SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION - Parts One and Two

02/02/2013 10:00

Sealed Unto The Day

of Redemption - Parts One and Two

By John Aldworth

Published February 1 2013

Eph. 4:30: And grieve not the Holy Spirit whereby ye are sealed unto the DAY OF REDEMPTION.

Bible students who “rightly divide the word of truth” know that although the Spirit of God performed various miraculous functions in Jesus’ time on earth and the subsequent Pentecostal Church Acts period He does not do so today. Signs and wonders, resurrections and tongues and instant public healings are among the operations that have ceased to be.

What He does do today is to continue His sealing ministry. This ministry was evident in the time of the gospels, when Jesus Himself was sealed by God (see John 6:27) and also in the Acts period, when believers were anointed, sealed and given the “earnest” of the Spirit” (2 Cor.1:22). Today in this the dispensation of grace and the Mystery Eph. 4:30 teaches that being sealed with the Holy Spirit plays a vital role in our redemption.

Sadly, its huge importance to the saved is overlooked in the rush by many seeking to exercise supposedly recaptured “spiritual gifts” and experience miracles from the Holy Spirit that He ceased to do nearly 2,000 years ago.

This study seeks to set out the great blessings that sealing and redemption provide in the believer’s life today and to also present the Bible’s sure promise of a final and full redemption yet to come. That features the redemption of our body and takes place in the Day of Redemption. In a later part of the study we will address the important question of just when that day will come.

Not to overstate it, what the later Pauline scriptures teach about the “sealing unto redemption” is a “must” if we are to experience all the protection and deliverance from evil that it provides.

Why then are so many believers ignorant of even the basic meaning of redemption? This rock bottom truth is that as bond servants to sin we have been bought off from Satan’s slave auction block at a great price. We have been “purchased with his blood” (Acts 20:28); our ransom has been paid for by the agony of our Lord’s dying on the cross.

Yes, we have been bought by Him at huge cost. Consequently we now belong to Him as "the purchased (that is, the ransomed or redeemed) possession”. It is true that through his death, burial and resurrection we have been made free from slavery to sin. However, it is only by knowing that we belong to Him, and not to ourselves, that we experience the deeper meaning and blessing of redemption.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,” says Psalm 107:2. And my prayer is that grace saved believers would indeed learn to give thanks for their full redemption. The scriptural fact, if we believe it, is that we are already redeemed and are therefore owned by the Lord, as the following scriptures attest:

Rom. 3:24: “Being justified freely through His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood…”

1 Cor. 30: “But of Him (God) are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”

Eph. 1:7: “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin.”

Col. 1:14: “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins”

Importantly, there is the redemption we have now, and then there is the final redemption of the body which is yet to come in the Day of Redemption. For now let us look at our present sealing and redemption and all that it means and should mean to us.Bear in mind that the basic meaning of redemption is the paying of a ransom. Thus in Jn. 8:31-36, Jesus urged Jews which had begun to believe on Him to become true disciples by “continuing in His word”.  “Ye shall know the truth, and  the truth shall make you free,” He said. And that upset them. “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man,” they protested. But Jesus explained:

Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth for ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, yet shall be free indeed.” (Vss. 34-35).

What did He mean? Firstly, that the Son makes a believer free through His truth, the words that He speaks. Secondly, that the Son redeems (buys back) a believer from slavery to sin. Thirdly, that such redemption makes a believer “free indeed” from both compulsion to sin and the penalty for doing so, which, of course, is death. As Rom. 6:23 says: “The wages of sin is death” and Ezek. 18:4 and 20 insist: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”.

It is the fourth point the Lord makes that many do not understand today. He says that the servant (or slave) of sin “abideth not in the house for ever”. What does He mean? Simply that just as an old or ill slave longer of use to his master would be kicked out of the house to beg or die, so the slave to sin will be evicted from his house, that is, his body, at death. More than that he will be kept out of God’s “house”, that is any chance of future existence with the Lord, for ever.

It is a common mistake today to believe that at death people are judged and immediately despatched to heaven or to hell. To the contrary Jesus told the Pharisees: “…unless you believe I am He you will die (or perish) in your sins”. And “die” means die, just as “perish”, used several times in Paul’s epistles, means to die or to be destroyed. There is no comeback from the grave for those who die wilfully rejecting the gospel of salvation.

Jesus straightly said that resurrection was the only hope of life beyond the grave and that only those “counted worth to obtain” the world to come (Luke 20:35) would be resurrected. Evidently, there was no room in his theology for a “second chance” for gospel rejecters. It was, and is, a case of be redeemed by the Son or be destroyed for ever. Consider the Lord’s words in John 10:9-10:

“I am the door: by Me if any man enter he shall be saved. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Satan the slave master not only enslaves; he also comes to steal to kill and to destroy. To be saved and to receive abundant life the sinner must be redeemed by the good shepherd who “giveth his life for the sheep” (vs. 11).

