by Dean H. Hough

During this season of the year* we receive many letters with special holiday seals on the envelopes. These seals are easily broken. But God's seal upon the believer will keep him until the day of deliverance.

God has sealed us in Christ. "In Whom you also--on hearing the word of truth, the evangel of your salvation--in Whom on believing also, you are sealed with the holy Spirit of promise (which is an earnest of the enjoyment of our allotment, to the deliverance of that which has been procured) for the laud of His glory" (Eph.1:13,14).

This passage has often been used as a battle-ground between those who hold to the doctrine of "eternal security" and those who believe we can lose our salvation by not remaining faithful. One side stresses our need for security and the other our need for discipline.

This controversy need not be, for security and discipline are not contradictory things. To be sealed in Christ is both security and discipline.

The problem is that we have stressed the word "you" and have neglected the repeated words "in Whom." Consequently we have found a kind of partial security as well as a danger in the teaching of the believer's sealing and have missed the full security and discipline contained in the teaching of the believer's sealing in Christ. We have had too much to say about us and not enough about Him.

He paid the price for our sealing. His blood was shed on our behalf. Then, if that seal does not secure us in salvation what could we conclude about the price? What should we say then of God who made the promise? The power of the seal is based on the One Who seals, not upon those who are sealed. The security of the promise centers in the One Who promises, not upon those who receive the promise. It is the seal of God's holy Spirit, not of the weak human spirit. Then, if one is sealed in Christ he is secured against all violation and will be delivered safely to the laud of God's glory.

But if a failure in the deliverance of that which has been procured would stand as a bad reflection upon the promise of God and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, so also do our present failures reflect upon Him. God will not break the seal until the appointed day, but the price paid for that seal sobers us who are under it to live for Him.

The grieved Spirit of God endured that separation from the Beloved Son that we might be saved. There is discipline in such grace which is training us (Titus 2:11,12), not in the realization of what we have so much as in the realization of how we have received it.

Thus Paul says, "And do not be causing sorrow to the holy Spirit of God by which you are sealed for the day of deliverance" (Eph.4:30). Such a sealing is discipline indeed. The fear of disgracing the name of such a Saviour speaks far more forcefully than the fear of disgracing ourselves.

Yes, we are sealed, but let us always remember that we are sealed in Christ.

[*Written, November 1969]

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