“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will …” Ephesians 1:3-5
The saints of the Most High God are “blessed … with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” We also read here that “He hath chosen,” not forced, us “that we should be holy and without blame before him.” Those who are “chosen” and choose to live unto the LORD are made “holy” by Him. If one is not being made holy, it is clear that he has no part with Christ (Jn. 13:8; 2 Tim. 2:19; Tit. 2:11-14; Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:8, 27). God’s choosing of us who have trusted in Christ does not automatically determine that the individual believer will answer His call to continue to trust Him. According to Revelation 17:14, Christ will soon return with those who are “called, and chosen, and faithful.” God unfailingly does His part and the individual must do his part in which he will always be granted the enabling grace of God to perform (Phil. 2:12-13). The human will must never be factored out of the picture or there will be misunderstanding. Jesus told us that “many” are “called” yet few “chosen” due to the fact that only a few choose to be “faithful” to the LORD (Matt. 7:13-14; 20:16). “Without faith it is impossible to please him” and those who “draw back unto perdition (destruction),” not choosing to “believe to the saving of the soul,” will lose out eternally (Heb. 10:26-39; 11:6).
“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: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 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 that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-14
One will find that the “sealed” teaching is prevalent among those who seek to justify the perversion of the grace of God using His very words. Their teaching on being “sealed” is quite the occasion to privately interpret, twist and misuse the Scriptures. Those who are “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” find much opportunity to exaggerate what the Bible states and does not state about being “sealed with that Holy Spirit.” Upon a closer, more thorough and sober look at the word “sealed” and in the context it is written, and of the whole of the Word of God, a quite different perspective should emerge.
Note here in Ephesians 1 that the Holy Spirit is speaking of those who have “obtained an inheritance, being pedestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” or word. His Word is His will and the fullness of His recorded Counsel reveals that the Almighty before destined (predestined) that all be saved and live according to His truth and holiness. Yet, He never forces any person to believe or obey Him. Is it not the “purpose” of God and the way that has been predestined and not the person? The LORD told us clearly that He wills all to be saved and come to repentance and that none (not one) should perish in hell (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). In light of this fact of Scripture, we know the LORD would not choose some to be saved and some to be lost. According to His own Word, He clearly has not predestined some to go to Heaven and some to hell. God so loved the “whole world” that He gave His only begotten Son to pay the full price for the sins of all of mankind – not just some (Jn. 3:16; 1 Jn. 2:2). Only those who appropriate His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ, by meeting the conditions He set forth, will spend eternity with Him and His family in Heaven (Isa. 1:19-20; Jn. 1:12; Col. 1:23; Heb. 3:12-15; 10:26-39; Rev. 2-3).
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men.” Titus 2:11
“Sealed” comes from the Greek word sphragizo which is defined this way: to stamp with a signet or private mark for security or preservation. (Lit. or fig.) by implication. To keep secret, to attest: – seal up, stop.
A seal can be broken. A sealed envelope can be opened. It is conditionally sealed. This Greek word, sphragizo, is the same word translated “sealing” concerning the tomb in which Christ was laid after He died on the cross for the sins of the world.
Christ’s tomb was sealed and we all know that the seal of Jesus’ tomb was broken, and He rose again. It was not a permanent bond that could not be broken just as the sealing work of the Spirit of God in the believer is not necessarily a permanent bond. The LORD wants it to be, yet will not force any saved person to continue to meet the conditions to be ultimately saved into His holy presence. Biblically speaking, sealing does not mean permanence without condition.
Did you know that the same exact Greek word for “sealed” is used for Jesus’ tomb that was “sealed” as is used in Ephesians for “sealed.” WE ALL know that Christ’s tomb – that seal – was not permanent but was broken!!!
Have you ever opened a “sealed” envelope? I do it nearly every day. That seal on an envelope can be broken and so can God’s seal. God is still “Holy, holy, holy” and if you live in sin, His blessed righteousness will be lifted and you will not meet the condition to enter into eternal glory (Isaiah 6:3; Ezekiel 33:12-13; Galatians 5:19-21; Hebrews 12:14-15; Revelation 4:8; 21:8, 27 etc.).
In fact, you’re not saved if you think that seal (on Christ’s tomb) wasn’t broken because He rose from the dead when that seal was broken. And, the resurrection is a foundational, essential doctrine of the Christians faith (1 Corinthians 15:17).
It’s obvious to see that reformed theology/calvinism has redefined what God intended in the word “sealed.” Those who are caught up in this deception are willingly deceived for buying this lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
As it is that the Father in Heaven alone could have broken the seal and raised Christ from the dead, so only God can break the seal He has formed. From His Word we learn that He will break the seal and loose the person who was once saved from His kingdom, if that person departs from the faith (Ezek. 33:12-13; Acts 1:25; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 2:5; 3:16).
