2 Corinthians 1:22
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
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(22) Who hath also sealed us.—Better, who also sealed us. The thought thus expressed is that the gift of the Spirit, following on baptism or the laying on of hands, is as the seal of the covenant which God makes with His people, attesting its validity. (Comp. Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; and, for the Jewish use of seals, Jeremiah 32:10.)

And given the earnest of the Spirit.—Better, for the same reason as before, gave. The Greek word for “earnest” (arrhabôn), which occurs here for the first time, and is used only by St. Paul in the New Testament (2Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 1:14), has a somewhat interesting history. Originally a Hebrew word, from a verb meaning “to mix,” “to change,” “to pledge,” and so used, as a cognate noun, with the last of the three senses, it appears simply transliterated in the LXX. of Genesis 38:17-18. It would seem to have been in common use among the Canaanite or Phoenician traders, and was carried by them to Greece, to Carthage, to Alexandria, and to Rome. It was used by the Greek orator Isæus, and by Plautus and Terence among the earlier Latin writers. The full form came to be considered somehow as pedantic or vulgar, and was superseded in Roman law by the shortened “arrha,” the payment of a small sum given on the completion of a bargain as a pledge that the payer would fulfil the contract; and it has passed into Italian as “arra;” into modern French, as “les arrhes;” into popular Scotch even, as “arles.” As applied by St. Paul, it had the force of a condensed parable, such as the people of commercial cities like Corinth and Ephesus would readily understand. They were not to think that their past spiritual experience had any character of finality. It was rather but the pledge of yet greater gifts to come: even of that knowledge of God which is eternal life (John 17:3). The same thought is expressed, under a more Hebrew image, in the “firstfruits of the Spirit” in Romans 8:23. Grammatically, the “earnest of the Spirit” may be taken as an example of the genitive of apposition, “the earnest which is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians


2 Corinthians 1:22

There are three strong metaphors in this and the preceding verse-’anointing,’ ‘sealing,’ and ‘giving the earnest’-all of which find their reality in the same divine act. These three metaphors all refer to the same subject, and what that subject is is sufficiently explained in the last of them. The ‘earnest’ consists of ‘the Spirit in our hearts,’ and the same explanation might have been appended to both the preceding clauses, for the ‘anointing’ is the anointing of the Spirit, and the ‘seal’ is the seal of the Spirit. Further, these three metaphors all refer to one and the same act. They are not three things, but three aspects of one thing, just as a sunbeam might be regarded either as the source of warmth, or of light, or of chemical action. So the one gift of the one Spirit, ‘anoints,’ ‘seals,’ and is the ‘earnest.’ Further, these three metaphors all declare a universal prerogative of Christians. Every man that loves Jesus Christ has the Spirit in the measure of his faith,’ and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.’

I. Note the first metaphor in the text-the ‘seal’ of the Spirit.

A seal is impressed upon a recipient material made soft by warmth, in order to leave there a copy of itself. Now it is not fanciful, nor riding a metaphor to death, when I dwell upon these features of the emblem in order to suggest their analogies in Christian life. The Spirit of God comes into our spirits, and by gentle contact impresses upon the material, which was intractable until it was melted by the genial warmth of faith and love, the likeness of Himself, but yet so as that prominences correspond to the hollows, and what is in relief in the one is sunk in the other. Expand that general statement for a moment or two.

The effect of all the divine indwelling, which is the characteristic gift of Christ to every Christian soul, is to mould the recipient into the image of the divine inhabitant. There is in the human spirit-such are its dignity amidst its ruins, and its nobility shining through its degradation-a capacity of receiving that image of God which consists not only in voluntary and intelligent action and the consciousness of personal being, but in the love of the things that are fair, and in righteousness, and true holiness. His Spirit, entering into a heart, will make that heart wise with its own wisdom, strong with some infusion of its own strength, gracious with some drops of its own grace, gentle with some softening from its own gentleness, holy with some purity reflected from its own transcendent whiteness. The Spirit, which is life, moulds the heart into which it enters to a kindred, and, therefore, similar life.

