A wonderful promise given to believers in Jesus Christ is the promise of being sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
In Ephesians 1:7-13 we read the following:
7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, YE WERE SEALED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF PROMISE.
Does being sealed with the Holy Spirit mean that after a person has a “one time believing experience,” eternal security is unequivocally promised, even if a person chooses to abandon his faith and live an egregiously sinful life?
Those who defend the OSAS viewpoint will sometimes take the phrase “sealed with the Holy Spirit “ and argue that the seal cannot be broken, even though the text itself does not make this argument.
The words in Ephesians 1:7-13 say absolutely nothing regarding eternal security as advocated by those who teach once saved always saved theology. How then should we interpret the meaning of being sealed with the Holy Spirit?
To begin, it would behoove us to read other scriptures which speak of being sealed with the Holy Spirit, especially any others that would appear in the same letter. Do we have any such verse? Yes we do.
Ephesians 4 warns us to “GRIEVE NOT the Holy Spirit whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30). The questions we must ask then are these: (1) What grieves the Holy Spirit? (2) What are the consequences of grieving the Holy Spirit?
Let’s begin with the question, “What grieves the Holy Spirit?”
Obviously forsaking Christ and living in sin would grieve Gods Spirit, and with this in view let’s consider the wider context of Ephesians 4:30 beginning with verse 17 through the end of the chapter:
17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, IN THE VANITY OF THEIR MIND,
18 Having THE UNDERSTANDING DARKENED, being ALIENATED from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto LASCIVIOUSNESS, TO WORK ALL UNCLEANNESS WITH GREEDINESS.
20 But YE HAVE NOT SO LEARNED CHRIST;
21 If so be that ye have HEARD HIM, and have been TAUGHT BY HIM, as THE TRUTH IS IN JESUS:
22 That ye PUT OFF concerning the former conversation THE OLD MAN, which is CORRUPT ACCORDING TO DECEITFUL LUSTS;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye PUT ON THE NEW MAN, which after God is CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS.
25 Wherefore PUTTING AWAY lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, whereby ye are SEALED unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
At this point it would be profitable to recognize that the conduct of the old man grieves the Holy Spirit with whom we are sealed. Therefore we are told to put off the old man and put on the new which “after God, is crearted in righteousness and true holiness.”
At the very least we can conclude at this point that Paul is not relaying the message that a person can live in a way that grieves the Holy Spirit with no worries regarding his salvation. There is absolutely nothing in Ephesians which communicates this belief.
Now let’s go on an consider what Paul says on the other side of the Ephesians 4:30 as we read into chapter 5. Keep in mind that the instruction to “GRIEVE NOT the Holy Spirit whereby you are SEALED unto the day of redemption” is within the context of what we just read and what we are about to read. Consider verse 1-17:
1 Be ye therefore FOLLWERS OF GOD, as dear children;
2 And WALK IN LOVE, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, LET IT NOT BE ONCE NAMED AMONG YOU, AS BECOMETH SAINTS;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that NO whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, HATH ANY INHERITANCE IN THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST AND OF GOD.
6 LET NO MAN DECIEVE YOU WITH VAIN WORDS: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 BE YE NOT PARTAKERS WITH THEM.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: WALK AS CHILDREN OF LIGHT:
9 (For THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 PROVING WHAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE LORD.
11 And have NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather REPROVE THEM.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.
14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
15 SEE THAT YE WALK CIRCUMSPECTLY, NOT AS FOOLS, BUT AS WISE,
16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore BE NOT UNWISE, BUT UNDERSTANDING WHAT THE WILL OF THE LORD IS.
If nothing else, the honest reader ought to be able to come to the conclusion that Paul is in NO WAY advocating that a person can live ungodly because the seal whereby they were sealed cannot be broken. There is absolutely nothing within the book of Ephesians which supports such a conclusion. The flow of thought is quite the opposite.
To read Part 2 of this teaching follow the link below: