Concluding our examination of the Sealing of the Holy Spirit (which occurs when we receive Christ as Savior and Lord) in Ephesians 1:13-14, we now look at the remaining two pictures that the ancient and modern customs of Sealing paint.
Third, sealing pictures Authenticity. A seal attests to the authenticity of a signature; likewise, a signature proves the genuineness of a letter.
Graphology, the scientific study of handwriting, is a fascinating subject. While some argue about whether handwriting reveals personality traits, “forensic graphology,” the technical study of handwriting, is consider to be reliable. It is often used, in fact, in judicial proceedings to determine the authenticity of a signature or document. Though someone might be able to copy your signature accurately, it’s highly improbable that they can copy the lines exactly or press on the paper with the same amount of pressure as you do.
The Spiritual parallel is obvious. The indwelling Holy Spirit proves that the believer is genuine. Think of it! The Spirit’s presence within us proves we are true Christians. Romans 8:9 is so very clear: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” The words “Spirit of Christ” refer without question to the Holy Spirit Whom Christ sent (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:7). This is the Holy Spirit of promise spoken of in our text. How many professing Christians today are merely a “close copy” instead of the “genuine article?” If they are genuine, people will be able to see the seal. They will be able to see the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23).
Fourth, sealing pictures Assurance. By “assurance” we mean that sealing pictures security. Matthew 27:62‑66 tells us of the Roman seal that was placed on Jesus’ tomb. No one in that day would have dared to break that seal as that would have resulted in certain death. So, that seal protected the contents; it made the contents secure by order of Rome. The same was true of the seals of King Darius and his nobles that they put on the stone placed over the entrance to lion’s den into which they threw Daniel (Dan. 6:17).
Today there is what is called a “registered letter.” The addressee and the sender of the letter are recorded in a book. On the back of the letter is what is called a “return receipt” which is removed, signed by the addressee, and returned to the sender. The letter is also hand delivered and signed for by the addressee. All this protects and secures the contents of the letter.
The spiritual application is clear: we are sealed eternally in Christ by the Holy Spirit’s sealing. One of the most important aspects of sealing is this one concerning assurance. All three New Testament references to sealing are Aorist Tense, that once-for-all Past Tense. As Ephesians 4:30 indicates, we are “sealed [once for all] unto the day of redemption.”
Another modern illustration is when you go down to the store and buy a large item, such as an appliance, we receive a piece of paper called a “Guarantee.” This is the manufacture’s promise of quality. Infinitely deeper, the Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee of quality. And we can also be thankful that God’s guarantee is not just 90 days parts and labor, but is forever.
One more illustration. I recall the days when my father-in-law owned and operated a little country story where he would buy food items in bulk and package them for resale. One item he carried was various cheeses, which he would buy in large blocks and then cut to a customer’s wishes. To perverse some blocks for aging purposes (and, oh, how good is a 12-year-old sharp cheddar!) he would seal a block in wax. So, in that case the substance of the seal was wax, and it was my father-in-law who did the actual act of sealing. Likewise, God the Father has done the sealing with (or, by means of) the Spirit.