There are, however, characteristics in this ‘seal’ of the Spirit which are not so much copies as correspondences. That is to say, just as what is convex in the seal is concave in the impression, and vice versb, so, when that Divine Spirit comes into our spirits, its promises will excite faith, its gifts will breed desire; to every bestowment there will answer an opening receptivity. Recipient love will correspond to the love that longs to dispense, the sense of need to the divine fulness and sufficiency, emptiness to abundance, prayers to promises; the cry ‘Abba! Father’ ! the yearning consciousness of sonship, to the word ‘Thou art My Son’; and the upward eye of aspiration and petition, and necessity, and waiting, to the downward glance of love bestowing itself. The open heart answers to the extended hand, and the seal which God’s Spirit impresses upon the heart that is submitted to it, has the two-fold character of resemblance in moral nature and righteousness, and of correspondence as regards the mysteries of the converse between the recipient man and the giving God.

Then, mark that the material is made capable of receiving the stamp, because it is warmed and softened. That is to say, faith must prepare the heart for the sanctifying indwelling of that Divine Spirit. The hard wax may be struck with the seal, but it leaves no trace. God does not do with man as the coiner does with his blanks, put them cold into a press, and by violence from without stamp an image upon them, but He does as men do with a seal, warms the wax first, and then, with a gentle, firm touch, leaves the likeness there. So, brother! learn this lesson: if you wish to be good, lie under the contact of the Spirit of righteousness, and see that your heart is warm.

Still further, note that this aggregate of Christian character, in likeness and correspondence, is the true sign that we belong to God. The seal is the mark of ownership, is it not? Where the broad arrow has been impressed, everybody knows that that is royal property. And so this seal of God’s Divine Spirit, in its effects upon my character, is the one token to myself and to other people that I belong to God, and that He belongs to me. Or, to put it into plain English, the best reason for any man’s being regarded as a Christian is his possession of the likeness and correspondence to God which that Divine Spirit gives. Likeness and correspondence, I say, for the one class of results is the more open for the observation of the world, and the other class is of the more value for ourselves. I believe that Christian people ought to have, and are meant by that Divine Spirit dwelling in them to have, a consciousness that they are Christians and God’s children, for their own peace and rest and joy. But you cannot use that in demonstration to other people; you may be as sure of it as you will, in your inmost hearts, but it is no sign to anybody else. And, on the other hand, there may be much of outward virtue and beauty of character which may lead other people to say about a man: ‘That is a good Christian man, at any rate,’ and yet there may be in the heart an all but absolute absence of any joyful assurance that we are Christ’s, and that He belongs to us. So the two facts must go together. Correspondence, the spirit of sonship which meets His taking us as sons, the faith which clasps the promise, the reception which welcomes bestowment, must be stamped upon the inward life. For the outward life there must be the manifest impress of righteousness upon my actions, if there is to be any real seal and token that I belong to Him. God writes His own name upon the men that are His. All their goodness, their gentleness, patience, hatred of evil, energy and strenuousness in service, submission in suffering, with whatsoever other radiance of human virtue may belong to them, are really ‘His mark!’

There is no other worth talking about, and to you Christian men I come and say, Be very sure that your professions of inward communion and happy consciousness that you are Christ’s are verified to yourself and to others by a plain outward life of righteousness like the Lord’s. Have you got that seal stamped upon your lives, like the hall-mark that says, ‘This is genuine silver, and no plated Brummagem stuff’ ? Have you got that seal of a visible righteousness and every-day purity to confirm your assertion that you belong to Christ? Is it woven into the whole length of your being, like the scarlet thread that is spun into every Admiralty cable as a sign that it is Crown property? God’s seal, visible to me and to nobody else, is my consciousness that I am His; but that consciousness is vindicated and delivered from the possibility of illusion or hypocrisy, only when it is checked and fortified by the outward evidence of the holy life which the Spirit of God has wrought.

