As we previously noted Ephesians 1:3-14 is one long sentence in Greek. Paul purposely combines all these profound theological truths to describe and amplify the work of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Verses 3-6 explain the sovereign election of the Father: the Father has blessed us with every spiritual blessing, He chose us before the foundation of the world, and He predestined us to be his sons through Jesus Christ.
Verses 7-12 develops the redemptive work of the Son: He freely bestowed grace on us in his dearly loved Son, through Jesus have redemption through His blood, we have the forgiveness of our sins and have been gifted with wisdom and insight, He revealed the mystery of God’s will that He will bring all things together in heaven and on earth in Christ and He claimed us as His own possession according to God’s purpose to the praise of His glory.
The final two verses focus on the work of the Holy Spirit:
“And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.”
Paul’s letter is addressed specifically to the Gentile believers, assuring them of their share in God’s inheritance. We understand the truth that God’s promises are not limited to Jewish believers; the Gentile believers are also “God’s own possession” as His “Chosen People”. We also learn is that at the moment that we “believe in Christ” we are marked with the certification of genuineness, the seal of the Holy Spirit that indicates our security, authentication and approval in Christ. This “seal” is a deposit or a down payment with a guarantee of more to come. In essence this deposit “is a little bit of the heaven in our lives today with a guarantee of much more to come”.
“The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee that we belong to him and that he will do what He has promised. The Holy Spirit is like a down payment, a deposit, a validating signature on the contract. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us demonstrates the genuineness of our faith, proves that we are God’s children, and secures eternal life for us. His power works in us to transform us now, and what we experience now is a taste of the total change we will experience in eternity”. (LIFE Application Bible commentary)
From Romans 10:17 we learn that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ”. Additionally, from 1 Peter 3:15 we understand that we should “always be prepared to give an answer (with gentleness and respect) to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have”. The “Word of Truth”, also called the message is defined as the “Gospel of your Salvation”. From 1 Corinthians 15:2-4 we can summarize the gospel message as “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”. With these few but precise words Paul clearly explains that we are all in need of forgiveness, not one of us measures up to what is required to reconcile us to the Holy God. That Jesus really died, it was not a hoax or fabrication of His disciples, Jesus was crucified, dead and buried then was raised to life on the third day all done according to God’s plans and recorded in the Bible for us to understand. When Christ conquered death He confirmed for us His promise of eternal life, confirming the plan and process of how each one of us can be reconciled to the Creator of the Universe forever.
This process that God set forth is that first we will hear the word of truth, the gospel message; then we believe, have faith in the work of Christ and are marked by the Holy Spirit and sealed as a “down payment of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory”.
The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is astounding; Jesus identifies the Holy Spirit as “another Advocate to be with you forever” and as the “Spirit of Truth” who resides with you and in you. The Holy Spirit will “prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”, “He will guide you to all truth”, and He will receive from Jesus and “tell it to you and tell you what is to come”.
This depiction of an advocate that leads us into all truth, reminds me of the presence of the Spirit of God that was with the Israelites in the desert directing their path and teaching them how to become the people of God. This same power and insight is available to us and in us, when we believe and thus sealed with the Holy Spirit.