Ephesians – Wayne Barber/Part 14
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©1999|
|Dr. Barber explores the impact of the Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer. How can that help one to see that he is “secure” in his redemption?|
The Security of Our Redemption – Part 2
Will you turn with me to Ephesians. We’ve been talking about the marvel of our redemption. We saw the sphere of our redemption. God did not exclude Israel, but that’s not the point. He included you and me in the inheritance that is promised one day. We saw the standard of our redemption. Is saying “I’m saved” enough? Well, the key is have you heard the truth of the gospel of your salvation and have you believed? If you’ve done that, then you know that you’ve met the standard of what salvation is from God’s Word.
Now we’re looking at the security of our redemption. There are three things that I want you to see. First of all, the security of our redemption is marked by His seal. That’s very important to see. It is marked by His seal. Now look at verse 13 again. We’ve been focusing on that. He’s speaking to a Gentile audience. Paul, a Jewish convert, is writing to Gentiles that have been converted seeking to assure them that the Jewish believers got no more or no less than the Gentile believers. We’ve all been made one in Christ Jesus. He said, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.” We are marked by a seal. That seal is the Holy Spirit of promise.
We looked at the fact that the Holy Spirit was first promised to Israel. It’s all involved in the promise of the new covenant, the covenant that we’re in through the Lord Jesus Christ, the better covenant built on better promises. Now you know the promise of the new covenant was the promise of what God will do with Israel and Judah. He’s offered to them the opportunity of being changed from within, not from without. What the Law could not do, grace would do. A person would be changed from within. Now the key to the whole new covenant is the ingredient of the Holy Spirit of God coming to dwell in the life of a believer. That’s when the change takes place, when His Spirit and my spirit are made one. Now He promised that to Israel and to Judah. We are allowed into the spiritual promises of the new covenant, not the external promises, not the land. That’s for them. As for the spiritual promises, we have been allowed into the very same thing that they were promised according to Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
Now we have already seen that in Ephesians 2:11-22. I won’t go back and read it again. We were brought near by the blood of Christ. You see, Israel was a nation holy unto God among pagan people on this earth. In that nation God kept them together so that a seed could come through it, through the tribe of Judah, and down through David. Of course, that was the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Galatians 3:16 for a review. It was through that seed, the person of Christ, and what He would do for us on the cross that the door was opened up to us into the promises and the covenant that were once promised solely to Israel and Judah. That’s what he says in Ephesians 2:11-22. We were allowed access.
So therefore, Paul, writing to the Gentile believers in Ephesus, is just simply saying, “Hey, what we received you also received. We have an inheritance as those who hoped in Christ first, but also you the Gentiles have believed, and now you’ve been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, the pledge of our inheritance.”
Now this new covenant, as I said, was a promise to change a person from within. This is all still review, so stay with me. By the Holy Spirit’s coming into the believer, what do we have? We now have His Law written on our hearts. The divine referee lives within us. We know when we’ve sinned. We might not understand it all, but we know when we’ve transgressed the will of God. God is always blessing or chastening us, and when He is chastening us all the blessings seem to disappear. All the reality of His presence seems to disappear. All the reality of His power seems to disappear. A Christian is most miserable when he sins. Why? Because the Holy Spirit lives in that individual’s life. The Law is written on his heart. We have a new relationship and allegiance to God. He says, “You will be my people and I will be your God.” That’s the key. “You’re not going to run to this god and that god and this god and that god. I’m going to give you a new covenant. I’m going to radically change you from within. You may try one for a while but you’ll hurry back because my Spirit is within you.”
You know, that seems to imply something to me. That means that we’re drawn to each other as believers. If we’re drawn to Him, and we have a new relationship to Him we have a new relationship to one another. We’re drawn to other believers. We are compelled from within to defend the name of our Father. It’s a brand new relationship, not like the old covenant. We know that because the Holy Spirit now lives in us, and we know Him in an intimate way. We know God in an intimate way. We have a oneness with Him that we didn’t have before. Now that needs to be cultivated. We’re not talking about perfection, but we have that potential now within us. Why? Because the third person of the Trinity lives within us and causes us to be able to know something that we couldn’t have known before. John says He becomes our teacher. We’re changed from within. God will never turn His back on us as His children. We have that promise. Isn’t that wonderful? We have the promise that God will never turn His back upon us. So we know whatever happens in our life God is doing something that is good.