Further, this sealing, which is thus the token of God’s ownership, is also the pledge of security. A seal is stamped in order that there may be no tampering with what it seals; that it may be kept safe from all assaults, thieves, and violence. And in the metaphor of our text there is included this thought, too, which is also of an intensely practical nature. For it just comes to this-our true guarantee that we shall come at last into the sweet security and safety of the perfect state is present likeness to the indwelling Spirit and present reception of divine grace. The seal is the pledge of security, just because it is the mark of ownership. When, by God’s Spirit dwelling in us, we are led to love the things that are fair, and to long after more possession of whatever things are of good report, that is like God’s hoisting His flag upon a newly-annexed territory. And is He going to be so careless in the preservation of His property as that He will allow that which is thus acquired to slip away from Him? Does He account us as of so small value as to hold us with so slack a hand? But no man has a right to rest on the assurance of God’s saving him into the heavenly kingdom, unless He is saving him at this moment from the devil and his own evil heart. And, therefore, I say the Christian character, in its outward manifestations and in its sweet inward secrets of communion, is the guarantee that we shall not fall. Rest upon Him, and He will hold you up. We are ‘kept by the power of God unto salvation,’ and that power keeps us and that final salvation becomes ours, ‘through faith.’

II. Now, secondly, turn to the other emblem, that ‘earnest’ which consists in like manner ‘of the Spirit.’

The ‘earnest,’ of course, is a small portion of purchase-money, or wages, or contract-money, which is given at the making of a bargain, as an assurance that the whole amount will be paid in due time. And, says the Apostle, this seal is also an earnest. It not only makes certain God’s ownership and guarantees the security of those on whom it is impressed, but it also points onwards to the future, and at once guarantees that, and to a large extent reveals the nature of it. So, then, we have here two thoughts on which I touch.

The Christian character and experience are the earnest of the inheritance, in the sense of being its guarantee, inasmuch as the experiences of the Christian life here are plainly immortal. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the objective and external proof of a future life. The facts of the Christian life, its aspirations, its communion, its clasp of God as its very own, are the subjective and inward proofs of a future life. As a matter of fact, if you will take the Old Testament, you will see that the highest summits in it, to which the hope of immortality soared, spring directly from the experience of deep and blessed communion with the living God. When the Psalmist said ‘Thou wilt not leave my soul in Sheol; neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption,’ he was speaking a conviction that had been floated into his mind on the crest of a great wave of religious enjoyment and communion. And, in like manner, when the other Psalmist said, ‘Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever,’ he was speaking of the glimpse that he had got of the land that was very far off, from the height which he had climbed on the Mount of fellowship with God. And for us, I suppose that the same experience holds good. Howsoever much we may say that we believe in a future life and in a heaven, we really grasp them as facts that will be true about ourselves, in the proportion in which we are living here in direct contact and communion with God. The conviction of immortality is the distinct and direct result of the present enjoyment of communion with Him, and it is a reasonable result. No man who has known what it is to turn himself to God with a glow of humble love, and to feel that he is not turning his face to vacuity, but to a Face that looks on him with love, can believe that anything can ever come to destroy that communion. What have faith, love, aspiration, resignation, fellowship with God, to do with death? They cannot be cut through with the stroke that destroys physical life, any more than you can divide a sunbeam with a sword. It unites again, and the impotent edge passes through and has effected nothing. Death can shear asunder many bonds, but that invisible bond that unites the soul to God is of adamant, against which his scythe is in vain. Death is the grim porter that opens the door of a dark hole and herds us into it as sheep are driven into a slaughter-house. But to those who have learned what it is to lay a trusting hand in God’s hand, the grim porter is turned into the gentle damsel, who keeps the door, and opens it for light and warmth and safety to the hunted prisoner that has escaped from the dungeon of life. Death cannot touch communion, and the consciousness of communion with God is the earnest of the inheritance.

It is so for another reason also. All the results of the Divine Spirit’s sealing of the soul are manifestly incomplete, and as manifestly tend towards completeness. The engine is clearly working now at half-speed. It is obviously capable of much higher pressure than it is going at now. Those powers in the Christian man can plainly do a great deal more than they ever have done here, and are meant to do a great deal more. Is this imperfect Christianity of ours, our little faith so soon shattered, our little love so quickly disproved, our faltering resolutions, our lame performances, our earthward cleavings-are these things all that Jesus Christ’s bitter agony was for, and all that a Divine Spirit is able to make of us? Manifestly, here is but a segment of the circle, in heaven is the perfect round; and the imperfections, so far as life is concerned, in the work of so obviously divine an Agent, cry aloud for a region where tendency shall become result, and all that it was possible for Him to make us we shall become. The road evidently leads upwards, and round that sharp corner where the black rocks come so near each other and our eyesight cannot travel, we may be sure it goes steadily up still to the top of the pass, until it reaches ‘the shining table-lands whereof our God Himself is Sun and Moon,’ and brings us all to the city set on a hill.

