led by the Spirit to the wilderness, thence by the Spirit to the synagogue in Nazareth, and thence through His whole life to the Cross, ‘where by the Eternal Spirit He offered Himself a sacrifice unto God, so we too are to live our daily life as those who are sealed by the Spirit As true as it is of Christ, ‘Him hath God the Father sealed,’ is it true of every believer,—the Son, and every son, sealed by the Father. The great mark of the New Testament standard of the Christian life and its devotion is to be, that it is all to bear the stamp of the Holy Spirit.

Let us learn the precious lesson that the Holy Spirit cannot inspire our devotions, except as He inspires our daily life. The Spirit of Christ claims and needs the soul of the whole man, if He is to perform His blessed work in us. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit means nothing less than that in our religious life—and that means our whole life, nothing excluded—nothing is to be thought of, or trusted to, or sought after, but the immediate and continual dependence on His blessed working. The devotion of our public hfe will be the test of the uprightness of our secret devotion, and at the same time the means of strengthening our confidence in God Who works in us through His blessed Spirit. Every thought of faith in the power of the Spirit must find its expression in prayer to God, Who will most surely give us His Spirit when we ask Him and work in us through the Spirit what we need.

A seal, attached to a document, gives validity to every sentence and every word it contains. Even so the Holy Spirit of promise, with which we are sealed, ratifies every promise that there is in Christ. And this is now one of the great differences between the Bible and the human standard of the Christian life, that while in the former the seal of the Spirit is accepted in His control of every movement and every moment of our life, in the latter we are content with but a very partial surrender to His guidance.