Last time, we saw that, as an "earnest," the Spirit who dwells in us is a guarantee, a part and a foretaste of our eternal inheritance (Eph. 1:14). Since the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ and Christ is the revelation of the Triune God, our inheritance is irradiated with the glory of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Then the one, true God will be all in all, and all idolaters will be banished forever to the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8; Isa. 66:24).
The Bible often links what we have now in the Spirit of Christ with final glory. We are new creatures by the power of the Spirit (II Cor. 5:17); the new creation of the new heavens and the new earth is coming. We are regenerated; in the future the world itself will also be regenerated (Matt. 19:28). We have the "firstfruits of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:23); the full harvest awaits.
This earnest (or down payment or deposit) of the Spirit is in us (as a guarantee and partial payment) "until the redemption of the purchased possession," our actual receiving the full "inheritance" (Eph. 1:14).
The "purchased possession" (14) is one Greek word referring to all believers in all ages and nations, as those acquired by the Lord, as His people, in body and soul, both Jews (12) and Gentiles (13).
"The redemption of the purchased possession" (14) can best be explained along these lines. First, Christ paid the price of our redemption by His atoning sufferings on the cross for us (7a). Second, this redemption is applied to us in time in "the forgiveness of sins," the chief and central blessing of salvation (7b). This is the first instalment, referring to us especially in our souls. Third, in the future, we shall be raised from the dead to the splendour of the new creation (14). This is the second instalment, referring to us especially in our bodies.
The Bible speaks elsewhere of "redemption" as not only (1) its payment on the cross and (2) its issuance in the forgiveness of sins, but also (3) the future, physical resurrection of the just. Later in Ephesians, Paul warns against grieving the Holy Spirit, "whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. 4:30). Elsewhere, he states that we who "have the firstfruits of the Spirit … groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Rom. 8:23). The Lord Jesus exhorts us, as we see the signs of His coming, "look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28).
All Jews (Eph. 1:12) and Gentiles (13) who believe in Christ are "sealed" with the Spirit (13) and have the Spirit as an "earnest" of our future inheritance (14), into which we all enter at the same time, through the resurrection of the body, here called "the redemption of the purchased possession" (14; Rom. 8:23). There is no suggestion here of, or room for, several resurrections, whether of Jew or Gentile or of godly or ungodly, separated by 7 or 1,000 or 1,007 years, as various brands of premillennialism teach. Scripture declares, "there shall be a resurrection [singular] of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). Then, in "the fullness of times," all things in heaven and on earth, including believing Jews and Gentiles of all ages, will be gathered together in one in Christ (Eph. 1:10).
It should also be noted that this sealing and earnest of the Spirit "until" the bodily resurrection (14) at the end of this age proves the perseverance of the saints and irresistible grace. For if the believer could fall away and if grace were resistible, the apostle could not say that all those who believe "were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise … until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (13-14).
How much does all this mean to you, child of God? Do you live in the consciousness that the Holy Spirit is in you as the earnest of future glory? As a guarantee, a part payment and a foretaste of eternal bliss? Do other people notice that you live this way? Remember too that this privilege of hoping for our glorious inheritance is a calling of all saints, young as well as old!
Do your priorities in life reflect that you have the assurance and joy of the Spirit? Does this show itself in what you do with your time? Such as making time to read God’s Word and pray, attending Bible studies and fellowshipping with other saints, as you are able?
How much does this heavenly hope mean to you? Enough to start reordering your life, where necessary? Enough to stop walking in enticing sins? Enough to begin looking forward more to our Lord’s return? Enough to worship God for His great mercy?
This is indeed the purpose of the Triune God in saving us. Three times this goal is stated in Ephesians 1: "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (6), "that we should be to the praise of his glory" (12) and "unto the praise of his glory" (14). Now we are called to declare His greatness; forever we will do this perfectly. This is what it is for us to live as members of the church, the body of Jesus Christ: to praise God’s glorious grace! This is the work of the Spirit in us, making us worshippers of our Father in heaven.
- Volume: 11
- Issue: 17
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851