Thought for Thursday

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 2 Corinthians 1:22

We need an older dictionary to get the proper meaning of two of the words in today’s text. The words ‘sealed’ and ‘earnest’ are not used in this way much anymore, so we need to take a look at what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He directed Paul to pen them in the original Greek. Actually, looking up the meaning of words is a good idea anytime. In the 1960’s, the late David Pethrick used to tell us young Christians that one of our best aids in studying the Bible is a good dictionary. If we know what some of the words in the Bible actually mean, we will have a much better idea of what God is trying to tell us. That advice is still good today.

The meaning of the word ‘sealed’ is that of having a mark – or stamp – of ownership. You and I can not always tell if a particular person is a Christian. But God can. His seal is on us all. Just think about it, every believer has the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within. How much better is that than having a brand placed on us somewhere, like western ranchers do to their cows? We are not God’s cows, we are His children. He lives within us, to give us our encouragement, guidance, and power, and to guarantee that no mistake can ever be made about our salvation. How wonderful to be sealed by God!

The term ‘earnest’ is a little more obscure in today’s world. But it just as wonderful in terms of what God has given us. This word is similar to the modern term ‘down payment’. But it means even more. As we know, our salvation not only delivers us from hell, but also delivers us to Heaven. But it may be some time before we reach that peaceful dwelling on the strong eternal hills. That’s where the earnest comes in. Until we reach Heaven, we have the reality of Heaven with us now. The term ‘earnest’ refers to the first part – an actual part – of what is to come. The blessings we have in Christ are actually part of what is ours for Eternity. The joy of sins forgiven, the delight in the ever-present Lord, the comfort of the Holy Spirit’s presence, the wonder of God’s provision for our needs, the pleasure of the company of fellow saints, the satisfaction of all that the Word of God has for us, and the sweetness of the fellowship of prayer, these all are just part of what is ours forever, because of our redemption.

We bear the stamp of God’s ownership on our souls, and should reflect that seal in our lives. We have received the down payment of what is ours for eternity, and should live in the good of that earnest today. – Jim MacIntosh

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