The SAME Greek word for “sealed” the calvinist grabs and perverts from Ephesians is the very SAME Greek word from which we read that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Did that seal that was over Christ’s tomb remain OR was that stone rolled away and Jesus raised from the dead?
We know the answer to this question and so must conclude that a seal can be broken and is not irreversible!
“Seals left unattended can allow bacteria (sin) to enter in, losing their seal and turning from good to rotten fruit.” Clarissa Saum
From the whole of Scripture, we can conclude that it is the divine intention that the subject be sealed all the way until the day of redemption and yet no individual’s free will has been removed or diminished. If one begins to rebel, the seal is in jeopardy.
Every believer is “sealed” when they initially get saved yet this does not prevent that believer from sinning which grieves the Holy Spirit of God who is their seal and brings forth spiritual death (Ezek. 18:4, 30; 33:13; Rom. 6:23; 8:13; Eph. 1:13; 4:30; Rev. 21:8, 27).
The person who believes in “once saved always saved” will say “When one is saved he is sealed by the Holy Spirit and no power in Heaven or earth can break God’s seal!”
To this position, Jeff Paton decrees:
“There is no Scripture verse in Heaven or Earth that says that we cannot break God’s seal! Must they prey on the ignorance of their readers to get them to believe something the Scriptures never say in order to prove their point? Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Holy Spirit, the very One who is our Seal. A warning that serves no purpose if there is no danger! Maybe they should take off their theological glasses long enough so they can stop seeing things that are just not there!”
Author Paul Bortolazzo notes:
“The term ‘predestinate’ is found in two chapters; Romans 8:29-3 and Ephesians 1:5, 11. There is no reference in these four verses to either Heaven or Hell, but to Christlikeness. Nowhere are we told in Scripture God predestinates one man to be saved and another to be lost. Men will saved or lost eternally because of their belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
It should be remembered that the Greek definition, no matter the “scholar” rendering it, is never more authoritative than collating the Scriptures in English on any particular subject matter (Isa. 28:9-10; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16). This must be realized or there is the distinct vulnerability to deception by leaders who use Greek ad Hebrew to their own advantage.
Concerning this text (Ephesians 1:13-14), Donald Stamps, in the Life in the Spirit Study Bible, writes:
“‘Holy Spirit…the earnest.’ The Holy Spirit is an ‘earnest’, i.e., a first installment or down payment, guaranteeing our inheritance. In this age the Holy Spirit is given to believers as a down payment of what we are going to have in great fullness in the future. His presence and work in our lives is a pledge of our future inheritance (cf. Rom. 8:23; 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5).”
Let’s look at the last part of this text, verses 12 through 14.
“…who first trusted in Christ. 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 that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14
Here we observe that in this context, the writer of Ephesians speaks of those who “first trusted Christ” and this they chose to do after they “heard the word of truth.” Trusting Jesus and His full payment for our sins is volitional (left as a choice to each individual). Those who believe, trusting Christ, are then said to be “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” The whole context here is that these who are “sealed” are trusting in the LORD. The text says nothing of those who “depart from the LORD” which is a clear possibility according to the Word (Heb. 3:12-14). The Bible has much to say of this and how all who leave the LORD by not continuing to follow and obey Him to the end of their earthly lives, will perish. Those who depart from Christ after knowing Him will have a worse time in hell than if they had never believed and been saved in the first place (2 Pet. 2:20-22). In this text, the sealing is clearly connected to one’s trust or trusting in the LORD. Carefully notice that the word “trusted” appears ahead of (prior to in sequence) the word “sealed.” In the divine economy, trusting Christ fully precedes and is a prerequisite to the sealing of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures teach that a believer can stop believing, that sin can separate him from God, and that he can fall from grace (Isa. 59:2; Lk. 8:13; Gal. 5:4; 19-21; Heb. 12:14-15; Rev. 21:8, 21).
According to Ephesians, the presence of the Holy Spirit is the earnest, down payment or deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession. This however does not promise or automatically conclude that the one blessed to be chosen and redeemed will continue in the grace of the LORD and be ultimately saved. The individual’s ongoing choice to love and serve God are controlled by himself and no one else. God will not force the free will of men (Gen. 6:3; Deut. 30:19; Isa. 1:19-20; Gal. 6:7-9; Rev. 2-3).
