Sealed Confidence: Ephesians 1:13-14
In our changing, unpredictable lives there are many questions. How do we know something is sure? I have concerned emails in my inbox, as I’m sure you do as well, with evidence of fear. I have various emails trying to walk future passengers through the question, “Is my flight canceled?” As a teacher I have emails about how to deal with the fear of a current virus. Where does fear come from? What is the antidote to this widespread epidemic of fear?
Often of our fears stem from wanting to be in control and feeling like we cannot trust others. We want positive guarantees. Many fear death because they don’t know what is next. If there were a God, they don’t know if they could trust Him. It’s easier to ignore the conscience. People aren’t sure their “good” is good enough so considering what could happen is scary. I’ve been there, too. I’ve felt like I’m not good enough to meet God.
Fear can be an excuse. There might be something dangerous out there so I better stay in here. Proverbs 26:13 states, “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’”
Fear can be misplaced. We can be so busily focused on the temporary, even fearing it, that we miss the eternal. “28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:28-30 ESV)
A fear of meeting God is very real for many. Fearing God is right. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10 ESV)
As a believer, I see now that my fear of meeting God was based on my works and not on God’s grace. Yes, I fear God and I also have confidence in Him.
“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Jesus is the reason I am not afraid of death. Yes, I have pushed God away. I have sinned against the Creator, my Creator, who knows every detail of my small life and the vast universe. My thoughts and actions earned me death (Romans 3:23). Yet, God in His love sent Jesus for me. He paid my penalty. He rose from the grave! Now I have new life. It comes from believing on Him (Romans 10:9-10).
For the believer, we know God has not given us the spirit of fear. What is the context of this famous statement found in II Timothy 1:7? II Timothy 1:6-14 (ESV):
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
What is the answer for fear? Jesus. He is the one mediator between God and man. It is Him we need, and Him we have received. Thanks be to God!
“4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.” (I Timothy 2:4-6)
It is beautiful the way truth silences fear.
Ephesians 1:13-14 speaks, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”
We are to have complete confidence in the work of God. Fear is cast out!
There’s a seal the believer has, the promised Holy Spirit. The inheritance we have obtained (Ephesians 1:11) is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit until we acquire possession of it (Ephesians 1:13-14). I am to fear God and fully trust Him. His ways are perfect. His promises are true. This assurance is a breath of fresh air. A commentator of Ephesians states, “The Spirit in believers’ lives is the undeniable mark of God’s work in and for them.” We don’t fear and live as the world does.
As believers we don’t have a spirit of fear because our confidence is outside of ourselves. We know what comes in the end, and Jesus is our confidence. He gave us the Holy Spirit as a seal (Ephesians 1:13). His saving grace is sure.
You have given us every spiritual blessing. Thank You for the way you take away my fears! Thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who seals us. Please keep me from fearing the temporary. Cause me to remember the eternal and spread your Good News! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Questions to Ponder
How have we been misplacing our fear and distracted from confidence?
What are ways we can show our confidence in the Lord to others?
How does the promised Holy Spirit bring you confidence?
As believers we have confidence in God’s grace. This song, Fear is a Liar, by Zack Williams is a reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQTnREEtuNk
Foulkes, F. (1989). Ephesians: an introduction and commentary(Vol. 10, p. 64). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.