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Commentary on Eph. 1:13,14 [earnest of the spirit]

"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, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (OGIB)

Synopsis: in Eph. 1:13,14 the apostle Paul speaks about God who predestined some for participation in the Body of Christ ("In whom"). To this end the Gospel is announced to them ("after that ye heard the word of truth"), through which they receive the possibility to repent and convert to God ("after that ye believed"). By doing so they receive the earnest of the spirit in the form of the love of truth - the will of learning, application and service of the Gospel ("Which is the earnest"). That's how we become the property of God - His servicemen because our lives now become subordinated to God's service. The earnest of the spirit is for "the redemption of the purchased possession" (the believers endowed with the earnest), for the worth of Christ's sacrifice in the form of his testimony to the truth is used to transform the personality of the believers to the image of Christ. The process of change is referred to in the Bible as sealing because thus the structure of the truth is transferred to character ("ye were sealed with that holy Spirit"). Believers who will undertake and faithfully fulfill their consecration hope to receive awards of co-kings and co-cooperates with Jesus Christ in immortal glory ("Spirit of promise ... unto the praise of his glory").

In the above summary, I proposed a general view of the sense of Eph. 1:13,14. Below, however, I would like to focus on the importance of individual elements:

"Unto the praise of his glory" - in the lecture I wrote that the process of reform (salvation) of man runs in two stages. A significant majority of people will experience it in the future kingdom of Christ. In the present Gospel Age judgement is reserved to the elect who were predestined for this purpose, as puts it. The elect who successfully perform their consecration in the present time will be kings and priests with Jesus Christ in the future kingdom, in the glory of the Divine Nature, and with him will raise the resurrected humanity to the state of justice (1 Cor. 9:24-27; Rom. 8:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:9,10). Individual elements mentioned in Eph. 1:13-14 describe this process of reform that God performs for the currently appointed.

"In whom [Christ] ye also" - a condition for the elect to achieve the goal of their calling in the royal glory is participation in Christ. The concept of Christ means the anointed one (with the spirit) and as such refers individually to the Lord Jesus, David's descendant, the prophet to the measure of Moses (Deut. 18:19; Jer. 23:5-8) or collectively to those who are annointed with the spirit on the pattern of Jesus Christ. Christ thus understood possesses the head in the person of our Lord and the body of believers (Rom. 12:4,5; 1 Cor. 12:12,13,27). Speaking at the beginning of the 13th verse that the Ephesians are in Christ, Paul refers to their membership in the body of Christ. However, since we read that in Christ they were already at the stage of listening to the Word of the Gospel before they believed, apparently Paul speaks about the Divine election and predestination. In the Christ's Body we are since we were chosen by God, and this choice according to the statement of the apostle Paul, took place "before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4; see Rom. 4:13-16, 9:6-16). Through the activities mentioned in Eph. 1:13-14, the elect are 'confirmed' in Christ, i.e. de facto included ().

Participation in the body of Christ means our transformation into the image of Jesus in every component of personality. In the lecture I gave the definition of the soul (personality) as consisting of two elements: spirit (mind) and body (character). Faith works in the mind, embracing symbolic reasoning (beliefs) and heart (will). However, the goal is to transform complete personality, also in the body element (character). The elect who through faith and the spirit are transforming their body into the image of Jesus Christ become in this sense participants of the Body of Christ. The apostle Paul confirms that the purpose of election is that we can achieve such a complete degree of identification with the character of the Lord. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10 OGIB; ; 2 Cor. 3:18).

"After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation" - it's not about listening in a literal sense, but about understanding and accepting the Gospel. In Rom. 11:8 the apostle Paul cites the prophet talking about Israel that "God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear" (OGIB). This does not mean that the whole nation was deaf and blind in a physical sense, but they were indeed quite insensitive to learning God. Therefore, our Lord says: "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" (Mt. 13:15 OGIB). It is not so with the followers of Christ whom 'ears hear' and 'eyes see' (Mt. 13:16). At this stage, we are talking not only about listening to the Gospel, but also the belief that this is God's teaching.

"In whom also after that ye believed" - faith, which is conviction about salvation in Christ, is from listening (Rom. 10:17). However, the adoption of the Gospel does not exhaust the purpose of calling, which is why in the following words Paul speaks of faith: "In whom also after that ye believed". Faith in English basically describes belief, meanwhile in Greek, it describes both belief and trust, i.e. conviction connected with action (Acts 16:30-34). The element of belief was shown by Paul in the fragment "after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation"; "In whom also after that ye believed" introduces the additional element in the form of action based on conviction.

