The seal of the Holy Spirit is mentioned in several passages:
"... When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit." Eph 1:13
"...the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." Eph 4:30
"Now He who establishes us together with you in Christ, and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge." I Cor 2:21-22
This seal is the Greek term sphragízō, which means literally to seal or affix, such as with a signet ring or other stamping instrument, and figuratively to attest ownership and authorize/validate what is sealed.
Sealing is a legal term which can show a number of important things:
#1 - Ownership
#2 - A guarantee of security by the owner against outside tampering
#3 - A guarantee of the sealed promises or terms to be fulfilled in the future
#4 - A locking away of a document until later revelation/fulfillment (such as a will, to be read only after death, or a sealed prophecy)
#5 - Certified agreement
Context will generally supply which of these is meant. For example, in Jn 3:33, "Whoever has accepted it has set his seal to this, (certified) that God is truthful," only the last legal sense of certified agreement is meant.
When it comes to the seal of the Holy Spirit, however, other scripture shows that it is the first three legal concepts which are highlighted, with an implication of the fourth in Rom 8:19 and I Pet 1:4.
The seal of the Holy Spirit is a mark of God's ownership of us.
"...When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession..." Eph 1:13-14
"...having been set free from sin, you have become slaves to righteousness." Rom 6:18
"...you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" I Cor 3:16
"...you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Rom 8:15
Slaves, sheep, children, possession, own body, temple - these are all metaphors that scripture uses to show believers that they are owned by God.
Guarantee of security from tampering
Seals were often used to mark 'force of arms' or power and authority. In Dan 6:17, the king marks the stone over the lion's den with a seal, showing that his edict cannot be broken regarding Daniel. In Matt 27:65-66, Pilate orders that the stone over Jesus' tomb be sealed and a guard posted to show the might of Rome is behind the seal.
Here are some of the verses showing the force of God's protection, far greater than that of any Earthly ruler, that is shown by the seal of the Spirit:
"...you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him..." I Cor 3:16-17
"...If God is for us, who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom 8:31-39
Guarantee of promises/terms
"...into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, reserved in heaven for you, who through faith are protected by God’s power..." I Pet 1:4
"The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him." Rom 8:16-17
In summary, God seals believers to show we are His possession, to guarantee His protection, and to guarantee His promises.
View All Answers