Recently I was supposed to be at the First Baptist Church of Mt. Dora, Florida. I was caught in a blizzard in Marietta, Georgia, and a tornado hit the First Baptist Church of Mt. Dora. I finally got hold of the pastor a couple of days later, and I said, “Bob, do you think we might have missed God on this one? We had the worse storm in a hundred years, I was stuck in a blizzard in Marietta, and a tornado wipes out your church.” Well, we kind of chuckled over it, but isn’t it wonderful to know that whatever went on, it was for our good? God never does anything except for our good.
We’re in a brand new relationship with Him, not like Israel was when Hosea said He even gave them a writ of divorcement. Oh no! We’re now His children. The Holy Spirit of God lives within us and marks us as His own.
Well, not only that, we’ll never turn away from Him it says in the promise of the new covenant. We’ll never turn away from Him. I love the argument that some people use. “Oh I can lose my salvation. My God will never turn away from me, but I can turn away from God.” How are you going to do that when God said in the promise of the new covenant, “They shall not turn away from Me. I will cause them to walk in My statutes.” One thing we tend to overlook. We are going to be changed from within.
Well, in our text in Ephesians 1:13 it says we are marked by His seal. Once you have believed, after having heard the gospel of your salvation, you are sealed in Him. At the moment God examines your heart and sees your willingness to surrender. At that very moment He seals you with the Holy Spirit of promise.
What does it mean to be sealed? What does it mean to be marked with the seal of His Spirit? First of all, a seal was used in that day to prove that something was genuine. Secondly, it was used to mark something as one’s own possession. Thirdly, it was used to make sure something was secure.
Now I want to show you how the Holy Spirit is in us. He was promised first to Israel and Judah. Now we’re allowed to be a part of it because of Christ. I want to show you how He does all three things. Look in Romans 8:16. First of all, He proves that we’re believers, that we’re genuine, that we’re not a mockery. How do you know that somebody is a believer in Jesus Christ? By the obvious work of the Holy Spirit in that person’s life. I was reading something recently about this verse, and it said that D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones got into this verse and spent about four chapters in it because he felt it was so important for believers to understand the transforming work of the Holy Spirit of God.
What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Verse 16 says, “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Do you want to know whether or not you’re genuine? Don’t ask your brother or your sister. Paul says that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, will bear witness to you that you’re a child of God. If He has not borne witness that you’re a child, then somehow maybe you’ve missed it. The Spirit is given as a mark to make sure that we know that we are secure. He marks us as genuine. The mark of the new covenant on the believer is the Holy Spirit being in that individual’s life.
You ask, “Wayne, how in the world could He bear witness?” Well, I’ll give you just one idea. He’ll convict you of sin. What is it within us that convicts us of sin? Only the Holy Spirit of God. One of the greatest ways to know that you’re His child is the chastisement you go through when you willfully transgress His will. It doesn’t take you long to figure it out. I know there’s a problem when all of a sudden the joy leaves my life, when all of sudden I become critical and judgmental, when all of sudden everybody else is wrong and I’m the only person that’s right. God inside of me is saying, “Wayne, pay attention to Me. You’ve transgressed My will, and now you’re not enjoying My presence.” So I run back to the cross. Listen, when you ask Him, “God what have I done?”, He’ll tell you straight, and then you deal with it, and the joy returns. That’s the working of the Holy Spirit. That’s the witness that He has in your life. That’s just one of them. Another of them would be the manifestation of the life of Christ, when all of a sudden you can love someone who is unlovable. All of sudden you see a change inside of you, and all of a sudden people don’t seem to be the problem they used to be, and all of sudden you start handling circumstances differently. A witness of the Holy Spirit of God in your spirit that you are God’s child. That’s what He’s there for, to let you know.
Secondly, not only does He mark us as being genuine by His presence in our life, He marks us as being God’s own possession. Look in Romans 8:9. Have you ever heard somebody say, “I’ve been in the flesh?” Well, we can’t be in the flesh any more. We can be after it, but not in it. “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” It marks someone as God’s own possession. When that Spirit is in you He’s convicting you of sin and doing all the other things He was sent to do in your life. You begin to see the obvious witness of His working within you. You know immediately you belong to God because it marks you as God’s own possession, therefore, securing your redemption.
But then thirdly, He makes sure that we are secure. Look in Ephesians 4:30. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” The day of redemption. We’re going to look at the day of redemption later. “I thought, Brother Wayne, the day of redemption has already come in my life.” Part of it has, but the picture’s not complete yet. There is another day of redemption that is coming when we shall be taken to be with Him, released from the presence of sin. Now wait a minute! Wait a minute! Now listen! We are sealed. What for? So that we can be secure until the day of redemption. How do we know that we’re secure in our redemption? We are marked by His seal.
