- Ye Were Sealed with That Holy Spirit of Promise – All whom God chose, redeemed, and saved have been given eternal life. They live by the power of the Holy Spirit working in them and are guaranteed to persevere in the faith of Christ to the end of their lives on this sincursed earth and to be resurrected into glory on the Last Day. Eph 1:13 explains how God saves an individual: “…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 …”. First and foremost, God has to give a person “spiritual ears” to hear “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation”. This also conforms with Rom 10:17, “So then faith [a synonym for salvation] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Eph 1:13–14, among numerous other verses, indicate that trust, or belief, is a result of salvation. Now, what does the phrase “…ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…” signify? In this context, being “sealed” by the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of eternal life for all true believers. Thus, one of the purposes of the “seal” is to authenticate ownership, according to 1 Cor 6:19–20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. The elect have been eternally purchased by the Lord Jesus, as Acts 20:28b describes, “… the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”. The true believer has also been given the Holy Spirit as the “earnest”, or down payment, of their salvation, as we read in 2 Cor 1:22, “Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”. Eph 1:14 also confirms, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory”. The Greek word for “earnest”– or as we would say, “down payment”, apparently stems from a Hebrew word meaning “pledge”. Rom 8:9 reminds us that the indwelling Holy Spirit is given to the believer as the “earnest”, or “pledge”, of God’s salvation: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”.
1 Pet 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [i.e., a people purchased for possession]; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
2 Cor 5:5 “Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit”.
Eph 1:13–14 “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, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory”
2 Tim 2:18–19 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19Nevertheless 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.”
- For the LORD Thy God… Doth Go with Thee… He Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee – The promise that God uttered in Deu 31:6 by Moses, at the end of his life, should be a tremendous encouragement to every Christian: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”. Indeed, Moses had exclaimed earlier in Exo 33:15, “And he [Moses] said unto him [God], If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence”. In fact, for the next 40 years “… the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night”, as we learn from Exo 13:21. Deu 20:4 also affirms: “For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you”. As He did with Moses, God repeated this same promise to his successor, Joshua, in Jos 1:5, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”. Prior to Joshua’s death at 110 years of age, he records these words as a reminder to the Israelites, as well as to us, in Jos 24:17: “For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went and among all the people through whom we passed”. As the Bible chronicles God’s faithful care and love for His people – His flock – the tender words of Isa 40:11 come to mind: “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young”. Heb 13:5 also quotes Deu 31:6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”. Since this is a direct quotation, God has given us a “bridge” between the Old and the New Testaments. In other words, the Hebrew word translated as “fail” in Deu 31:6 corresponds to the Greek word translated as “leave” in Heb 13:5. God would never abandon His eternal church – His Bride. John 10:11 and 15 is a further reminder of the infinite expression of Christ’s sacrificial love in offering Himself for His people, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep… As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep”. Ponder this statement for just a moment: God will never forsake His true believers, yet God did forsake His own dear Son – Who had to suffer the equivalent of eternal damnation for the sins of these same people. Mat 27:46 says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Make no mistake about it – if Christ had not drink the awful cup of the wrath of God, then not one single individual will be able to escape the just punishment that God has reserved for them (Rev 14:10–11).
Rev 14:10–11 “The same [unsaved] shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
John 10:3–5 “… the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
John 10:27–29 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”
John 6:39–40 “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Heb 13:20–21 “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect [complete] in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
- He Which Hath Begun a Good Work in You Will Perform It Until the Day of Jesus Christ – We read in Php 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he [God] which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. This verse explains that the believer’s confidence is rooted in the fact that the work of saving grace which the Lord Jesus has initiated in his life will be brought to completion one day. Eph 2:8–10 declares: “… we are his workmanship …”. The Greek word for “confident” in Php 1:6 is rendered as “persuaded” in Rom 8:38–39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Psa 138:8 brings out this same truth: “The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands”. 1 The 5:23–24 proclaims: “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it”. As has been frequently mentioned in these studies, salvation is altogether an act of God’s grace. Even after God saves us, He continues His work of grace, as Php 2:13 illustrates, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure”. Rom 8:28–30 gives a panoramic view of God’s intervening activity in each of His children’s lives: “… whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. Think of it: The Almighty Triune God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, His Eternal Majesty is at work to finish what He has started in the infinitesimal lives of His people! 1 Pet 1:3–9 outlines the glorious future that awaits every Christian. Naturally, this is in complete harmony with the eternal scope of Eph 5:25–27: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Heb 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our – The word “our” in this verse was added by the translators] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Eph 2:8–10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
1 The 5:23–24 “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it”.
1 Pet 1:3–5, 9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. … Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”
- He That Shall Endure Unto the End The Same Shall Be Saved – Mat 24:12–14 teaches: “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”. What does the Bible mean by this term “endure”? At first one might assume that this “enduring” is something we have to “battle out” in our own strength. But, on the contrary, it is one of the hallmarks of a true child of God, as we see from the Parable of the Sower in Matt 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8. Only the “seeds” that fell on “good ground” (the regenerated hearts of the elect) germinated and brought forth fruit. The other “ground” (the unsaved hearts) did not produce fruit. Spiritually speaking, endurance denotes spiritual, eternal life. One of the chief characteristics of love – the preeminent fruit of the Spirit – is endurance, as 1 Cor 13:7 states so beautifully: “[Love] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”. What is the “end” that is in view in “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” ? This refers to a true believer’s spiritual standing before the very God Who formed him and gave him eternal life, according to John 13:1: “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end”. Likewise 1 Pet 1:9 affirms, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls”. Similarly, 1 Cor 1:8 concludes: “Who shall also confirm [or establish] you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Earlier in this study, we discussed that the basis for a believer’s confidence is the work and faith of the Lord Jesus, as we read in Php 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he [God] which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. The concept of enduring is also linked to the idea of “abiding”, or “continuing”, in the Word – the Bible. The Lord Jesus made this abundantly clear in John 8:31: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed”. John 15:4–9 states: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: …”. Continuing, or abiding, in the Word of God implies obedience to what one finds in the Bible, according to John 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love”.
John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:64–66 “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”
Mark 4:3, 8, 14, 20 “Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5And some fell on stony ground [the unsaved hearts], where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8And other fell on good ground [the regenerated hearts of the elect], and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 14The sower soweth the word. 15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground [the unsaved hearts]; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20And these are they which are sown on good ground [the regenerated hearts of the elect]; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
John 15:4–9 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.