I am definitely an OSAS kind of guy, but this post hit me in the chest. THIS is why I hope JohnW stays around for a LONG time. Thanks, John for this post.
For the sheep, the babes, not the wolves, who are too preoccupied with preying, to satisfy their appetite:
The seal and pledge of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our redemption in Christ by the LORD God. A symbol is something that represents something else. Two of the symbols of the Holy Spirit are as a seal, and as a pledge.
As a Seal:
" Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, MAY NO MAN REVERSE (emphasis mine)." Esther 8:8 KJV
"And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might NOT BE CHANGED(emphasis mine) concerning Daniel." Daniel 6:17 KJV
"So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth." 1 Kings 21:8 KJV
Most frequently, a seal was a signet ring with a design, or imprint on it peculiar to the owner and to authenticate official documents. Thus, a signet ring is a finger ring that bears an engraved seal(Genesis 41:42 KJV) For example, when the king's ring was pressed against the hot wax that sealed a document, the sealed scroll then bore an imprint that IDENTIFIED it with the king. This would be similar in our times to our signature on a check. No document was valid without it. It was used in the following ways:
-It indicated a FINISHED transaction": In Jeremiah 32:9-11 KJV, the prophet Jeremiah purchases the field Hanameel with money as the LORD God had instructed him to do. After the price was set, paid for, and the deed was signed, he sealed the deed. The seal was "evidence"(Jer. 32:10-14 KJV) that the purchase was official and complete-it was a FINISHED transaction(see also John 17:4 KJV and John 19:30 KJV).
This is what Paul is telling us in 2 Cor. 1:22 KJV-God the Father and His only begotten Son settled the matter of our salvation between themselves-we partake of the FINISHED work. The LORD God, at this point, gives us the Holy Spirit, showing us that salvation is a completed, finished transaction.
-It obtains security: Notice in Esther 8:8 KJV, "...May no man reverse....", and Daniel 6:17 KJV, "...not be changed....". While the king was in power and lived, no one could change what was sealed by his own ring. Seals were the universal means of safeguarding, "securing" letters, treasures, "guaranteeing" legal evidence. This carried the authority of the king . In Daniel 6:15-17 KJV, the strict etiquette of the Persian court obliged the king never to revoke an order once given-the lion's den was sealed. In Matthew 27:66 KJV, the Lord Jesus Christ's tomb was sealed so that His body would be undisturbed-"...and made the sepulchre SURE, SEALING(emphasis mine) the stone". The point here was to show that this was an official sealing that was intended to be so arranged that the seal could not be broken without detection. In the Revelation 7:2-4 KJV, one hundred and forty four thousand servants are sealed so they will be protected, secured from the impending judgment. In the Revelation 20:3 KJV, Satan is cast into the bottomless pit for 1000 years-his tenure here is made CERTAIN by the sealing of the pit. In all these cases, the seal is affixed in order to make sure, guarantee, someone or something is SECURE. Paul again uses this figure of the seal to the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13 KJV, "...ye WERE(emphasis mine-past tense) sealed with that Holy Spirit of PROMISE(emphasis mine-guarantee of security)", and again in Ephesians 4:30 KJV, "...ye are sealed UNTO(emphasis mine-notice this is secure until we receive our redeemed bodies!) the day of redemption." The same principle applies to the King of Kings. God has sealed believers, respective members members of the boc, into the boc, and now nothing can reverse that sealing. It is a secure seal-absolute security.
-It indicates ownership: Again in Jeremiah 32:11- 12 KJV, explains of evidence of a completed purchase being taken to Baruch. In verse 13, 14, 15 Jeremiah tells Baruch to take the evidences of the purchase and put then in an earthen vessel- Jeremiah has the right to do this because he has OWNERSHIP of the land. In Haggai 2:23 KJV, "In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the LORD, and will make thee as a signet: for I have CHOSE(emphasis mine) thee, saith the LORD of hosts." And hence, "For ye are bought with a price...."(1 Cor. 6:20 KJV)
It is used to identify something: In 2 Timothy 2:19 KJV, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, says "the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that ARE HIS(emphasis mine)." God has ownership of a believer. The Holy Spirit has sealed the purchase. Thus, just as the king's imprint IDENTIFIED it with the king, the sealing ministry of the Holy Spirit IDENTIFIES us as the bought property, by blood, of the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a Pledge:
In 2 Cor. 5:5 KJV,we are told that God has given us "...the earnest of the Spirit.", and in Ephesians 1:14 KJV we are told that the Holy Spirit "...is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession...." The word "earnest" means "pledge", that is, first installment, deposit, or "down payment". This is a price laid down in advance to secure legal claim to an article. The purchaser was under legal obligation to make further payments until the purchase was complete. Thus, the LORD God is telling us that the presence of the Holy Spirit as a pledge is a symbol of telling us 1. "I claim you-you are my property"-again, 1 Cor. 6:19-20 KJV builds on this theme, and 2. "I obligate myself-I guarantee to complete My work in every believer".
The Holy Spirit's presence guarantees our inheritance per Eph. 1:14 KJV. Our inheritance encompasses all that the Lord Jesus Christ(including His righteousness) is and all that the Lord Jesus Christ has- "And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ...."(Romans 8:17 KJV). This is fully guaranteed by God the Father, and the "warranty" is the Holy Spirit Himself.
Per Ephesians 1:13 KJV, the sealing of the Holy Spirit takes place as a result of a person believing the gospel of salvation. Notice in this verse is that upon believing the gospel we are "sealed" into our salvation. This sealing takes place by the Holy Spirit, which is the third member of the Godhead. The LORD God promises us that upon our belief in the gospel, He will seal us into the boc. The Holy Spirit takes us and "places", or IDENTIFIES us into one body- the boc. This is called the baptism BY the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 KJV states "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." Please notice here that we are not baptized into the Holy Spirit(as at Pentecost where the Lord Jesus Christ is the baptizer), but rather the Holy Spirit is baptizing us into the boc (1 Cor. 12:13 KJV, 1 Cor. 12:27 KJV). Ephesians 4:4 KJVsays, "There is one body" which is the Body of Christ, and which we are placed into, IDENTIFIED into, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:5 KJV states that there is "one baptism", and the baptism BY the Holy Spirit is this one baptism, which is our seal of salvation. Also notice that this is not a water baptism-it is a spiritual baptism(IDENTIFICATION) since it is performed by the Holy Spirit. The word "baptized" is often assumed to always be associated with water. However, we can conclude that this is not a water baptism- it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that seals our salvation. If we are to believe that the baptism referred to in I Corinthians 12:13 KJV is with water, then we must also believe that water baptism is necessary for salvation. However, we know that NO physical works are required for salvation by reading Ephesians 2:8 KJV, and 9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Thus, it is the baptism by the Holy Spirit that seals our salvation. We know this because it is through our baptism into the boc that we receive IDENTIFICATION with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Again, remember that they Holy Spirit baptizes us upon our belief in the gospel (Eph. 1:13 KJV). Romans 6:3 KJV says, "so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?" (This is our identification with Christ’s death). Romans 6:4 KJV says "Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death" (identification with Christ’s burial.). Verse 4 also says "that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even as we also should walk in newness of life." (Our identification with Christ’s resurrection). Verse five says "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God". As a result of us being identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection then, verse 22 says we are free from sin and we have "everlasting life". Verse 22 says "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Therefore, we can conclude that our sealing by the Holy Spirit, which is a final, secure transaction, places us into the body of Christ. As a result of the baptism (IDENTIFICATION) by the Holy Spirit we receive everlasting life. We can count on that as being hidden in Christ and we will never be removed.