What happens when a person is sealed by the Holy Spirit?
When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is sealed immediately by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). But what does the Word of God mean when it says that Christians are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit? The purpose of this study is to answer that question.
Meaning of “Sealed”
Scripture teaches that when a person believes Jesus Christ died for our sins and was resurrected, and responds by repenting of their sins and yielding their self to God, they become a Christian and are sealed by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament states three times that Christians are sealed by the Holy Spirit. The first time is in 2 Corinthians 1:22. Here we are told that God the Father has sealed us and the Holy Spirit is in our hearts as a pledge.
. . . who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. 2 Corinthians 1:22 (NASB)
The pledge is a promise, but of what is it a promise? The answer is given in the next verse. The second time that sealing is mentioned is in Ephesians 1:13 where Christians are told that they are sealed by the Holy Spirit as a promise of our future inheritance — heaven!
In 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, who 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 1:13-14 (NASB)
Again we are told that the Holy Spirit is a pledge or a promise of a Christian’s future inheritance. It is important to know that the word for “pledge” in both 2 Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 1:13-14 comes from the same Greek word, arrabon, which means “earnest-money” or a “deposit.” That is, at the moment of saving faith, when the Holy Spirit is placed within a Christian, the Spirit is the “earnest-money” or “deposit” that promises future eternal life. “Earnest-money” is defined as a small portion of money that is given as a promise by the purchaser that he or she will pay all of the money required to purchase some property. When the Holy Spirit indwells a Christian, He is God’s earnest-money or pledge that the person will go to heaven.
The third passage that speaks of Christians being sealed by the Holy Spirit is Ephesians 4:30.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 (NASB)
The Greek word for “sealed” in both verses is sphragizo and it means “to set a seal upon.” The purpose of the seal was to demonstrate authenticity or ownership. It is clear from Ephesians 4:30 that the seal proved ownership and God’s promise of genuineness. Once again we learn that sealing is a promise that Christians will go to heaven. Here the “day of redemption” is referred to as the day a Christian dies and goes to be with the Lord.
Day of Redemption
There are several important New Testament passages that refer to our future day of redemption. Ephesians 1:7-8 is the first one and it reveals that our redemption occurs when our sins are forgiven. This occurs at the moment of saving faith.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. Ephesians 1:7-8 (NASB)
Redemption refers to being bought from our slavery to sin and bondage to the law (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). God owns a Christian when he or she is saved. The devil cannot possess a Christian. A Christian does not own him or her self and the Christian cannot frustrate God’s will by refusing to go to heaven. Once owned by God, a Christian is redeemed forever.
Not only does Scripture speak of redemption as a completed event, it also refers to the culmination of our redemption as an event that will occur in the future, since we will not enter heaven until we die.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (NASB)
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23 (NASB)
The first verse tells us that the Holy Spirit dwells within every Christian and Romans 8:23 reveals that sometime in the future we will die (i.e. we are first fruits of the Spirit) and be redeemed in the ultimate sense.
When we take all these passages together, we learn that when a person is sealed by the Holy Spirit it is God’s claim that He owns us. It is also a promise that every Christian has been redeemed and will enter into the final reality of their redemption which is heaven. Sealing is ownership and security or a promise that we have eternal life.
Suggested Links:What are the signs that a person is filled with the Holy Spirit?
God’s Will – Be Filled With The Spirit
Why is God able to forgive all of our sins? — The Work of Christ
Did the Holy Spirit come upon or fill the Old Testament saints?
The Holy Spirit – Discipleship Series
What is the meaning of the phrase “baptism by fire”?
How To Be Filled With The Spirit