It is worth repeating that the very heart of redemption is the ransom, the price that is paid. The Greek word for ransom is lutron and for redemption it is apolutrosis which, as you see, has lutron at its centre. In the same way paying the ransom was the essential purpose of Jesus’ ministry. In Mark 10:45 He says: “The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life a ransom (lutron) for many.”

Thus far we have seen that in redemption we are “bought back” from slavery to sin and from the consequences of sin which include death without hope of resurrection. There is no doubt that by nature we are all carnal and “sold under sin” (Rom. 7:14). Only when purchased with His blood are we bought back and, when we are, the purpose of it is that we should belong to Him.

This is why ownership is so important. So let’s talk about sealing for a moment. Bottles of wine, jars of olives and other preserves are stamped and sealed with the name of their producer both to signify ownership and also to guarantee the contents are pure, uncontaminated and have not been interfered with.

That is why brand names are so important. Nobody would buy Twinings tea under any other name. Nobody would buy a Rolls Royce unless it carried the Rolls marque by name and, if an older model, unless the engine, gearbox and transmission were still under seal. This is because, as it was explained by the celebrated manufacturing company to a great uncle of mine, “Rolls Royce cars do not break down”, even when over 50 years old as his car was when its axle failed. Because the seals were intact Rolls Royce repaired the ageing roadster free of charge.

Now, like uncle’s Rolls, your seal and mine in Christ Jesus are intact. They are secure because is the Holy Spirit Himself who keeps them so. After all, who but God remove them? And he has promised that He won’t do so until the Day of Redemption (see Eph. 4:30). So, because they’re intact, God is preserving not only the contents but also the vessels that contain them.

You see, the seal of redemption carries the very stamp and guarantee of God Himself. He guarantees the contents of the vessel are pure and uncontaminated. What’s more his seal of ownership protects the purchased possession against all interference. Since we are “…sealed unto the Day of Redemption” we carry the imprint of his guarantee that we will arrive with our “contents”, that is the “new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him who created Him” (Col. 3:10) holy and wholly intact.

Think about that verse for a minute. Our new man has been specially created by the Creator. Through this new inner being, Who is the Christ who indwells us by faith, we are made members of His new creation. What’s more this “new man” has been created in the image of the Creator Who is Christ Jesus Himself; so that we are being changed to act like Him and to bear His image as well.

Not only that, the sealing marks us out as God’s possession and posts a clear “hands off” and “get out” warning to Satan. This effect of the sealing is found in Col. 1:12-14:

“Giving thanks unto the Father which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:

“In Whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.”

If you still think redemption is only being bought back from sin read the above verses again and carefully. They reveal the awesome power of redemption to radically change us. Not with the aim of remaking us as the persons what we could and should have been before Adam fell and sin came, but rather to transform us entirely into holy beings of light in a heavenly and spiritual “new creation”.

(To be continued).

Sealed Unto The Day of

Redemption - Part Two

By John Aldworth

Published February 11, 2013

Why do many believers seem to “fail of the grace of God” (Heb. 12:15)? They believe that they are saved, they go to church, thy try to live uprightly. Yet time and again they suffer defeat at the hands of life’s circumstances. And this when the promise of grace is that “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil.4:19).

Clearly this wonderful provision is not being realised by many brothers and sisters in Christ. They struggle with life. Many are unemployed, some permanently; others suffer ongoing ill health and there is a rising tide of tottering marriages. Worse, still such failures are often chronic, meaning that they persist without remedy. There is little recovery and no real putting right. Instead failures and losses become persistent and pernicious (deadly) to faith in Christ.

It’s a common story even among believers that after things “start to go wrong”, they keep going wrong. Despite struggles, prayers and seeking help from ministry few return to what they once enjoyed as the “normal” state of blessed well being. Blessing it would seem has stopped and there is no real hope of redemption. 

Even those who, thanks to 2 Timothy 2:15 have learned something of right division and have begun to experience the “grace of God in truth” are not immune from such “falling away”. However, the Apostle Paul could rejoice in truth and hope despite being in prison. By contrast joy is not a keynote for believers complaining of ongoing family difficulties, business problems, lack of finance, or persistent illness.

Once such people rejoiced in “present truth” and were pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14). Then came problems and trying to resolve them, rather than pressing on to learn further truth, became the priority. Serving the Lord took a back seat. Yet all such people can recall a time when things went well

They were rejoicing in grace and the Mystery God confirmed their faith by His Spirit and they enjoyed fellowship with like-minded believers. Grace was bringing peace, blessing and spiritual progress into their lives. Then came a decline. The process seems to go like this: Difficulties arise. A business venture falters; a job closes, there is death in the family; steady paid work dries up. In some cases family break up looms; prolonged illness or enervating physical conditions intrude. There is dissatisfaction with the things of God.  Fellowship suffers and matters worsen. Soon hope gives way to disappointment. Now, where faith in Christ once flourished a sense of helplessness and depression creeps in.

