Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 1:13 - 1:14

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Charles Simeon Commentary - Ephesians 1:13 - 1:14

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Eph_1:13-14. 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 his glory.

THE blessings which we receive through Christ are innumerable. Many are mentioned in the preceding part of this chapter. One of the last and greatest blessings which we receive in this life, is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. This was vouchsafed to many of the saints at Ephesus.

We shall shew,

I.       What the sealing of the Spirit is—

The metaphor of sealing conveys no inadequate idea of the Spirit’s operations—

[A seal stamps its own image on the wax that is impressed by it; and marks the thing sealed to be the property of him that sealed it: and the Holy Spirit forms all the lineaments of the Divine image on the soul that is sealed by him; and shews that it belongs to God.]

But the text itself affords us the best explanation of this term—

[The future inheritance of the saints consists in a perfect conformity to God’s image, and a perfect enjoyment of his love. The sealing of the Spirit is an “earnest of that inheritance,” or, in other words, a part of that inheritance already vouchsafed to the soul, and a pledge that the remainder shall in due time be given to it. This gift of the Spirit is to be continued to the church till the final consummation of all things [Note: The Church is Christ’s “purchased possession,” Act_20:28 And its complete “redemption” from all the penal effects of sin will be at the day of judgment, Rom_8:23.]. The experience of individuals may vary with respect to it; but there shall always be some in the Church who possess and enjoy it.]

We are also informed respecting,

II.      The manner in which it is effected—

The agent is none other than the Holy Ghost—

[It is not in man’s power to sanctify his own soul: nor can any one assure himself that he is the Lord’s. To impart these blessings is the prerogative of God alone [Note: 2Co_1:21-22.].]

The subjects of this work are true believers—

[An unbeliever cannot possibly be sealed; because the Holy Spirit would never mark those as God’s property, who do not really belong to him: nor are persons usually sealed on their first believing in Christ. This higher state of sanctification and assurance is reserved for those, who, “after having believed,” have maintained a close walk with God. They must first be “in Christ,” and then for Christ’s sake this benefit shall be vouchsafed unto them.]

The means by which it is effected, are the promises—

[We do not presume to limit the Spirit’s operations; but his usual method of sealing is by applying the “promises” to the soul [Note: 1Co_2:4, 1Th_1:5.]. Of themselves, the promises can accomplish nothing; but, through his divine power, they have a comforting and transforming efficacy [Note: 2Pe_1:4.].]

The Apostle further specifies,

III.     Its proper tendency and operation—

The sealing of the Spirit will never elate a man with pride—

[It may seem indeed that such distinguishing mercies would puff us up; but their invariable effect is to humble those who receive them. All the saints of old abased themselves in proportion as they were favoured of God [Note: Job_42:5-6 and Isa_6:5.]. Nor can there be any stronger evidence that a work is not of God, than its producing a contrary effect upon us.]

It is intended solely to honour and glorify God—

Every work of grace should lead the mind to God as the author of it; and the more exalted the mercy, the more powerful should this effect be. Now this, above all, administers to us the greatest cause of thankfulness, and will certainly incline us to love and serve him from whom it has been derived.]


1.       To those who are ignorant of this sublime subject—

[To many, alas! the sealing of the Spirit is mere foolishness; but those who account it so, “speak evil of things that they understand not.” Let us seek to experience it ourselves, instead of censuring those who do.]

2.       To those who desire to be sealed—

[God is willing to bestow this blessing on all who seek it. If we possess it not, we should inquire what there is in us which has occasioned God to withhold it from us. We should beg of God to take away from us that hardness of heart which incapacitates us for it, and should live more on the promises, that by them it may be imparted to our souls.]

3.       To those who are sealed—

[What a mercy is it, that you, who might long since have been sealed for condemnation, have, according to the good pleasure of God, been sealed for heaven! He thankful to God for this unspeakable gift: be careful too that you grieve not him by whom you have been sealed [Note: Eph_4:30.]; but improve the promises yet further for your progressive advancement in true holiness [Note: 2Co_7:1.].]