Secondly, we know that we’re secure in our redemption because it is anchored by His promise. It is marked by His seal and anchored by His promise. Folks, you can’t get around the fact that when God promises something, God is faithful to deliver it. Let’s go back to our text, Ephesians 1, and move on to verse 14. By the way, the word “promise” there, “Spirit of promise,” that’s a legal term. It’s given by grace and not negotiation. I like that. Israel didn’t negotiate with God on the new covenant. God just gave it by grace. It was a promise. It was a legal term which meant when God promises something He is bound by His promise to carry it out. But that doesn’t cost you anything.
Verse 14, “who is given [speaking of the Spirit] as a pledge of our inheritance.” Why is the Holy Spirit given? He’s given as a pledge of our inheritance. It’s not the inheritance that we have in Christ right now. It’s the inheritance that we have that is coming one day. The day of redemption will kick that into gear. It is given as a pledge of our inheritance. The phrase “who is given” is important. It’s not “which is given.” The Holy Spirit is not an it. He’s a person. He lives in you. He’s sensitive. He’s a person. He feels. He thinks. He wills in your life. You have another person living in you. His Spirit has joined my spirit.
Now what does it mean “a pledge of our inheritance?” “A pledge” is the word that means “something that is paid as a down payment to assure that the full payment will come later on.” You can find countless experiences of men where they have failed in coming through in what they said they were going to do. But we’re not dealing with men, folks. We’re dealing with God, and God says, “I sealed you with my Holy Spirit as a pledge of your inheritance.”
Let’s go back over what we learned earlier about the Holy Spirit being in your life. Every day He lets you know when sin is there. Everyday He lets you know when you’re displeasing to God. He convicts you and brings you to the cross so you can deal with that sin. Every single day He reminds you that you’ve been birthed into a holy family, a heavenly family. He begins to help you find brothers and sisters in Christ. You find a relationship with others that you’ve never known before. Every day His being in your life is giving you a brand new desire to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. Every day He cries out, “Abba Father” within you. You have the victories that you have because of the Holy Spirit being in your life, every single one of them. We could have testimonies. Hundreds of people could come up and tell what Jesus did last week. We could sum it all up and say, “All that is in earnest that the full payment is yet to come.”
You find some Christians that aren’t even living under the power of the Holy Spirit of God, and they’re as miserable as they could possibly be. That’s good evidence that they’re God’s children, but it’s also good evidence that they’re God’s disobedient children. They’re not willing to walk. We have at least 49 commands in Ephesians. If you think we’re talking about perfection, forget it. He’s got to write to a church and tell them first of all whose they are and what they are. Then he’s got to remind them of how they ought to be living.
Maybe you’re not living that way. Maybe this doesn’t grab you. Maybe you’re not walking in the victory of the Spirit of God. Maybe God has not been allowed to produce unconditional love to somebody whose been treating you like a rat for weeks and weeks and weeks. Maybe you haven’t been able to forgive yet. When you start trusting Christ, and when Christ starts doing something and His Holy Spirit starts manifesting the character of Christ in your life, then you start living unconditionally. You start forgiving other people. You only want to be at peace with them. That’s victory. That victory you’re having in the Spirit is only the earnest of your inheritance. The best is yet to come.
God says the spirit-filled life, the Christ-centered life, the Christ- filled life, the Christ life, however you want to say it, is simply the earnest of your inheritance. It’s a down payment. It’s a promise. If I have a victory in the Spirit tomorrow it’s a promise of what is yet to come in my walk with Him. Listen, the security of our redemption is marked by His seal. It is anchored to His promise. The Holy Spirit is given as God’s way of assuring us that we’ll receive full payment later on.
There’s one more thing that I want you to see in that verse. It is fulfilled by His power. By fulfilled, I simply mean, the purpose of His putting the Spirit in our life is brought to its conclusion. It’s all fulfilled by His power. Look again at verse 14: “…who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view…” Now that term “with a view” is the little term eis. It means “motion toward something.” In other words, when God put the Spirit in our life, that is not the end. That is the beginning. Oh, so many Christians misunderstand that. The whole thing is our being transformed.
Listen, some people say Jesus loves you just like you are. That’s true, but it’s not true. It’s true in the sense He understands you, and His love is unconditional. But it’s not true that He loves us the way we’re living right now. God wants us to be perfect before Him, and one day it’s going to be made complete. It will only be affected by the day of our redemption. We’ll never see it down here. One day we’ll be delivered and taken out of here and changed. When we see Christ we’ll be like Him. That’s when we’ll understand the purpose of our salvation. Salvation is a beginning, not the end. It’s going to be fulfilled by His power.