The believing about which Eph. 1:13-14 speaks, is a synonym of repentance and conversion because only in this way can we 'activate' our conviction about Jesus Christ, which we acquired by listening to the Gospel. The apostle Peter apparently talks about it. When asked by the Jews who just believed in Jesus Christ (i.e. acquired conviction), what they have to do now, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38 OGIB). We learn at the same time what will such conversion bring about, namely the gift of the spirit. The same information appears in Eph. 1:13,14 - "in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (OGIB). We therefore have the Spirit of God, which is the seal of God He pressed on those He had chosen and predestined for this purpose. The seal, as we read in Eph. 1:14, is a promise of our inheritance (OGIB).

"Which is the earnest of our inheritance" - the Greek arrabon translated in the interlinear translation as 'earnest' means a deposit - payment of a part of the amount as a guarantee of completing transaction in the future. The Spirit is therefore the earnest of the heritage of the elect. The heritage, in turn, is justice (Is. 54:17). The spirit received by God's chosen people is a tool in the direction of obtaining it because it not only motivates to abandon sin and do good, but also it prompts the heart towards the truth. The truth which is an indispensable element of Christian maturity (Eph. 3:14-19; 4:13-15). That is why the Spirit is the earnest of justice: God does not 'pour' in a miraculous manner the knowledge of His truth into the minds of believers, but He gives us a tool in the form of the love of truth and motivation to look for it. Our Lord ensures that the gift of life comes not by knowing, but by getting to know, or by continuous work (Jn. 17:3). We will develop these traits of character that are valuable to God by constant contact with His Word. That is why the gift of the Spirit is for believers not only the beginning of the development in the truth, but also a promise that faithful performance of our consecration will bring the desired reward.

Above in the commentary, I wrote that complete personality includes the spirit (mind) and the body (character). We become the members of the Body of Christ when the image of the truth is reflected in the body. If this process runs fully, i.e. both in the sense of the transformation of personality, as well as the maturity of knowledge of the truth, then we will speak about . Then Christ is in us and we in him. However, the earnest does not refer to the body. According to Rom. 5:5, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us" (OGIB). The heart is in the Bible the symbol of will. The spirit poured into the hearts of believers 'forces' them to offer sacrifices for the truth on the model of Jesus Christ (). In our case, however, it is not only the work of evangelization, teaching and prophesy, but also participation in the intensive process of learning - the development of the mind in the image of the Lord. Because the concept of the earnest does not apply to complete personality, but only its aspect in the form of consciousness, the New Testament speaks in this case of the rather than birth. The earnest initiates the new mind - the .

"Until the redemption of the purchased possession" - the Greek peripoiēseōs is rightly translated in the interlinear translation as 'purchased possession'. Apolytrosis means redemption - payment of full value for release. In Jn. 8:33,34 Jesus says that anyone who sins is a slave to sin. The release of man from this captivity required the correct price to be paid - the price of testimony to the truth about the principles of divine justice (Jn. 1:17, 14:6, 18:37). Redemption will therefore mean application of this ransom price in real adjustment of the character to justice - so that we receive the heritage of the Lord's servants mentioned above. The spirit of love of the truth is the earnest because the necessary prerequisite for putting the Divine Principles into practice is their knowledge. For this reason, the spirit is "until [unto] the redemption" - because the love of truth is the necessary condition for the redemption price secured by Jesus to be used for man.

In what sense is God's "purchased possession" redeemed - in a broad sense everything that exists belongs to the Supreme Being: "The earth [is] the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Ps. 24:1 OHIB). The elect who show faith in the Gospel, however, become His property in a special sense. The earnest in the form of the spirit of truth makes them servants of God. The Gospel now becomes the goal of their lives; to get to know it, to preach it and teach it. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God" (2 Cor. 5:20 OGIB). "And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ" (Col. 3:23,24 OGIB). We carry out our service, but still in the present time as an imperfect tool, which is why Paul writes in Eph. 1:14 that the earnest is essential towards the redemption of God's possession - the redemption of us, believers in Christ.

"Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" - the concept of spirit as a seal has a close relationship with our participation in . At the beginning of the commentary, I described how we become participants of the Body of Christ: the concept of the body as such refers to character (patterns of behaviour recorded in our body). If these are patterns in accordance with the character of Christ, thus Christ is in us, and we are in him as members of his Body. The process that makes us members of Christ is called sealing in the Scripture. However, it is worth going back one step to recall the sense of the earnest of the Spirit as the love leading to consecration to the truth. The development of knowledge in the sphere of reason does not fulfill the aim of justification because justice must concern both the mind and the character. Therefore, it is necessary to 'transfer' the pattern of the truth held by the mind to the character - shaping it anew by conscious practicing of God's principles. Just like a seal imprints the pattern on plastic material, the seal of the Holy Spirit imprints the pattern of the truth on the character.


Keywords: Eph. 1:13-14, earnest of the spirit
 
Bible translations used in the commentary:
OGIB - Online Greek Interlinear Bible
OHIB - Online Hebrew Interlinear Bible


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