4. (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Work of the Holy Spirit.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, having believed, you were Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise,
Who is the Guarantee of our Inheritance until the Redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His Glory.
a. In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth: God’s Sovereign Choice Works, but it does not exclude human cooperation.
These who were so Sovereignly Chosen were also the ones
who heard the word of truth, and believed.
b. You were Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise: Also essential in God’s Work is the Sealing Work of the Holy Spirit.
His Presence in our lives acts as a Seal which indicates Ownership, and which is a Guarantee of our Inheritance.
i. “The Seal is therefore the Holy Spirit Himself, and His Presence in the believer denotes Ownership and security. The Sealing with the Spirit is not an emotional feeling or some mysterious inward experience.” (Gaebelein)
ii. The word guarantee (“down payment”) is used only in the New Testament of the Holy Spirit. He is our only EARNEST or Down Payment of coming Glory; nothing else is provided – or needed.
c. Having believed, you were sealed: The sealing does not come before we believe, and those who demand some assurance from God before they will believe treat God as if His word could not be trusted.
d. Until the redemption of the purchased possession: We have this Guarantee until we are “completely purchased” by God through Resurrection and Glorification – again, all to the Praise of His Glory.
C. Paul prays in light of God’s Ultimate Plan
and the Work of the Triune Godhead.
1. (15-16) Paul’s statement of prayer and declaration of thanksgiving.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
a. After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints: When Paul heard of the faith and love of the Ephesians, he could do nothing else but give thanks for them. This was because their faith and love were evidence of their participation in this Great Work of God.
i. Faith and love do not earn us participation in this Great Work of God. They are evidence of our participation in God’s Plan.
b. Love for all the saints: Significantly, Paul gave thanks not for their love for God, but for their love for all the saints.
The real evidence of God’s work in us is not the love we claim to have for Him, but our love for His people that others can see:
1 John 4:20: “If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”,
John 13:14: “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one anothers’ feet.”
and John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
By this shall all men know that you are My disciples,
if you have love one to another.”
c. Making mention of you in my prayers: Paul not only gave thanks for God’s Work among the Ephesians; he also prayed that it would continue with greater strength, as the prayer in Ephesians 1:17-23 makes clear.
i. Paul shows us here that preachers must do more than preach to their audience – they must also pray for them. “Whether a minister shall do more good to others by his prayers or preaching, I will not determine, but he shall certainly by his prayers reap more comfort to himself.” (Trapp)
ii. Paul often prayed making mention of others in prayer. When he prayed he mentioned the Christians in Rome (Romans 1:9), the Christians in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 1:2), and Philemon (Philemon 1:4).
© 2006 David Guzik