He says, “…with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” As a matter of fact, we’re in a metamorphosis. There’s a metamorphosis taking place in our life. Look back in Romans 12 just for a second, and let me show you that it’s a process, not something that happens overnight. Yes, we’re brand new creatures, but we’re not perfect creatures. It begins there, and the metamorphosis here is something that is progressive. It says in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed [metamorphosed] by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We’re on a journey down here. While we’re on this journey the Holy Spirit of God has been given to us to perfect us in the character of Christ and to conform us in the image of God. When we get into the Word of God we’ve got to make choices. There’s a whole lot involved in the process of sanctification. Metamorphosis is like a caterpillar walking around, that ugly little creature. One day it gets in that cocoon, and what happens? He emerges as a butterfly. Totally different. Well some people think that’s immediately what Christianity is. Well, no. It starts the process. The process goes on until the day of our redemption. Then one day, boom, out of this cocoon we come. We’re different. We’re glorified. Then we’ll understand what our Christianity is all about.
So therefore, the security of our redemption is not only marked with His seal, not only is it anchored by His promise, but it’s going to be realized by His power. Only God Himself could keep us secure in our redemption until the day of our redemption. Only God could do that. Nobody else could. We’re His own possession. And He will make sure to it that we go all the way through the process until one day we can be redeemed into His presence. As a matter of fact, the word there for “redeemed” is the word that means “to be released from something.” We studied that in verse 7. If you’ll go back to verse 7 of Ephesians 1 you’ll see it. Verse 7 says, “In Him we have redemption…” Now we’ve already got that, but it’s in three phases. When we first receive the Lord Jesus the Holy Spirit comes into our life. We are released from the penalty of sin. Not only that, we are now being released from the power of sin as we let the Holy Spirit dominate our lives. But one day at the day of redemption, we’ll be released from the presence of sin. That’s when we finally come out of the cocoon. God changes us completely. That’s what it’s been all about. That is only the beginning, folks. The best is yet to come.
Well, all of this should result in His praise. In the last part of our text, Ephesians 1:14, he says, “…to the praise of His glory.” He ought to be praised daily. You know, I was thinking about this whole process. too. The little children sing a song, “We’re under construction. God’s not finished with us yet.” That’s it! That’s is! We’re under construction. Salvation starts the process. Guess who the carpenter is? The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, who was a pretty good carpenter Himself when He walked on this earth. He’s in us to conform us to the image of Christ. Then one day we’ll put on those white robes, and we’ll just sing, “Glory to the Lamb. Worthy is the Lamb.” You see, He’s going to take us all the way through the process. The full payment of what we’re looking forward to is yet to come.
It is marked by His seal. Not only is it marked by His seal, it’s anchored by His promise. It will be realized by His power, and it all should result in His praise. Now I want you to know that I’m not upset with somebody who believes you can lose your salvation. Personally I think I would like to have a few of those people around. If you believe that you can lose your salvation, I just want to ask you a question. How many sins would it take for you to lose it? Well, if sin is all the same in God’s eyes, then evidently one. Alright. I want you to hang as close to me as you possibly can because we’ve got a lot of work to do before Jesus comes. You see, people who say they believe it have never thought it all the way through.
How in the world are you going to get a Christian unsaved? No possible way! Our security is nailed right here in this text. And that’s why Paul says to those Gentiles, “I wish you could understand. I pray that you might understand what I’m trying to tell you. What God has done is glorious and should result in all the praise going to Him.”
Oh, the marvel of our redemption. The sphere of it, we’re included. That just blows me away. Gentiles are included. Pagans like us. No covenants, no promise, but we’ve been allowed in by the blood of Christ. That just overwhelms me. The standard of it. Don’t just go around telling people you’re saved. Make sure that you’ve done what the Bible says to do to be saved. Make sure you understand belief is not just mentally understanding or emotionally feeling something. It’s an attitude of the will also. That’s still a part of us. There’s that surrender. Call it what you want to call it. But there’s that willingness to bow and surrender. That’s the way you receive Him. Oh, many came and committed themselves to Him, but He wouldn’t commit Himself to them, John tells us, because of the attitude of the hearts of those men. He knew their motives. They came with their hand out and not with their hearts bowed. Then remember the security of our redemption. It’s secure. You don’t have to worry about it. Thank God we’re not basing this on men’s promises. We’re basing this on God’s promises. If you’re saved you’re always saved. It won’t be anything you do to your credit. It will be to the integrity of a God who loves us enough to see to it that it’s done.