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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Holy Spirit and Us

Don Stewart :: How Does the Holy Spirit "Seal" the Believer?

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How Does the Holy Spirit ‘Seal’ the Believer?

The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 12

When a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit seals, or guarantees, that the individual is a child of God. What does this mean? In what sense does the Spirit of God seal the believer? The New Testament says the following about this particular ministry of the Holy Spirit.

All Christians Are Sealed with the Spirit

To begin with, all who believe in Jesus are sealed with the Holy Spirit of God. The sealing confirms the fact that the Holy Spirit will never leave them. The Scripture says.

And who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Corinthians 1:22 ESV).

Sealing is for everyone who believes. There are no exceptions.

The Holy Spirit Is the Seal

The New Testament makes it clear that it is the Holy Spirit Himself who is the seal – we do not seal ourselves. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said the following.

In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation–in Him when you believed–were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13,14 HCSB).

He seals us. We have nothing to do with it.

Paul then later said to the Ephesians.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30 ESV).

Believers are never exhorted to be sealed with the Spirit or to strive to reach the goal of being sealed. They are sealed the moment they believe. It is something that God alone does.

The Sealing Is Not Directly Experienced

The sealing of the Spirit is a ministry that happens to all Christians upon belief in Jesus. However the believer does not directly experience it. It is a once–for–all work of the Spirit that guarantees the promises of God will be fulfilled. There is no outward sign that it has taken place.

The Seal Was a Sign of Authority

A seal is a sign of authority. When Christ was buried His tomb was sealed with the Roman seal. Matthew writes.

And they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone (Mathew 27:66 NASB).

This seal, in this case, stood for the authority of Rome.

The Seal Was a Mark of Ownership

The seal is a mark of identification and ownership. In the Old Testament we find the idea of marking someone with their particular seal as an ancient method of ownership. We read about this in Isaiah.

One will say, ‘I belong to the LORD’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, ‘The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel (Isaiah 44:5 NIV).

In this instance, certain people wrote on their hand to indicate they belonged to the Lord. In other words, He owned them.

The Lord ordered a certain man clothed in linen to put His mark of ownership upon the foreheads of certain godly people in Jerusalem. Ezekiel the prophet records this episode.

Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it” (Ezekiel 9:3–4 NIV).

The mark on the forehead is a mark of ownership.

In the future, the Lord will seal 12,000 from each of the tribes of Israel to keep them from harm. We read the following in the Book of Revelation.

Wait! Don’t hurt the land or the sea or the trees until we have placed the seal of God on the foreheads of his servants and I heard how many were marked with the seal of God. There were 144,000 who were sealed from all the tribes of Israel: (Revelation 7:3,4 NLT).

The Lord has promised to protect His people. The “seal” of God is that protection.

In sum, we find that the Bible says that those who believe in Jesus Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit. This happens the moment a person believes. This seal is a mark of ownership. Those having the seal of God are now under His authority and protection. Consequently, the sealing of the Holy Spirit is indeed a wonderful ministry which takes place on behalf of the believer.

Summary – Question 12
How Does the Holy Spirit ‘seal’ the Believer?

Among the various ministries of the Holy Spirit is one known as “sealing.” Scripture teaches us a number of things about the sealing of the Spirit. First, the sealing of the Spirit is something which occurs with all believers. The Holy Spirit seals all believers. The church in Corinth included believers who were spiritually immature and had gross sin in their lives. Yet they were all sealed with the Spirit.

This is further confirmed by the fact that the Scriptures nowhere command the believer to be sealed with the Spirit. We are spoken of as already been sealed. It is not something believers must pray to receive or behave a certain way to obtain.

This brings us to our next point. It is God alone who seals the person who believes in Jesus, we do not seal ourselves. It is completely an act of God.

While the sealing of the Holy Spirit is an act of God it is not something which we directly experience; there are no outward signs which accompany the sealing of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is a non-experiential ministry of the Spirit of God.

The seal of the Holy Spirit guarantees believers that they are God’s children – all of the promises that the Scripture makes will be fulfilled.

Sealing is a mark of ownership. Those who are sealed belong to the one who sealed them. Consequently, those who have been sealed by the Holy Spirit belong to the God of the Bible. Thus, when the Holy Spirit seals the believer, He guarantees that person’s security. God’s authority is behind the sealing.

The sealing is thus a promise that the salvation the Christian receives is granted both now and forever. Whomever He seals, He claims as His own; He will never abandon them.

We do indeed find wonderful promises connected with the sealing of the Holy Spirit!

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