THE FULLNESS OF REDEMPTION

So what goes wrong? Without wishing to seem trite or to dismiss the reality of the difficulties faced, can I suggest the answer concerns an all too common failure by believers to recognise the fullness of their redemption. This is why in this second study in the series, Sealed Unto The Day of Redemption, further truth about this wonderful provision of God and how to more fully realise its blessings is presented.

At the outset we should recognise that we are slaves set free. We have been redeemed, that is bought back from sin, unbelief and spiritual death at great cost. Now we might think the last thing a newly freed slave would want to do is to be “entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:21). But that is not the case. The thrust of Paul’s letter to the Galatians is the vital need for the believer to avoid being re-entangled in bondage.

The truth is that after conversion each of us has fallen at one time or another from being totally saved “by grace through faith” to a more “works performance” position. That is instead of wholly trusting in our redemption through Christ’s blood we have sought to overcome sin, temptation and difficulties in life by our own efforts. This, despite being told that we have been quickened (that is made alive) while being “dead in trespasses and sins” and that we are “complete in Him who is the head of all principality and power”.

Such failing in faith, such falling from grace, produces in us the same results it produced in the Galatian believers: The “blessedness” departs (Gal. 4:15) along with love of the “truth as it is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21). No longer is there excitement at the revelation of further scriptural and dispensational truth. Far from following the Apostle Paul as he “follows after” Christ pressing upward for “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”, we find ourselves headed down the mountain. It is a descent every time we follow the “traditions and commandments of men”. Often we turn to such “the weak and beggarly elements” because the challenge of faith seems too great. We deem it too risky to trust God’s word and grace alone for fear things will go wrong. Instead we just trust ourselves and look to worldly solutions for our problems.

Soon we have doubts about Bible truths we know. “If it’s true, why hasn’t it worked for me?” we ask. And finding fault with others takes the place of standing “fast in one spirit, striving together for the faith of the gospel” as Paul urged the saints at Philippi to do. At this stage in the downward spiral Paul’s warning in Gal. 5:15 takes on urgency:

But if ye bite and devour one another, take care that ye be not consumed one of another”

So what is the root cause of such falling away? The answer, I believe is that Christians simply forget that they are redeemed. If we are redeemed it means that we have been “bought back”, not only from sin and death, but also from the world and from “every evil work” (2 Tim. 4:18). Redemption is not a one off experience; rather it should be an hourly, daily experience.

Redemption means that whatever befalls us as believers God will deliver us from it. We should realise that we are under attack from a three-fold enemy: the world, the flesh and the devil. The flesh is our “old man”, the fallen Adamic nature and “they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its lusts and affections” (Gal. 5:24). This is achieved by reckoning that our “old man”, that is, our Adamic sinful nature has been crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20, 6:14). As to the devil we are not to give place to him, which leaves us the world to deal with. Thankfully, this too has been taken care of through the cross. Gal. 1:4 teaches this important redemption truth:

“(our Lord Jesus Christ) Who gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from this present evil world”.

Redemption means deliverance from this present evil world. We are not bound by the things of this world as others are. As much as we should be free from its temptations and pitfalls we are also redeemed from its limitations, accidents, losses, diseases and disasters. Always in every circumstance there is redemption. You may lose your job; God will provide another or another source of income. Illness may come but it doesn’t need to stay. There may be loss of loved ones but God will redeem that situation for believers too

Redemption also means that though we may fall from grace, though we are attacked by evil for standing for the truth, though things go wrong God will restore us. God will also make good our loss. Just as surely as enough cash will redeem your jewellery from the pawn shop so God will restore what you have lost through the attacks of the enemy. And let me say that the Lord’s redemption pay back is far better than that of the pawnbroker’s.

Job is the prime scriptural example. At the end of all Job’s suffering God turned the captivity of that sorely tried man of God. The Lord then “…blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.”  You see, before trouble came, Job had seven sons and three daughters, seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred she asses and a very great household (Job 1:3). At his “latter end” he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels and a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand she asses. “He had also seven sons and three daughters” (Job 42:12-13). That is just as many children, twice as much stock.

In his restoration Job experienced redemption, new life from God. And so should you and I. When we were redeemed we were also quickened (that is, brought to life in Christ). Only one thing can stop you from receiving daily blessing, daily grace, daily deliverance and daily redemption: failing to believe that God will do just as He says. The truth, as many can attest, is that as we trust the Lord day by day He redeems us and our situation, even restoring the things lost by our own silly mistakes. And who doesn’t make some of those?

