N. A SEAL
Second Corinthians 1:22 says that God has sealed us, and Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30 tell us that, as believers, we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. The anointing in 2 Corinthians 1:21 is the sealing in verse 22. Because God has anointed us with Christ, He has also sealed us in Him. To be sealed with the Holy Spirit means to be marked with the Holy Spirit as a living seal. We have been made God’s inheritance (Eph. 1:11). At the time we were saved God put His Holy Spirit into us as a seal to mark us out, indicating that we belonged to God. The Holy Spirit, who is God Himself entering into us, causes us to bear God’s image signified by the seal, thus making us like God.
We should not regard the sealing as separate from the anointing. Actually, anointing implies sealing. As we are under the anointing, the anointing becomes a sealing. In this way we become different from others. Furthermore, the seal causes us to bear the appearance of God. When God anoints, the anointing is the sealing. The anointing brings the divine essence into us. First, through the anointing God adds the essence of Himself to us. Then this anointing seals us with the essence of God, forming the divine element into an impression to express God’s image, thereby making us the image of God.
The seal of the Spirit signifies ownership. It signifies that God is our owner and that we belong to Him. The anointing within us as the sealing declares to the universe that we belong to God. God possesses us, and He has put Himself upon us as a seal.
The Spirit as the seal of God upon us bears the image of God. This implies that the seal of the Holy Spirit is the expression of God and brings God’s image into our being. When we bear the Holy Spirit as the seal of God upon us, we bear the image of God and the expression of God. The anointing within us becomes the seal, and the seal bears the very image of God. In this way we bear the image of God. This means that we express God by being anointed and by being sealed. Therefore, the seal of the Holy Spirit denotes both ownership and expression.
O. A PLEDGE—GUARANTEE—FORETASTE
The New Testament also speaks of the Spirit as a pledge (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph. 1:14). In 2 Corinthians 1:22 Paul says that God has given the pledge of the Spirit in our hearts. The pledge of the Spirit is the Spirit Himself as the pledge. The seal of the Spirit is a mark that we are God’s inheritance, God’s possession, belonging to God. The pledge of the Spirit is a guarantee that God is our inheritance or heritage belonging to us. The Spirit within us is the pledge, an earnest, of God being our portion in Christ.
Ephesians 1:14 says that the Holy Spirit is “the pledge of our inheritance.” We need the Spirit as both the seal and the pledge because in God’s work on us two kinds of inheritances are involved. Ephesians 1:11 indicates that we were made God’s inheritance, and verse 14, that God is our inheritance. In God’s economy we are an inheritance to God, and God is an inheritance to us. This is a mutual inheritance. For us to be God’s inheritance we need the seal. We are God’s possession, and as our owner God has put a seal upon us. Because God is our inheritance we also need the pledge of the Spirit as a guarantee. We shall inherit all that God is. For such an inheritance, the Holy Spirit is the pledge, the guarantee.
The Greek word for pledge in Ephesians 1:14 also means foretaste, guarantee, token payment guaranteeing the full payment, a part payment in advance. Because God is our inheritance, the Holy Spirit is a pledge of this inheritance to us. God gives His Holy Spirit to us not only as a guarantee of our inheritance, securing our inheritance, but also as a foretaste of what we shall inherit of God.
In ancient times the Greek word for pledge was used in the purchase of land. The seller gave the buyer a sample of the soil from the land being purchased. Hence, a pledge, according to ancient Greek usage, was also a sample. The Holy Spirit is the sample of what we shall inherit of God in full. As those who are to inherit God, we have the Holy Spirit as a pledge, guarantee, earnest, and down payment of our inheritance. At the same time the Spirit is also a sample and a foretaste. The foretaste gives us a taste of God; the full taste is yet to come.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)