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…
We have been already told we were chosen! blessed! adopted! accepted! redeemed! forgiven! and made an heritage! in Christ. Now, in addition to all, this great fact is added: "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." This is the consummation of our Divine security. The shepherds of earthly flocks seal them separately with their own name, for distinction and identification. Their seal is a dead thing, but it marks the owner's property. God seals his flock individually for His own possession by a living seal — the Holy Ghost. The metaphor here employed alludes to the ordinary use of a seal amongst men.
1. A seal is affixed to valuable property for its protection, identification, and security. It does not make the property precious, or give it value; but because it is valuable the owner seals it for its protection. Because we are valuable to God, the Holy Ghost seals us. We are His jewels: united to Christ, members of His body, and therefore the Holy Ghost seals us.
2. A seal is affixed to a man's act and deed, to make it irreversible.
3. A seal affixed is a public attestation and token of the sealer's promise, purpose, and undertaking. When the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit, this is God's public assertion before earth and heaven that His act and will and deed is the salvation of His redeemed.
4. A seal imparts its own image and likeness to that which is sealed. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit." A new understanding, a new will, new affections, a new creation — a divine nature! God's Spirit seals Christ into the soul!
5. A seal establishes a matter. See 2 Corinthians 1:21 (where this is defined): "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."
6. Probably there may be an allusion to Acts 19:1-16. Formerly such signs followed; but now we live by faith, not by sight. If it be asked, "How, then, can I know if I am sealed?" By the actings and operations of the Holy Ghost! After that ye heard the gospel of your salvation, ye also trusted, and after that ye believed ye were sealed. Have we heard the gospel? Not only with the outward ear, but also with the heart, the inward ear. If this is so indeed, then give the Holy Ghost the credit: He it is who alone has opened your eyes. In Christ a man is called into a new position in the world, a witness for Christ; he is made a new creature in Christ, and the Holy Ghost imparts a new nature, and stamps the impress of God's likeness upon the character, to fit him for the new position he is to occupy. All believers are thus sealed, and equally so. They are equally united to Christ, and equally indwelt by the Holy Ghost. Why, then, are some Christians so much less holy, happy, assured, than others? The answer is suggested in the text: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." Alas! we grieve the Holy Spirit. There is no question as to His sealing us; but can a man who grieves Him in his daily walk and conversation be as happy, holy, assured as the man who lives to Serve Him?
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
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,