We come to the end of this explosive and exuberant praise from Paul who is sat in a Roman prison as he writes to the saints in Ephesus.
Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
He clearly is not thinking about the constraints of the prison but his mind has been on the Exodus and the redemption of the Jews which is now overshadowed by the story of Christ’s blood, the mystery of God, that we can now see will “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” v10.
The Promised Land, our inheritance, is not some far-away place where we leave the earth behind to rot or burn up. Rather it is ‘Heaven on Earth’ not created by some man-made utopian experience, but by His plan. God is bringing Heaven to Earth.
So why is this exciting? Apart from the fact that it is; you and I get to be in that united inheritance.
I am marked, branded, sealed by the Spirit. Why?
The Spirit is our guarantee.
During this virus many of us have had the experience of missing out on our holiday destinations or concerts, theatre bookings, parties etc. For those with deposits then we know the experience will still be there (unless we get the deposit back) for the deposit is our guarantee. The assurance that we make the inheritance is the presence of God within us, the Holy Spirit. He is speaking to us continually saying, “You’re going to make it, I will be there and I am in you, so you’re going to make it.”
The Spirit will take us there.
Just as the cloud led by day and the fire by night, the Spirit leads us through this wilderness into our inheritance, the wonderful new Heaven-Earth world. That leading involves the protection of our souls, revelation of our mind, the inspiration for our spirit, it is to make us more like Christ. “So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
The Spirit witnesses to us.
A deposit is an experience in itself. Clearly it is not the full experience that will come, but this gives a taste, a glimpse, the certain hope that we will soon experience everything. So is the Holy Spirit in our lives a taste of what is to come. That is because the Holy Spirit, the presence of God, is already there ahead of us, He is in the new world, but He has come to us to take us there. In doing so He continually speaks to us about what we should stand up for or withdraw from simply because it doesn’t belong to the culture of the new Heaven-Earth order. So we love our neighbour as ourselves, we are kind and considerate, we are not rude or self-seeking; we stand against injustice, racism and hatred of all kinds. Those involved in it won’t make it out of the wilderness.
The Holy Spirit guarantees us and takes us, witnessing to us of the new Heaven-Earth order. Which John saw in his Revelation, “He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever.” (21:4)
We will be there because the Spirit got us there through the powerful blood of Jesus.