Kept by God in Christ
Several people are unsure of their salvation. If you ask them about it, they say, “I hope I’m saved. Who am I to say whether I’m going to Heaven or not?”
But that’s not biblical. You can be sure of your salvation (or lack thereof).
Let’s look at the rest of Paul’s long sentence in Ephesians 1.
“In him [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (vv. 11-14 ESV).
Last week, I wrote about redemption. If you remember, Ephesians 1:7-10 reveals two things we are redeemed from. There’s an immediate redemption in that we are forgiven of our trespasses (v. 7). But there’s also a future to redemption (v. 10). It’s this future redemption that Paul explores in verses 11-14. And this is something we can be sure of.
But there’s something else Paul wants us to see. In verse 9, he writes about the mystery of God’s will. Last week, I mentioned how that mystery is the bringing together of Jews and Gentiles as the family of God. Now, in verses 11-14, Paul expounds on this by using different pronouns. Let me show you.
In verses 11 and 12, Paul uses the pronoun “we.” He says, “… we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory” (v. 12 ESV). Paul is including himself among the Jewish people. So, he is emphasizing the original people of God.
But in verses 13 and 14, Paul uses the pronoun “you.” He writes, “In him [Christ] you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” (v. 13 ESV). After all, Paul is writing to Gentile believers in Ephesus.
So, Paul makes it abundantly clear that the family of God consists of both Jews and Gentiles. And those of us who belong to the family of God are kept forever.
Paul says, we “… were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (vv. 13-14 ESV).
What does this mean? Well, the word “sealed” means “certain” or “secure.” The Holy Spirit is like the Father’s mark of ownership on His people.
Then, Paul uses the word “guarantee.”
Last September, Jordy and I purchased our first home. In order to receive the mortgage, we had to pay a down payment. This initial deposit was like a pledge, showing the bank our full intention of paying that mortgage off.
So, when Paul says “guarantee,” he is referring to the Holy Spirit being a “down payment” or “deposit” of our full redemption—that is, until we receive it.
As God’s children, we have a foretaste of our full inheritance. And one day, this redemption will be experienced for all that it is.
As one commentator writes, “The gift of the Spirit, then, is the guarantee of coming immortality.”
And all of this, as Paul makes clear, is “… to the praise of His [God’s] glory” (vv. 12, 14).
Those who are saved by God are kept by God in Christ. As the family of God, we have incredible hope. In this unstable world, we are kept by our loving Father. And one day, we will experience the full redemption secured for us in Christ.
Let’s look again at Romans 8:22-23. It reads, “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (ESV).
Those who are chosen by God in Christ (Eph. 1:3-6) are redeemed by God in Christ (Eph. 1:7-10). And as we wait for our full redemption, we’re kept by God in Christ (Eph. 1:11-14).
Oh, how we groan inwardly. Oh, how we wait eagerly. Come, Lord Jesus.