Redemption doesn’t mean that nothing will go wrong. But it does mean that our gracious Saviour rescues and redeems us when trouble does come. Provided, that is, that we continue to trust in His saving, redeeming power. True, our redemption was secured once-for-ever on the cross through the grave and in the Lord’s resurrection. However, as we trust in his grace and continuing power to save and “buy us back” from trouble we will daily we experience His redemption. The only requirement is that we simply believe his promises to do so, found particularly in Paul’s prison epistles.

All it takes is the right attitude of heart and mind. Time was when I would panic when unforeseen breakdown or other event brought a large, unexpected bill. Now if that happens I just rest in the confidence that my Redeemer will provide the funds needed to pay it. And He always does. After all He promised to do so in Phil. 4:19:

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

However, before claiming such a promise too glibly it pays to study the context. In doing so we note that the Philippians had been sending money time and again to meet the Apostle Paul’s necessity. They had stood with Him in standing for the truth of the gospel. Being poor they had sacrificed financially to help him.

More than that, they had maintained constant “fellowship in the gospel” with Paul (Phil. 1:5) since their conversion. For these reasons Paul could tell them he was confident that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. He further wrote (Phil. 1:7):

“Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye are all partakers of my grace.”

Have you made a stand for the truths of grace and the Mystery found in the prison epistles of Paul? The Philippians did and they refused to be ashamed of Paul and his chain. They were also “holding forth the word of life” (Phil.2:16). In fact the gospel of grace, holding onto it and holding it forth to others was the priority in their lives?

So may I ask, is it the priority in yours? Have you truly made Christ Jesus the Lord of life, always putting Him and His service first in your life? Are you making it your first business to study, fellowship around, and believe the word of “present truth” in the prison epistles and are thus growing in grace? Or are you just going through the motions?

2 Tim. 2:15 is a divine command to, “…study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Doing so is not an optional extra as many seem to think. Rather, it’s a necessity if you are to know the truth of the Lord’s redemption out working in your life on a daily basis. And so are the other services of love and faith outlined above.

So, when things go wrong and keep going wrong it’s time to rethink your direction. May I ask if that’s happening to you?  If it is, then rethink your stance. Once for sure you knew the blessing of God. But now there is neither joy nor peace. Besetting problems persist and nothing get puts right. Difficulties keep coming. At times you’re almost succeed in breaking free but then some other problem – lack of money, illness, being in the wrong place, the needs of others - holds you back just when you could go forward.

Hope is withering on the vine and thinly disguised despair is setting in. It’s high time to ask: What has really changed? Better still, ask: who really changed? It won’t be God because He doesn’t change. If He was your Redeemer back then He’s still your Redeemer now. So it must have been you that changed. Let’s see how.

Remember when you couldn’t get enough of Jesus? When you couldn’t wait to learn more dispensational truth? When studying Paul’s epistles with others was the highlight of your week? Remember how you prayed for and were given opportunities to tell others about the Mystery and the all-sufficient grace that is in Christ Jesus?

Now you no longer “follow after” as Paul advises us to do in Phil. 3:12. Consequently you are in danger of not “apprehending that for which I (you) are apprehended of Christ”. In the absence of pressing toward this goal the testimony of your present life in Christ can only be one of unresolved difficulties and a weak hope that things will get better.

That was the situation for Israel in the prophet Ezekiel’s time. They were on a downhill slide, enemies without and enemies within. Defeat and captivity loomed. Why? God gave the prophet the answer. It was: “Because thou hast not remembered the days of thy youth but hast fretted Me (God) in all things” (Ezek. 16:43). Let’s apply that. The “days of our youth” describes the time when God saved us and when we were “quickened”; that is, made alive with and in Christ.

At that time our redemption was truly miraculous. Just as the Lord redeemed Israel from Egypt “with a stretched out arm” (Ex. 6:6-7) so He redeemed you and I from sin and delivered us from Satan and the “bondage” of this “present evil world” (Gal. 1:4). There was real evidence in our lives to show for it. You and I were happy then to walk with Jesus. Through His grace our real life dramatically improved day by day and we delighted in learning more of His truth.

But when testing times came we forgot our redemption. Instead of trusting the Lord to see us through we turned to the world and its methods to fix our problems. We forgot that we belong to the Lord and that our problems are his problems too. Serving the Lord was put on hold as we grappled with our difficulties in our own strength. Soon the problem seemed bigger than the solution, even bigger than our faith in Christ.

But that is only what the father of lies was telling us. In stark contrast is the constant truth about us found in Eph. 1:6-7. It is that:

 

…He hath made us accepted in the Beloved (One) in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of His grace.”

 

And our acceptance, our redemption, our forgiveness as detailed here cannot be lost because God the Father has already irrevocably given them to us.

(To be continued).