Sealed by the Holy Spirit

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Ephesians 1:11-14
Ephesians 4:25-31

A seal in ancient times was a mark placed upon a letter or a parcel to show its authenticity. That we are sealed by the Holy Spirit shows we belong to God.

Paul picks this up and applies it in two ways. In 1:14 he speaks of the seal as the “guarantee,” the “down payment,” or “earnest” of what will one day happen to us. No one can see inside of us, but they can always see the mark of the Spirit in truly born-again people. We live transformed lives. Just as the internal witness of the Spirit gives us our own private assurance, so the mark, the seal, shows those who see us that we are different.

In 1:14 and in 4:30 Paul also speaks of that future day when we shall experience the “day of redemption,” “the possession of our inheritance.” When we arrive at that point in our journey of life we will be ready: we’ve already been sealed, marked, and identified by our partner on the journey, the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul counsels us not to grieve the Holy Spirit. All the ethical counsel about putting away “bitterness, wrath, clamor and slander, with all malice,” and the encouragement to be “kind, tender-hearted and forgiving” is based on the fact that we are sealed by the Holy Spirit.


“Thy Holy Spirit, Lord, alone can turn our hearts from sin.
His power alone can sanctify and keep us pure within.”
(Henrietta E. Blair, 19th Century)