“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit”
Just recently I had reason to go through some very old papers of mine because I had received in the mail, from my dear friend in Australia, a piece of nostalgia from my past and the envelope contained my wedding invitation to her which she received 58 years ago. She was my bridesmaid that day and she had tucked the invitation away for safe keeping and while sorting through one of her cupboards had come across it and on an impulse had popped it in the mail for me. I decided to place it in my special trove of treasures I keep (haven’t we all that special box or draw filled with all sorts of memorabilia?) As I sorted through these memories from my past, I started to read through some official documents; my teacher’s certificate, a legal document, a diploma I had earned and I noticed they all featured a seal attached to the bottom, signifying the document was authentic and was verified by the authority that had placed it there. Some of the seals were embossed deep into the paper so they could never be removed.
As I was contemplating these various seals I remembered how often in ancient times placing a king’s seal upon a verdict, an edict, a proclamation was the most binding of all procedures. We have many instances in Scripture where this is recorded, one is in the book of Esther.
“Now write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring- for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.” (Esther 8:8)
A piece of clay was often used and once applied the king would roll his personal signet ring over it sealing it for all time. Even when I was younger, documents were sealed by melting wax and imprinting the mark of the lawyer/ company etc. thus making the seal unable to be removed and the paper valid.
With a deeper understanding of a king’s seal, how much more are we awed and grateful for the beautiful message Paul has for us. We have been stamped, sealed by the mighty seal of the King of Kings. Nobody, nothing can ever cancel his ownership of us when we accept his beautiful offer of belonging to him
“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 1:21 – 22)
Sometimes life seems to be a constant challenge as we seek approval from all sorts of different avenues. Physical beauty seems to be the one the young amongst us feel is the most important one to strive for. We seek approval from others, always feeling we have to compare how well we are doing with them. We seek approval in the work place even within our own church family, and this constant searching for approval drains us of joy. This is when we have to remember we have the stamp of approval from the only one that really matters, Our Heavenly Father, and to remember his seal cannot be broken and Jesus tells us to stop running after those joyless pursuits, the one authentic seal of the Holy Spirit is all we need.
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” (John 6:27)