And, further, that divine seal is the earnest, inasmuch as itself is part of the whole. The truest and the loftiest conception that we can form of heaven is as being the perfecting of the religious experience of earth. The shilling or two, given to the servant in old-fashioned days, when he was hired, is of the same currency as the balance that he is to get when the year’s work is done. The small payment to-day comes out of the same purse, and is coined out of the same specie, and is part of the same currency of the same kingdom, as what we get when we go yonder and count the endless riches to which we have fallen heirs at last. You have but to take the faith, the love, the obedience, the communion of the highest moments of the Christian life on earth, and free them from all their limitations, subtract from them all their imperfections, multiply them to their superlative possibility, and endow them with a continual power of growth, and stretch them out to absolute eternity, and you get heaven. The earnest is of a piece with the inheritance.

So, dear brethren, here is a gift offered for us all, a gift which our feebleness sorely needs, a gift for every timid nature, for every weak will, for every man, woman, and child beset with snares and fighting with heavy tasks, the offer of a reinforcement as real and as sure to bring victory as when, on that day when the fate of Europe was determined, after long hours of conflict, the Prussian bugles blew, and the English commander knew that {with the fresh troops that came on the field} victory was made certain. So you and I may have in our hearts the Spirit of God, the spirit of strength, the spirit of love and of a sound mind, the spirit of adoption, the spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, to enlighten our darkness, to bind our hearts to Him, to quicken and energise our souls, to make the weakest among us strong, and the strong as an angel of God. And the condition on which we may get it is this simple one which the Apostle lays down; ‘After that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.’ The Christ, who is the Lord and Giver of the Spirit, has shown us how its blessed influences may be ours when, on the great day of the feast, He stood and cried with a voice that echoes across the centuries, and is meant for each of us, ‘If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth in Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake He of the Spirit which they that believe or Him should receive.’

1:15-24 The apostle clears himself from the charge of levity and inconstancy, in not coming to Corinth. Good men should be careful to keep the reputation of sincerity and constancy; they should not resolve, but on careful thought; and they will not change unless for weighty reasons. Nothing can render God's promises more certain: his giving them through Christ, assures us they are his promises; as the wonders God wrought in the life, resurrection, and ascension of his Son, confirm faith. The Holy Spirit makes Christians firm in the faith of the gospel: the quickening of the Spirit is an earnest of everlasting life; and the comforts of the Spirit are an earnest of everlasting joy. The apostle desired to spare the blame he feared would be unavoidable, if he had gone to Corinth before he learned what effect his former letter produced. Our strength and ability are owing to faith; and our comfort and joy must flow from faith. The holy tempers and gracious fruits which attend faith, secure from delusion in so important a matter.Who hath also sealed us - The word used here (from σφραγίζω sphragizō) means to seal up; to close and make fast with a seal, or signet; as, e. g., books, letters, etc. that they may not be read. It is also used in the sense of setting a mark on anything, or a seal, to denote that it is genuine, authentic, confirmed, or approved, as when a deed, compact, or agreement is sealed. it is thus made sure; and is confirmed or established. Hence, it is applied to persons, as denoting that they are approved, as in Revelation 7:3; "Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads;" compare Ezekiel 9:4; see the note, John 6:27, were it is said of the Saviour, "for him hath God the Father sealed;" compare John 3:33. In a similar manner Christians are said to be sealed; to be sealed by the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30; that is, the Holy Spirit is given to them to confirm them as belonging to God. He grants them His Spirit. He renews and sanctifies them. He produces in their hearts those feelings, hopes, and desires which are an evidence that they are approved by God; that they are regarded as his adopted children; that their hope is genuine, and that their redemption and salvation are sure - in the same way as a seal makes a will or an agreement sure. God grants to them His Holy Spirit as the certain pledge that they are His, and shall be approved and saved in the last day. In this there is nothing miraculous, or in the nature of direct revelation. It consists of the ordinary operations of the Spirit on the heart, producing repentance, faith, hope, joy, conformity to God, the love of prayer and praise, and the Christian virtues generally; and these things are the evidences that the Holy Spirit has renewed the heart, and that the Christian is sealed for the day of redemption.

