The Holy Spirit of Promise: God’s Down Payment
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,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In our struggling economy, there’s little doubt that the housing market has been hit the hardest. Families across the nation are being forced to sell their houses at half the purchase price. Often, the financial stability of the family depends on whether or not a house will sell. In such a situation nothing is more comforting than a buyer’s promise of earnest money. This initial down payment stands as a guarantee that the deal will go through. As an added benefit, the money is given and is immediately available for the family to use.
The Christian life is often more volatile than any economic crisis. Fightings without and fears within as Paul would say. But, there is nothing more comforting than the presence of the Holy Spirit of Promise, the earnest of our inheritance, God’s down payment.
In Ephesians 1:13, Paul reviews what happened at the conversion of his readers. They trusted after having heard the word of truth, a thought with which we are familiar (Romans 10:9, 10). He adds, at the very moment they believed they were sealed with Holy Spirit of promise.
Vine’s states that this sealing of the Holy Spirit signifies “ownership and security, together with destination.” So, we see that at the moment of salvation the Holy Spirit “seals the deal”, confirming and securing the Father’s purchase of our soul.
Paul goes on in verse 14 to explain how the Holy Spirit functions as “the the earnest of our inheritance.” The word used for earnest (αρῥαβων), a business term, was probably introduced to ancient Greeks by Phoenician traders (Vine’s). It carries the traditional idea of earnest money as being the money deposited by the purchaser to ensure the completion of the purchase. What’s more, this down payment was forfeited if the buyer was unable to complete the the purchase. Paying earnest, the purchaser staked the down payment on his ability to finish the transaction.
So, in God’s purchase of our soul, what was it that He laid on the line as the earnest of our inheritance? No less than the Holy Spirit! God has staked a third of the Trinity on His ability to completely redeem the purchased possession, that possession being us, bought with the blood of Christ! It’s no wonder that Paul concludes such a thought proclaiming “unto the praise of his glory!”
What comfort that our soul’s salvation is not stipulated on our ability to finish the transaction. We can live in peace, knowing that our salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit. It is no more possible to fall from God’s grace than it is possible for the Holy Spirit to be forfeited from the the Trinity!
(By the way, the word αρῥαβων is word used in modern Greek for an engagement ring. Chew on that for a while.)
Who says a theological idea can’t provoke a devotional thought?