II. THE HOLY SPIRIT BEING AN EARNEST
Now let us look at verse 14: "Who is the pledge of our inheritance unto the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory." Paul told us in verse 13 that the Holy Spirit has sealed us. First, this indicates that we belong to God and, second, it makes us like God. He told us in verse 14 that the Holy Spirit is like a pledge (or what we commonly know as a deposit). What does this mean? Paul told us not only that the Holy Spirit has sealed us, but also that the Holy Spirit was given as a pledge, a deposit. In the original language, deposit means an actual deposit and a sample.
What is a "deposit"? Suppose I am buying a piece of land for two thousand dollars. I pay one hundred dollars in advance as a deposit. This means that the seller receives one hundred dollars first, and I give him the balance later. I only pay him a portion at first, while I must pay the balance later. If I am faithful, I will pay him the balance of one thousand nine hundred dollars. God does likewise. He gives us the Holy Spirit as a pledge. This means that He gives to us part of the heavenly blessing first as a guarantee that He will give us all the heavenly inheritance later. God puts Himself in a legally unchangeable position. He has paid the deposit and must therefore pay the whole later. God’s Holy Spirit is the guarantee of His promise. The Bible says that we, the believers, will receive much in abundance. Yet, how do we know He will carry out His word? We know it through the Holy Spirit. God makes the Holy Spirit a deposit and proves to us that none of His promise will fail. Since God has given us the Holy Spirit as a "deposit," He is saying to us through the Holy Spirit that all of His will be ours. Once He does this, it becomes impossible for Him to change. Is there anyone in the world who has paid a deposit and will not pay the rest unless he is dishonest? God is faithful and righteous. Once He pays the deposit, He will surely pay the balance.
Mr. Philip Mauro said, "What is the deposit like? It is just like an engagement ring." It means that now your fiancé gives you a small part, and that he will give you all that he has on the wedding day. Therefore, God gives us the Holy Spirit as a "deposit" indicating that all the riches in the heavens will be ours.
People in ancient times had another custom. At the time of the sale of a piece of land, not only did the buyer pay some money as a deposit to the seller, but the seller also gave some of the soil as a sample to the buyer. This meant that the soil one received on that day would be the same as the soil he would receive in the future. God has given us the Holy Spirit not only as a deposit but also as a sample so that we can enjoy a foretaste of the heavenly things. By this, we know that what is given to us by God today will be the same in nature as what He will give to us in the future. If silver is given today, silver will be given in the future. If gold is given today, gold will be given in the future. God gives us the Holy Spirit today in order that we can have a foretaste of the heavenly things on earth today.
Brothers and sisters, have you ever tasted the heavenly things? The Bible tells us that Paul heard unspeakable words and tasted heavenly things. We fellowship with God, and we also fellowship with one another in the Lord. The Holy Spirit is the means through which we fellowship with God and by which we receive the heavenly joy and the bestowing of the Lord’s love. When we come to the Lord, worship Him, or fellowship with one another, do we not feel the Lord’s love and joy? This is the foretaste of the heavenly things! Once a brother talked about the Lord’s love with me. He said, "When the Lord’s love comes upon me, I cannot sit still. I want to go out and run for a while." What we taste today is good and rich. Yet in the future it will be better and richer. Sometimes we feel the Lord’s love and joy burning within us like a fire. Yet what we taste today is still only a little. There will be much more in the future! What we taste today is just a little—a little today, a little tomorrow, and a little the day after. What we will taste in the future is not just this little. We cannot imagine how good it will be. It will be so good that we will say, "Even eternity is too short!"
We must remember that there are two meanings to the Holy Spirit being a deposit from God to us today. The first is that God gives us a part today and that He will give us the whole in the future. The other is that what God gives us today, He will give us in the future. When the spies of Israel cut down a branch with one cluster of grapes from the brook of Eshcol, and two carried it, they told Moses, "We came to the land to which you sent us; and surely it flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit" (Num. 13:27). This cluster of grapes indicated the nature of the land of Canaan. Surely it flowed with milk and honey! The Holy Spirit dwelling in us is also like this cluster of grapes. The taste today is just like what the heavenly taste will be in the future. We thank and praise God that He has given us the Holy Spirit, not only as our deposit, guaranteeing that He will give us the whole, but as a foretaste of the heavenly things.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 17: Notes on Scriptural Messages (1), Chapter 10, by Watchman Nee)