Friday, September 3, 2010

The Covenants: Part XIII - The Seal of God

The Seal of God

In Part XII we studied through Hebrews 3 and 4 and learned that we enter God’s true rest (sabbatimos) through faith in Jesus Christ.  We enter that rest, not on a certain day of the week, but today and everyday.  Jesus is our sabbatimos rest.  Jesus is the reality that the Sabbath day (sabbaton) could only point to.

So if Jesus Himself is our Sabbath rest, what about the teaching many of us grew up with that the Old Covenant Sabbath day is the Seal of God?  We’ve all heard the following passage in Revelation:

Revelation 9:3-4 (NASB)
3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
Doesn’t Revelation teach that the seal of God is the Sabbath day?  Actually there’s no hint of any such thing in this passage or anywhere in Revelation.  We’re simply not told what the Seal of God is in Revelation.  Fortunately, we don’t have to guess who the seal of God upon New Covenant Christians is.  New Covenant Christians had already been given this information, more than once, in earlier inspired letters.  Read the following Bible passage and determine who God’s seal upon us is:

2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NASB)
21 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,
22 who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
God has given us the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit as a pledge of salvation and eternal life.  It is not a day of the week that seals us, but the person of the Holy Spirit.  It is not a ceremonial shadow that seals us, but God the Spirit.  Now let’s turn to the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:13-14 (NASB)
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Again, we see that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.  Only God Himself can guarantee the promise of salvation through faith.  A day has no power to do this.  Let’s look further in the same book.

Ephesians 4:30 (NASB)
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
So we can now see that we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and by the Holy Spirit guaranteeing our redemption.  A day of the week does not guarantee our salvation, only the Seal of God in our hearts can do that.  We also have just a hint of what the “mark of the beast” might possibly be.  It’s not a day of the week, but involves a rejection of the Holy Spirit.

Now I have heard some object, despite what the Bible says, that the Holy Spirit cannot be God’s seal upon us because man-made seals were inanimate objects.  But this argument doesn’t hold up because God’s seal upon us is not a man-made seal.  Our sovereign God can seal us in anyway he chooses.  How wonderfully mind-blowing it is to realize that He has chosen to seal us with Himself.  When our spirits are made alive in Christ, God the Spirit tabernacles in us.  God’s very presence dwells within us guaranteeing the promise of eternal life with Him.  He is the seal!  This is the testimony of scripture.

What better seal could we ever hope for or ask for?  Truly, we who live in the New Covenant age are blessed beyond all measure.  But the promise of eternal life does not exhaust the treasure of blessings we are given through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  Through the life changing presence of the Spirit we are also conformed to Christ.  We pass out from under the Mosaic Law and, through the power and presence of the Spirit, are now conformed to a better law: the Law of Christ.

We will explore the Law of Christ in Part XIV.

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