Let’s look at an equally divinely inspired passage of Scripture – equal in divine authority as Ephesians 1. And we know that the divine Person of the Holy Spirit would never contradict Himself in His Word. This will also help to balance and account for the whole divine counsel that we might apprehend the mind of Christ in this matter. To see that departing from Christ after trusting Him is possible, let’s look at Hebrews 3:6, 12-15:
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, IF we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end…Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you (brethren) an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, IF we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:6, 12-15
Being “sealed” in no way exempts the one who has “first trusted in Christ” from obedient faith.He must “hold” his “confidence (in Jesus) stedfast unto the end” and not “depart from the living God.” The one who endures to the end must remain in the grace of God,notpossessing “an evil heart of unbelief,” and becoming a “castaway.” A “castaway” is a biblical word for one who is cast away from God after being with Him. The very apostle who wrote these words in Ephesians did not believe that he was indelibly sealed into salvation with no possibility of departing from the LORD (1 Cor. 9:27; Heb. 3:6, 12-15).
“Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10
No Scripture states that the child of God is locked into salvation. Paul says here in 2 Corinthians 1:10 that the great LORD has “delivered us…doth (presently) deliver us” and will “yet deliver us.” Those born again are presently saved, are being saved, and as we continue in His grace will be saved.This verse 10 must be taken in context with the text, including the words which precede this verse.Here this apostle of Christ is speaking of those whose lives are truly in Christ. The words of verse 9 are the following – “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:9) Those who are saved, must continue in grace and if they do they will ultimately be saved into eternity with the Alpha and Omega (Rev. 21:6-8; 22:13). According to God’s Word Christ must reign in the lives of those who will be His now and forever (also see Rom. 6; Gal. 5:24). In relationship with Christ and by His grace and our own free will, we must sentence to death the deeds of the body that the resurrection life of Jesus might dwell in our mortal bodies (Rom. 6; 2 Cor. 4:10-12).
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:24
In Ephesians 4:30 we are instructed to “grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” The whole verse says:
“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30
Grieving the Holy Spirit is obviously possible or such a warning would not appear in God’s Word. In no place does the Bible hint that the seal cannot be broken. The grace-corrupters assume such with no Scriptural authority.
The Bible truth that one can depart from Christ after believing makes it self-evident that God’s sealing does not mean that one who initially believes is automatically locked into or forced to remain a child of God and go to Heaven. This truth must supersede the conclusion drawn by those who insist upon a “once saved always saved” theology and therefore seek to make the sealing of the Holy Spirit a permanent thing without the consent of the individual.
There are those who vainly believe they are “sealed” in such a way as to exempt them from personal accountability or responsibility for their sins. This many times leads to gross irresponsibility. What the Word of God is communicating here in Ephesians 1 concerning sealing is that the Holy Spirit’s presence is in the one who has trusted and is trusting Christ. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer is the “earnest” or divinely-given down payment until final salvation has occurred when that person is in Heaven (Eph. 1:13-14). One must “believe to the saving of the soul” and be “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” to be an overcomer and receive the heavenly crown (Heb. 10:39; 1 Pet. 1:5; Rev. 2-3). There is no hint of an unconditional eternal security in this Ephesians 1 text where the Bible uses the word “sealed,” yet when dishonest men are bent upon convincing themselves and others of something, they will twist and spin Scripture until they accomplish this. While violating the text and intentionally excluding the whole Counsel of the Word of God, these men make up their own doctrine and are leading many astray. These who corrupt the grace of God for their own purposes, vainly imagine that they are “sealed” in a way the Bible never describes or validates. The “sealing” they speak of is a sham – a sin-justifying lie, placing their souls in danger and at ease in Zion – “Woe unto them.” (Amos 6:1)
The OSAS proponents are assuming something without proper biblical authority. They run with the sealing doctrine and yet cannot prove what they teach – Beware!
Be not deceived when men attempt to hold the Greek over you as if they have some superior position of understanding with the LORD. This is where they supposedly prove their error from the Greek. God gave us His Word in our own language as He promised (Ps. 12:6-7). Knowing the Greek and Hebrew is far inferior to knowing the full spectrum of Scriptures in our own language. Collating the Word in our own language – line upon line – is said to determine the divine verdict on any given subject (Isa. 28:9-10; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16). The LORD Himself clearly breathed His Word to us and had it transmitted to us in our own language from Genesis to Revelation. Numerous clearly revealed truths in the Bible overwhelmingly nullify the misuse of the “sealed” doctrine peddled among the deluded. In utter defiance of volumes of scriptural warnings, some convey by what they teach and do not teach that there should be no thought of eternal danger for the believer who strays into rebellion.
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