Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.
An earnest is part of that which is to follow, and it is of the same kind as that of which it is the earnest. The earnest is not withdrawn. In this it differs from a pledge or bond. A pledge or bond is restored or cancelled when it is fulfilled. God's promise and oath are His pledges to His people, and they shall never be withdrawn till He has fulfilled His word. But the Holy Ghost given is the earnest of our inheritance; and he who gives an earnest pledges his faithfulness to give the rest. For this reason the earnest of the Spirit is called "the first fruits of the Spirit." Now, the first fruits of the harvest were a part, sample, and earnest of the harvest which would follow. The first fruits, moreover, consecrated the coming harvest for the use of God's people. The Holy Ghost is the earnest from God to us of His inheritance in us; and He is, also, the earnest to us of our inheritance in God. Now where the Spirit of the Lord is, the fruits of the Spirit follow. "As many as received Him." Notice, all is in the receiving. It is not something we have to do or to suffer, but only to receive: "to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." "And because ye are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Galatians 4:6). We probably repeat the Lord's Prayer daily. We call Him Father, alas! often without apprehending that He is our Father. Let us not mock God. Believers have a rich, mighty, loving Father; and if we, being evil, know how to give good things to our children, how much more will He "give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" God first sends the life of His Son into the soul, and then the spirit of His Son into that soul. First God the Holy Ghost gives us to believe, and then He seals us as believers. He first gives us the seal of the Spirit, and then He makes the sealing Spirit to be the earnest of our inheritance. When we seal a document we remove the instrument that makes the impression; but when God seals it is altogether different, for He leaves the instrument with which He seals the soul to be the earnest of the inheritance "until the redemption of the purchased possession." This earnest of the Spirit is not only our security, but also our ability for the enjoyment of our inheritance in faith here and in fruition hereafter. When the Holy Ghost is the earnest of our inheritance, everything of the believer's is sealed unto the day of redemption. Our Head has been sealed. He is the head of all principality and power. "Him hath God the Father sealed" (John 6:27). He is our life, our title, our representative, our wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. The foundation on which we rest is sealed. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His, and, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:19).
(M. Rainsford, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.