And given the earnest of the Spirit - The word used here (ἀῤῥαβών arrabōn from the Hebrew צרבון ‛arabown means properly a pledge given to ratify a contract; a part of the price, or purchase money; a first payment; that which confirms the bargain, and which is regarded as a pledge that all the price will be paid. The word occurs in the Septuagint and Hebrew, in Genesis 38:17-18; Genesis 38:20. In the New Testament it occurs only in this place, and in 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:14, in each place in the same connection as applied to the Holy Spirit, and his influences on the heart. It refers to those influences as a pledge of the future glories which await Christians in heaven. In regard to the "earnest," or the part of a price which was paid in a contract, it may be remarked:

(1) That it was of the same nature as the full price, being regarded as a part of it;

(2) It was regarded as a pledge or assurance that the full price would be paid. So the "earnest of the Spirit," denotes that God gives to his people the influences of his Spirit: his operation on the heart as a part or pledge that all the blessings of the covenant of redemption shall be given to them.

And it implies:

(1) That the comforts of the Christian here are of the same nature as they will be in heaven. Heaven will consist of like comforts; of love, and peace, and joy, and purity begun here, and simply expanded there to complete and eternal perfection. The joys of heaven differ only in degree, not in kind, from those of the Christian on earth. That which is begun here is perfected there; and the feelings and views which the Christian has here, if expanded and carried out, would constitute heaven.

(2) these comforts, these influences of the Spirit, are a pledge of heaven. They are the security which God gives us that we shall be saved. If we are brought under the renewing influences of the Spirit here; if we are made meek, and humble, and prayerful by his agency; if we are made to partake of the joys which result from pardoned sin; if we are filled with the hope of heaven, it is all produced by the Holy Spirit, and is a pledge, or earnest of our future inheritance; as the first sheaves of a harvest are a pledge of a harvest; or the first payment under a contract a pledge that all will be payed. God thus gives to his people the assurance that they shall be saved; and by this "pledge" makes their title to eternal life sure.

22. sealed—A seal is a token assuring the possession of property to one; "sealed" here answers to "stablisheth us" (2Co 1:21; 1Co 9:2).

the earnest of the Spirit—that is, the Spirit as the earnest (that is, money given by a purchaser as a pledge for the full payment of the sum promised). The Holy Spirit is given to the believer now as a first instalment to assure him his full inheritance as a son of God shall be his hereafter (Eph 1:13, 14). "Sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession" (Ro 8:23). The Spirit is the pledge of the fulfilment of "all the promises" (2Co 1:20).

The use of a seal is for confirmation of the thing to which it is affixed; the effect of it is the making the impression of itself upon the wax: so as sealing us, both in this and other texts, signifies both the confirmation of the love of God to our souls, and also the renewing and sanctification of our natures, imprinting the image of God upon our souls, making us (as the apostle Peter saith, 2 Peter 1:4) partakers of the Divine nature; but the first seemeth probably to be most intended here.

And given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts: we have the same expression, 2 Corinthians 5:5 Ephesians 1:14. We read of the first-fruits of the Spirit, Romans 8:23. The giving unto believers the Holy Spirit, and those saving spiritual habits which are his effects in the soul, are both the first-fruits and an earnest; for as the first-fruits assured the harvest, and the earnest is a sure pledge of the bargain, when those who give it are honest and faithful; so the sanctifying habits, wrought in the soul by the Spirit of holiness, are a certain pledge of that glory which shall be the portion of believers.

