Signed, Sealed, And Delivered
Now it is God who establishes and confirms us [in joint fellowship] with you in Christ, and who has anointed us [empowering us with the gifts of the Spirit]; it is He who has also put His seal on us [that is, He has appropriated us and certified us as His] and has given us the [Holy] Spirit in our hearts as a pledge [like a security deposit to guarantee the fulfillment of His promise of eternal life].
2 Corinthians 1:21-22
A survey of church attendees shows that half of them don’t know if they’ll go to heaven when they die. They live in the ethereal world of hope and fear, wondering if they’ve done enough, if God is good enough, and if all they’ve heard about God is really true. People, though, don’t have to live with fear and doubt.
Look at the words Paul uses to describe the certainty of our relationship with Christ. He said that God “establishes” us in His grace and forgiveness like an unshakable building on a strong foundation. He explained that God “sealed” us. In the Roman world, this was a very significant analogy. The authority of Rome was unquestioned. When a Roman governor put his seal on something, it signified ownership and security. Nothing could break the Roman seal, and nothing, Paul infers, can break God’s seal of ownership and security in our lives.
Buts that not all. Paul finishes with a flourish by telling us that the Holy Spirit’s presence in our hearts is a guarantee that we’ll live with God for eternity. True believers sense His presence, if not continually, at least enough to be convinced that we belong to Him.
Can people be sure of their eternal destiny? According to Paul, the answer is a resounding yes!
You don’t have to worry about tomorrow because God is already there.
The Bible teaches us that we can be certain of our future in the world to come. But what we trust in for that certainty is of significant importance. The Jews in Jesus’ day placed their trust in the fact that they were the descendants of Abraham but Jesus told them that being natural born descendants of Abraham wasn’t enough. They had to live by faith even as their Father Abraham did. What Jesus was teaching is that every individual must choose whether they themselves will trust in God for salvation. For us we must conclude that just growing up in the church or having Christian parents isn’t sufficient for us to have the assurance of eternal life. Jesus when He was standing at the tomb of Lazarus makes this proclamation:
“Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in (adheres to, trusts in, relies on) Me [as Savior] will live even if he dies; 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me [as Savior] will never die. Do you believe this?”
So our certainty of our future lies within our choosing whether or not to believe in Christ as our Savior. Not just believing that He is the Savior but that He is our Savior.
The second thing that the Jews of Jesus’ day trusted in was their works. They taught that if you properly observed the feasts and sacrifices then you would be pleasing to God. Or if you kept to all the fine points of the law you would be qualified. In the story of the rich young ruler who had kept the law from a child successfully according to Jesus acknowledgment, we find that after all that, he still lacked one thing. We, too, may strive with all our might to live a righteous life but there will always be that one thing we lack. So our security doesn’t lie within our performance.
So then how do we find certainty and security in our future?
Paul says in Ephesians that our certainty lies within faith and not works.
“For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”
Second, we read that our salvation was purchased by Christ on the cross.
For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God. For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy, but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense], but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].
1 Corinthians 1:18,22-25
Third, we must ask if God has provided all this for us, what’s our part?
but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations]. If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude ourselves and the truth is not in us. [His word does not live in our hearts.] If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. If we say that we have not sinned [refusing to admit acts of sin], we make Him [out to be] a liar [by contradicting Him] and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:7-10
The security of our future then is trusting in the blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our sin. It is walking in fellowship with Him, listening to and learning His voice (My sheep know My voice). It is believing that God has truly forgiven us of our sins and has fully accepted us as His children. So we begin by admitting we have sinned and confessing those sins to Christ and asking His forgiveness. The promise of 1 John is that if we confess, He forgives and cleanses us. The security of our future is affirmed by the very presence of the Holy Spirit living in and working in us. We trust that He will convict us when we sin and that He will renew us when we confess and Paul says that the Holy Spirit is the escrow of the guarantee of eternal life.
So then, my friend, if you have confessed your sins and you have invited Christ to be your Savior and committed to serve Him as the Lord of your life; if the Holy Spirit isn’t convicting you of a sin that needs to be confessed, then by faith in the grace and mercy of God, you can know that you are a full-fledged child of God.
“Everyone who believes [with a deep, abiding trust in the fact] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) is born of God [that is, reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose], and everyone who loves the Father also loves the child born of Him. By this we know [without any doubt] that we love the children of God: [expressing that love] when we love God and obey His commandments. For the [true] love of God is this: that we habitually keep His commandments and remain focused on His precepts. And His commandments and His precepts are not difficult [to obey]. For everyone born of God is victorious and overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has conquered and overcome the world—our [continuing, persistent] faith [in Jesus the Son of God].”
1 John 5:1-4
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life. This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.
1 John 5:13-15
So why not settle this issue today? Come to God, confess your sins, receive His forgiveness and walk in the assurance that you know that you have eternal life. It’s that simple.
Dr. John Thompson