The Sealing of the Spirit

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 7
This important subject belongs altogether to the New Testament. In the Old Testament we see, as in Joel 2, the Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh in the time of Christ’s reign, and if you, dear reader, will take your concordance, you will be surprised to see in how many different ways the Holy Spirit is spoken of as coming upon and working with and in men. But in none of them did He come to dwell, but they were filled and used for occasions. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
Sealing began with the Lord Jesus Himself. “Him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:2727Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (John 6:27)). About the birth of Jesus, the angel said to Mary: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called Son of God.” (Luke 1:3535And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)). Here is one born of a woman, and yet sinless—the holy, spotless Lamb of God.
When He was about thirty years of age, when the godly in Israel were baptized of John in Jordan confessing their sins, He came also, but John said, “I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?” Jesus answered, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he suffered Him. He was there fulfilling righteousness, though not as a sinner confessing his sins. He could confess the sins of the nation, but He had none of His own. God declares it as He went up straightway out of the water: “Lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” He was justified of the Spirit.
There was nothing in. Him but what was pure and holy—fit for the work He came down to do. Then we find that all His works were in obedience to the Father’s will, and done in the power of this anointing of the Spirit (Acts 10:3838How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)). He had taken the place of dependence on God the Father, who thus strengthened Him by the Spirit as He walked in the path of obedience. In this, He is the pattern for us. Our God has promised to be a Father to all of His children who walk in the path of obedience (2 Cor. 6:17, 1817Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:17‑18)).
Here also we get the three persons of the Godhead plainly revealed. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The saints now are specially related to each of them. To the Father, we are children. To the Son, we are His body and His bride. To the Holy Spirit, we are His dwelling place.
When the Lord Jesus came into this world, He was presented as King of Israel, but in such a lowly guise that the Jews did not want Him, and though all His works and words were full of grace to sinners, and the abhorrence of evil, they rejected and despised Him, and at last gave Him up to be crucified. Why was this allowed of God? Because God had ordained that He should be the sacrifice for sin, the Lamb of God, foreknown before the foundation of the world.
At the cross we see what a creature man is as a sinner, in putting the only One who was perfect goodness, to such a death. There, too, we see the love of God that sent His Son to make atonement for sin; and God’s hatred to sin, and love to man, comes fully out. There the full judgment of sin fell upon Him. He was forsaken of God, bore the judgment, and finished the work given Him to do; bowed His head, and gave up His spirit. Out from His side flowed blood and water—the witness that He was dead. He was buried, and God raised Him from the dead. God has crowned Him with glory and honor at His own right hand, marking for us His perfect acceptance and delight in what His Son has accomplished. This marks a new epoch.
In John’s Gospel, we find the Lord unfolding to His disciples that He was going away to the Father, and telling them of His coming again to receive them to Himself, to be with Him in the Father’s house. Then in John, chapters 14, 15, 16, we find that another Comforter is promised to be with them, and in them. He had been with them, but this other Comforter would dwell with them forever.
In Acts 1:4-84And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:4‑8), He, when risen from the dead, tells them to wait at Jerusalem for the promise of the Father, which, saith He, ye have heard of Me. Then He is taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. That was forty days after His resurrection. The next ten days are spent in praying, and waiting on the Lord. When the fiftieth day was fully come, that is, Pentecost, then the Holy Spirit came down and filled them all. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples began to preach to those pious Jews out of all the nations, who had come to Jerusalem to the feast, and they heard in their own tongue the wonderful works of God. Some mocking, said, “These men are full of new wine.”
But Peter, to whom the Lord had committed the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:1919And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)), that is, authority to receive or reject those who might be received into the profession of Christ’s name on earth (not into heaven; heaven has no keys), Peter stands up and gives the address. First, he shows them that it was not drunkenness, but of the same kind of Joel’s prophecy (chap. 2). That prophecy will yet be fulfilled when Israel is restored, but it was of the same character. Verses 19, 20 plainly show it was not fulfilled. Then he convicts them of putting to death their Messiah, as Psalm 16 points Him out. God raised Him from the dead.
Verse 33 tells us that this was the promise of the Father fulfilled.
Verse 36 makes them feel their guilt, “God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
They were pricked to the heart, and said, “What shall we do?” Peter answers, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost,” and he calls on them to save themselves from this perverse generation. About three thousand were that day added to the company by baptism, and thus received the forgiveness of their sins, and the Holy Spirit to dwell in them.
Here we see that these pious Jews, Old Testament saints, are now brought into Christianity. They know the redemption that is theirs through the work of Christ, and are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is right to notice that none of the three thousand are said to speak with tongues; only those who were preaching did so, that all could hear and understand the gospel. Notice also that these are called devout or pious men, who repented and received the forgiveness of their sins, and the Holy Spirit.
Now they are not only born again by God’s Word and Spirit, but that blessed Spirit now has taken possession of them as His dwelling place.