Who hath also sealed us,.... "Two" things more are here attributed to God; "first", the sealing of his people. The use of seals is various, as to denote property in things, to distinguish one thing from another, to show esteem and affection for persons or things, and for security and protection, and to hide and conceal; all which might be applied to sealing, as expressive of the grace of God to his people, in claiming a property in them, distinguishing them from the rest of the world, setting his affections on them, securing and protecting their persons, and hiding them under the shadow of his wings: but sometimes a seal is used to certify, make sure, or assure the truth of a thing; see John 3:33 in which sense the word "sealing" is used here, and intends that assurance which God gives his people of their interest in his love, and the covenant of grace; of their election of God, and redemption by Christ; of their interest in Christ, and union with him; of their justification by him, and adoption through him; of the truth of grace in their hearts, their perseverance in it, and sure and certain enjoyment of eternal glory. The persons thus sealed are not carnal and unconverted persons, only believers in Christ, and these, after they commence such; the seal by which they are sealed, is not any of the ordinances, as circumcision under the Old Testament, or baptism, or the Lord's supper under the New; for these are no seals, nor are they ever so called; but the Spirit of God himself, as the Holy Spirit of promise; for the same who, in the next clause, is called the earnest, is the seal; see Ephesians 1:13. "Secondly", the giving of the earnest of the Spirit:

and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts: by "the Spirit" is meant, not the gifts and graces of the Spirit merely, but the Spirit of God and Christ himself; who was concerned in the creation of the world, in inditing the Scriptures, in forming and filling the human nature of Christ, and in his resurrection from the dead; he himself is given as an "earnest": the word here used, and in 2 Corinthians 5:5 is the Hebrew word and comes from which signifies "to become a surety, to give a pledge"; and is used for a pledge in covenants and bargains, both in Scripture, see Genesis 38:17, and in Jewish writings (d); which is given as an earnest, and in part of what it is a pledge of, and is never returned: the Spirit of God is an earnest or pledge of the heavenly inheritance, which is not only prepared for us, and promised to us, and Christ is in the possession of in our nature, in our room and stead, and as our representative; but the Spirit of God also is sent down "into our hearts" as a pledge of it; where he dwells as in his temple, supplies us with all grace, witnesses to us our sonship, and assures us of the heavenly glory: and as such he is "given"; and an unmerited free grace gift he is; for him to be given in this manner, and for such a purpose, is a wonderful display of the love of the Father, and of the Son, and is a surprising instance of his grace and condescension of the Spirit, and for which we should be abundantly thankful.

(d) Midrash Megillath Esther, fol. 94. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Mechira, c. 7. sect. 1. & c. 11. sect. 4.

Who hath also sealed us, and given the {y} earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

(y) An earnest is whatever is given to confirm a promise.

2 Corinthians 1:22. ὁ καὶ σφρ. ἡμᾶς κ.τ.λ.: who also sealed us (sc., all Christians), and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. The aorists, σφραγισάμενοςδούς, point to acts completed at a definite moment in the past; and this can only mean the moment of baptism. This, too, is the best explanation of the parallel passages, Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30. The gift of the Holy Spirit is repeatedly mentioned as consequent on baptism (Acts 2:38; Acts 19:6); and the σφραγίς, or “seal” of baptism, is a common image in early Christian literature (e.g., [2 Clem.,] § 8, τηρήσατετὴν σφραγῖδα ἄσπιλον). The “seal” of the Church is given by St. Paul (2 Timothy 2:19) as “The Lord knoweth them that are His” (Numbers 16:5), and “Let every one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (Isaiah 52:11; cf. Numbers 16:26, Isaiah 26:13). The ἀρραβών (see an exhaustive note in Pearson, On the Creed, 7), i.e., עֵרָבוֹן, is a first instalment, given in pledge of full payment in due course; see reff. and cf. Romans 8:16, τὸ πνεῦμα συνμαρτυρεῖ τῷ πνεύματι ἡμῶν ὅτι ἐσμὲν τέκνα Θεοῦ: here is the ἀπαρχή τοῦ πνεύματος (Romans 8:23). For the constr. διδόναι ἐν cf. Ezekiel 36:26, John 3:35, Acts 4:12, chap. 2 Corinthians 8:1; 2 Corinthians 8:16.

