Ephesians 1:13, 14
In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed…
In whom, having believed, ye were scaled. It is spoken of as a past process, but, though dating from a certain specific point of time, it is continuous in its operation.
I. THE NATURE OF THE SEALING. It is something different from faith, as the scaling of a letter is different from the writing of it. In the order of nature there must be a difference; in the order of time, the faith and the sealing may be contemporaneous. The sealing implies the direct contact of the seal with the thing sealed, and an impression made by it. It has both an objective and a subjective meaning. It is objective so far as it is for identification. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his" (2 Timothy 2:19); for the Lord sets his mark upon believers to keep them safe for himself; and it is also for security, for "we are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30), that is, to be preserved unto that day, the sealed ones of the Revelation being expressly sealed for safety (Revelation 7:3). Then it is subjective as it involves the assurance of faith, saints being thus assured of their interest in the favor of God and in the blessings of his kingdom. "Faith is the hand that takes hold of Christ; assurance is the ring which God puts on faith's finger." Believers as sealed by the Spirit have the witness within themselves that they are children of God (1 John 5:10; Revelations 5:5; 8:18).
II. THE SEALER. This is God, not the Holy Spirit; for it is said, "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22). The Holy Spirit is not the Sealer, but the Seal.
III. THE PERSON' INTO WHOM BELIEVERS ARE SEALED - JESUS CHRIST. "In whom ye were sealed." The sealing has direct relation to our union with Christ, as the passage implies; but the apostle also says, "He which stablisheth us with you in [rather, 'into'] Christ is God ... who hath also sealed us" (2 Corinthians 1:22). Jesus said," At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." Thus all the three witnesses in heaven, as well as the three witnesses on earth, concur in the testimony to our interest in the blessings of salvation. Our sealing is indeed in virtue of the sealing of Christ himself; for "him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:2.).
IV. THE SEAL IS NOT BAPTISM, OR THE LORD'S SUPPER, OR EXTRAORDINARY GIFTS, BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT HIMSELF. "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed till the day of redemption" (Ephesians 4:30), as marking the element or sphere of the sealing. God stamps the image of his Spirit upon the Christian soul; and all that is involved in the Spirit's operation - love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (Galatians 5:22) - is worked into man's spirit; for "we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18), that is, as reflecting his image.
V. THE SEALED ARE BELIEVERS. It is not truths, or promises, or experiences, that are sealed upon the heart; it is believers themselves who are sealed. A hard, cold, lifeless heart cannot receive the seal. The believing heart must be melted by the love shed abroad by the Holy Ghost, just as wax is melted to receive the device carved on the seal, before it can be in a state receptive enough for taking the impress, that is, the witness of Divine favor and security.
VI. THE INDELIBILITY OF THE SEAL. This seems implied in the very nature of the term employed, "ye were sealed" - in the past tense. "Whatever bears God's image will be safely carried home to his bosom." The seal that may be broken is no security. "Ye were sealed till the day of redemption" - till no day short of that; but it is a sealing that implies a perseverance in holiness. It is this security that supplies the strongest argument why we should not grieve the Spirit. The apostle does not suggest the fear of the Spirit's withdrawal, but rather the ingratitude of believers who could grieve One who had done so much for them. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,