God is in the protection racket!
Sign, sealed, delivered, I’m yours! (Ephesians 2:12-14)
I said earlier that my God the Father made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was offered salvation through the blood of Jesus and a joint heir as a son of the most high God. When I did many things happened to me. Among which was identification, ownership and above all, protection as part of the family of God. I didn’t know until later on into my Christian life, but God is in the protection racket.
With apologies to God the Father and the Mario Puzo, Jesus the Christ made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I mean how can one turn down an offer to get out of the squalid mess I was in as a human being, with nothing to offer God in exchange for my life. Then God sets me in alongside Him heavenly places (Eph 1:20; 2:6) , and gives me all of Christ’s riches. I didn’t know this growing up but, one of the most important benefits of being a righteous new creation, is that God identifies and protects what is His.( Eph 1:12-14) And, it’s been going on for centuries.
Identifying and protecting what is His started in the Garden of Eden and it is still going on today when a person gets saved. God does this through signs and sealings.
Most people do not understand that at salvation, you crossed into the dimension of the spirit world. Because we physically reside in the natural world, we can’t physically see the spiritual activity of angels or satan. We can see the results of that activity, but we really can’t physically see what takes place. Only through our saved spirit with the interaction of the Holy Spirit, our Helper, can we by faith see into that in the spirit world.
In that spirit world, we are marked and protected by a seal that comes from God the Father. Satan has to watch out! Ephesians 2:14
12to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13In 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,14who 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. (Ephesians 2:12-14 New American Standard)
12God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.13And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him. (Ephesians 2:12-14 New Living Translation)
12That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ:13In whom you also, after you had heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation;) in whom also believing, you were signed with the holy Spirit of promise,14Who is the pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of acquisition, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 12-14 Douay-Rheims Bible)
The word sealed in the NAS and identified in the NLT, the Douay Rheims calls it signed. All these describe your new life in Christ as part of His divine family.
The English word sealed is the Greek word “sphragizo” which has a root meaning of “to etch.” It is similar in character of meaning to a different word in Greek used to describe the mark of the beast in Revelation (chargma). Used here it has important several meanings to the Christian. It means to set a seal upon something, it means to attest to ownership, it means to authorize something and means to validate something. The common use is to place or afix a seal with a signet ring . Sealing in the ancient world served as a legal signature of guaranteeing the contents of what was sealed (Remember, the tomb of Christ was sealed). That’s straight out of Strong’s Concordance. For those who care about the sentence structure and syntax, it is a verb that is aorist, indicative passive. When something is passive, it plays no active role. It receives the action. That which is sealed has no active role in receiving or rejecting that action. Aorist tense means that it is a completed action with future results.
How long are these past completed action with future results good for? Ephesians 4:30 tells us that a Christian is sealed until the day of redemption by Jesus Christ.
Is this a shock to you? It shouldn’t be. Persons and property are identified and protected everyday. We have wedding rings, stickers, bar codes, laws and yes, even animals mark and protect what is theirs’. So why are you surprised to think that God wouldn’t take care of what is His?
If you remember in the blog about God’s Pecking order, I said that God The Father Provides, God The Son Procures it for us, and God the Holy Spirit applies it to our life. The Holy Spirit applies the covenant protection, ownership to us in the form of earnest money. (See also 2 Corinthians 5:5) Remember, the Doay-Rhiems Bible translates that the Holy Spirit is a signature. If you have ever bought a house, often times the buyer advances let’s say $1000.00 earnest money? That is a contractual agreement saying that the buyer is genuine about his desire to purchase this property and has the means to pass all the contractual escrow hoops and can afford the monthly payments. If they cannot, if they default or change their minds they loose their money. Black’s Law Dictionary (sixth ed.),has some interesting comments on earnest money. There is a Latin phrase about earnest money: Et cepit de praedicto Henrico tres denarios de Argento Dei prae manibus (“And he took it from the aforesaid Henry [sealed by a] silver three pence [piece] handed over [in the sight of] God”). Remember, too, silver is a sign of redemption under the Old Covenant. If God doesn’t redeem me, He forfeits the Holy Spirit. I have had preachers tell me that all that means is that the Holy Spirit is removed from me, but that doesn’t fit the circumstances. I am an inanimate object here according to the Greek text. I receive the seal and the Holy Spirit. Just as a house which is being bought can’t rescind the deal, I cannot. I’m just trying to keep it all in context here.
One of the major benefits of our sealing means protection. Satan cannot cross the blood line of Christ. God protects what is His, being the Good Shepherd He is. Let me give you an example.
One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15 NIV)
Now here were Jews using the name of Jesus. They were trying to peddle the gospel for profit. They were casting out devils in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches. But here, these devils did not obey. And they commented they were well acquainted with Jesus and Paul, but not these people. Why, they were using the name of Jesus? They were probably legitimate Jews after the flesh. But the demons recognized nothing different about these men. These men were obviously not saved Christians using the name of Jesus. How did the evil spirits know? What would make these men stand apart like Paul and Jesus? I would be willing to bet that these men were not Christians. If they were, the demons would have seen the seal (marked and signed) by the Holy Spirit of promise. The mark or seal would not visible in the natural world, but would be visible in the spirit world these demons reside in. The power and authority of Jesus was not recognized because these men were not marked by the Holy Spirit and because of that they authenticity as believers, power of the covenant and ownership of the what they were saying was in question.
Let me give you two more examples of God’s protection and your identification from the Old Covenant. Genesis 4:15 tells us that God put a mark on Cain so that vengeful people would know not kill him. Now this is the guy who committed the first murder in the Bible. How much more is God going to protect you, the righteous child of God? This word for mark is transliterated “oth.” This is the same word that God uses for us for other “signs,” or marks in the heavens such as in the creation process the lights in the heavens to be for signs (Genesis 1:14), or with the rainbow (Genesis 9:12) and circumcision (Genesis 17:11). We get our word “oath” from it.
Also, prior to the Babylonian captivity, there were sign placed on the children of Israel as a group (Ezekiel 9:4). This is another interesting word for mark which is also used in Job 21:35. This is one of those Hebrew words that is hard to transliterate and will be the subject of another blog entry one of these days. The word in Hebrew is TAV, TAW or TAVAH, but for our purposes the short definition is frowardness, or perverse thing. In other words, God’s people in sin is a blemish on God and themselves, but they themselves and their property not to be touched. Those who cried out to God were saved. TAW is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and in ancient form was that of a cross or an “X”. Yes, a cross! This was known in the early church fathers as the mark of the TAV. It is from this that the idea developed of using the “as a man’s signature. It meant “mark” and was easy for the unlearned to use. When I was a kid and played hide and seek, I used to hide and crossed my fingers so I would not be found. King’s “X!”
Jesus was marked and protected by God on a cross. The very last testament on this earth for the entire world to see was nailed on the cross along with my certificate of debt. He was marked as King of the Jews in three languages.
What does this mean for me today? I keep thinking of what Ephesians 1:5&6 in the KJV tells us about what God thinks of His people. He said that I, a sinner, at the moment of salvation was accepted in the Beloved to the praise of His glory! There so many people who hate themselves, have such low self-esteem, have no family or friends, who are very much insecure in this world especially if they are alone; that God has such good news for them that they are accepted unconditionally by Him in Christ. And then, He takes it a step further: He places His seal of protection and identification on those whom He loves and has accepted.
Have you accepted Him today the same way He has accepted you?