22. Who hath also sealed us] Here again the Greek has the aorist. We must refer it here to the attestation God gave to his calling and anointing by the manifest signs of His presence with His ministers. See ch 2 Corinthians 3:1-3, 2 Corinthians 12:12. Also Romans 15:15-19; 1 Corinthians 9:2. A seal (see note on 1 Corinthians 9:2; cf. Romans 15:28) is used to attest and confirm a legal document, which, according to our present legal custom, derived from the practice of past ages, when but few were able to write their names, must be ‘sealed’ as well as ‘signed,’ before it is ‘delivered’ to another person to act upon. For the expression ‘sealed with the Spirit,’ see Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 4:30, and also, for a similar expression, John 6:27.

and given the earnest of the Spirit] The Apostle here, as in ch. 2 Corinthians 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14, uses the Hebrew word arrhabon, which, derived from a verb signifying to plait or interweave, and thence to pledge or be security for (as in Genesis 43:9), came to have the meaning of earnest. An earnest is to be distinguished, however, from a pledge (see Robertson in loc.), in that the latter is “something different in kind, given as assurance for something else,” as in the case of the Sacraments, while the former is a part of the thing to be given, as when “a purchase is made, and part of the money paid down at once.” Schleusner translates into German by handgeld or angeld. The Hebrew word however, has also the meaning of pledge, as in Genesis 38:17-18. The word is found in the Greek and in a modified form in the Latin language, and exists to this day in the French “arrhes,” and was no doubt derived by Greeks and Latins “from the language of Phoenician traders, as tariff, cargo, are derived in English and other modern languages from Spanish traders.”—Stanley. See his whole note, and cf. Romans 8:23. Our own word earnest comes from a root signifying to run, to follow after eagerly. The use of the word in the text is due to the custom, common in all countries, of giving some pledge of being in earnest. The words ‘in earnest,’ in our sense of meaning what we say, occur early in our literature. See Chaucer, Legende of Good Women, Queen Dido, line 1301. There is a valuable note on this word in the Speaker’s Commentary on Proverbs 6:1.

2 Corinthians 1:22. Ἀῤῥαβῶνα, earnest) ch. 2 Corinthians 5:5. ἀῤῥαβὼν, Genesis 38:17-18, is used for a pledge, which is given up at the payment of a debt; but elsewhere for earnest money, which is given beforehand, that an assurance may be afforded as to the subsequent full performance of the bargain. Hesychius, ἀῤῥαβὼν, πεόδομα. For the earnest, says Isid. Hispal., is to be completed [by paying the balance in full] not to be taken away: whence he who has an earnest does not restore it as a pledge, but requires the completion of the payment. Such an earnest is the Spirit Himself, Ephesians 1:14 : whence also we are said to have the first fruits of the Spirit, Romans 8:23. See Rittershusii, lib. 7, sacr. lect. c. 19.

Verse 22. - Who hath also sealed us. We cannot be deconsecrated, disanointed. Still less can the confirming seal be broken. He continues to dwell on the conception of the unchangeableness of God and of the gospel into which he had been incidentally led by the charge of "lightness." The earnest of the Spirit. The promises which we have received are not mere promises, they are already so far fulfilled to us and in us as to guarantee hereafter their plenary fruition. Just as in money bargains "earnest money," "money on account," is given, in pledge that the whole will be ultimately discharged, so we have "the earnest of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 5:5), "the firstfruits of the Spirit" (Romans 8:23), which are to us "the earnest" or pledge money that we shall hereafter enter upon the purchased possession (Ephesians 1:13, 14). We now see the meaning of the "and." It involves a climax - the promise is much; the unction more; the seal a still further security (Ephesians 4:30; 2 Timothy 2:19); but beyond all this we have already a part payment in the indwelling of the Present of God (Romans 5:5; Romans 8:9; Galatians 4:6). The word arrabon, rendered "earnest," has an interesting history. It is very ancient, for it is found (עַרָבון) in Genesis 38:17, 18, and comes from a root meaning "to pledge." It seems to be a Phoenician word, which had been introduced into various languages by the universality of Phoenician commerce. In classical Latin it is shortened into arrha, and it still exists in Italian as aura, in French as arrhes. The equivalent Hebrew figure is "firstfruits" (Romans 8:23). 2 Corinthians 1:22Sealed (σφραγισάμενος)

See on John 3:33; see on Revelation 22:10.

Earnest (ἀῥῤαβῶνα)

Only here, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:14. It means caution-money, deposited by a purchaser in pledge of full payment.

Of the Spirit

Not the foretaste or pledge of the Spirit, but the Spirit Himself in pledge of the fulfillment of the promises. By a common Greek usage the words are in apposition: the earnest which is the Spirit.

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