Salvation; April 29, 2019

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.

It’s certainly no surprise that Ephesians appears a great deal in the list of readings based on “in Christ.” If Romans might be called the foundation of Paul’s theology, then Ephesians might be called the pinnacle, and there is nothing higher or more glorious than being in Christ, the Son of God. These two verses express how we come to be in Christ: by receiving the Gospel in faith. That’s why we are to share the Gospel: so that as many people as possible may have the opportunity to be in Christ as well. Paul then expresses a major function of the Holy Spirit, one that we sometimes have a cultural barrier to understanding. In Western culture, seals are a rare and specialized thing. When my father went to the US consulate in Fukuoka to create a document giving me permission to get married, (since I was 20 and the age of majority for men was 21, 50 years ago) an embossing seal was affixed, along with some red ribbon. (That’s the origin of the term, red tape, which again, few people really understand today.) It looks very fancy and official, which it is. Japanese culture, on the other hand, still uses carved name stamps a great deal, even though there has been a rather rapid move away from them in the past few years. Paul says the Holy Spirit is such a stamp, a seal (minus the red tape) saying that we are official, and are not to be denied. That official status is as an heir of the Kingdom of God, and that is glorious indeed.

I have loved Ephesians for a long time, and practically every word of it is underlined in my Bible. I was introduced to the idea of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in 1973 and received it in 1974, and have been growing in my knowledge and appreciation of the work of the Holy Spirit ever since. That said, I still have a long way to go! As Paul says a little later in this same letter, what God has done and provided for us is beyond human knowledge. (Ephesians 3:17-19) It gives me great joy and peace to know that I am an heir of the Kingdom, even though I really grasp only a fraction of all that means. As an heir, then, I am to be active in telling others how they too can be-come heirs, because adding more in no way diminishes my share, since God is infinite.

Father, Your salvation really is almost too good to believe. I ask for Your anointing so that more and more people may indeed believe, for their eternal salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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