When I hear the word “earnest” I think of Jim Varney going to camp in that classic 90’s comedy.
But, when I stumbled across it in the book of Ephesians from the Bible, I had a hunch I was looking at something very important to me. The word appears in the 14th verse in the 1st chapter of a letter written from the Apostle Paul to believers in the city of Ephesus. Here is what I read:
“In whom ye also trusted after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14
The Holy Spirit.
He who keeps Christians debating and unbelievers confused.
The Holy Ghost.
Debated. Loved. Feared.
We all may have our preconceived ideas on the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives, but when we open the Bible… we get a clear picture of His role. When we take all the scriptures that we find, they become a tapestry that weaves together and gives us a clearer picture of what our lives should look like.
Here are a couple nuggets:
Vs. 13: “…after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
This is something that happened AFTER they believed and put their faith in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit “sealed” the new believer.
This word literally meant to “set a seal upon” or “to mark a thing”. (See Strongs #4972) The Greek word is “sphragizo” and is linked to the idea of using a signet ring or other instrument to stamp in order to show ownership.
Interesting Fact: This sealing is said to have sometimes been done in antiquity by the use of religious tattoos.
So, we see that as believers we are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit. However, when we follow that into verse 14 we gain an even greater depth of understanding to what that really means:
“…(The Holy Spirit) which is the earnest of our inheritance…” Ephesians 1:14a
The word “earnest” here is “the downpayment” or “the money pledged until the full payment can be made”. In other words, Jesus tells us that He will be returning and that He is leaving something (or Someone) with us until His return. This understanding brings Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 14:15-18 into a clearer understanding.
He is our downpayment. Jesus is sure to return and He wanted us to be empowered by the Holy Spirit until His return. He tells us in John 14:18 that He won’t leave us as orphans. No matter how alone you may feel today, you are not. Jesus has given you the Holy Spirit.
So, how does this scripture affect our lives? What can we apply to our life today because of it?
1. As a Christian, you are NEVER alone. No matter how you feel, it is important to remind yourself that the Holy Spirit is there. Call on Him to help you in your times of questioning or loneliness or fear.
2. Look at the fruit of the spirit found in Galatians 5. This is the production of the Spirit’s work in our lives. Measure your life to this list and pray for this “fruit” to be evident in your life.
3. Jesus is coming soon. Revelation 22:7. Don’t forget it. The Holy Spirit is but a deposit for that which is to come.
Be encouraged today and strive to embrace the Holy Spirit and all that He has for you!
Until next time… love God and love others and live your life to the fullest!