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Many of us are old enough (You know who you are!) to remember the time when we sent what has been dubbed today as “snail mail.” This was the time before email. We would write (or type) a letter and put it in an envelope. We would lick the envelope flap to make the adhesive sticky. Then, we would seal the envelope. (In ancient times, they used molten wax to seal it.) 

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No one but the sender and the recipient has the right to open the mail. This sense of ownership was what the apostle Paul had in mind when he wrote that believers “were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”. (Ephesians 1:13c) 
In our case, God is both sender and recipient,… The concept of sealing includes the ideas of ownership, authority, and security. Since God has sealed us, we are His possession, secure (unless there were someone with greater power than God Himself!) until the day of redemption. [1]
Like the indwelling, the baptism and the anointing, the sealing of the Spirit happened the moment we put our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.“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” (Ephesians 1:13). God Himself did the sealing of the believer. He “has… put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:22) 

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These works are experienced once and for all and never to be repeated again. (We will discuss the filling or controlling of the Spirit when we get to Ephesians 5 in our “Significance” series.)
Moreover, the sealing is permanent—with a view to the believer’s ultimate glorification (Eph. 4:30). Hence, the sealing not only emphasizes ownership but also security. The Holy Spirit verifies that the believer permanently belongs to God. [2]
That’s why we have to show by our words that we already belong to God.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:29-31)
When we fail to do so, we grieve or “bring sorrow to” (NLT) the Holy Spirit. But, when we are “kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (v. 32), we bring joy to the Spirit.

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Significant Step

Make a list of the things that would grieve the Holy Spirit and the things that would bring joy to Him as detailed in Ephesians 4:29-32. Then, check the things on the list you have done lately that brought sorrow to the Spirit. Ask God to forgive you for grieving the Spirit.  (NOTE: Grieving the Spirit is NOT the unpardonable sin or the blasphemy against Him in Matthew 12:31-32.) Look for opportunities to apply the things that would bring joy to Him.

NOTE: This is Day Five of the devotional guide (Volume 1, Issue 5) of our church, Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, for the message last Sunday, March 29, on Know How Much You Are Worth Part 3” (“Significance” series, a verse-by-verse study of the book of Ephesians).

[1] Charles C. Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (IL: Moody Press, 1972). Electronics edition.

[2] Paul Enns. The Moody Handbook of Theology (IL: Moody Press, 1989), 269. Emphasis added.


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