There are a lot of ways we identify ourselves throughout life.
We identify ourselves by our families: for instance, I am a Simonds.
We identify ourselves by age or grade: I am 42, and I am not in school 🙂 But my children are in 2nd and 4th grade (and preschool!).
We identify ourselves in college by major: I was a music major (but then, at the conservatory I attended, so was everyone else!).
We identify ourselves by our jobs (isn’t this one of the first questions we ask when we meet new people?): I am the director of a non-profit ministry.
As I walked around my neighborhood praying this morning, the following Scripture came to mind, and I reflected on the power and weight of these words:
“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—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13b-14
There were a lot of different marks to identify people throughout time, some positive and some negative. We’ve all likely heard of the Scarlet letter. While fictional, history did include other “badges of shame,” as they were called. Jews were forced to wear a yellow star of David during the Nazi era. People of various ranks in the armed forces can be identified by the various insignias on their uniforms.
In times of the early church, a wax seal was commonly used as a mark of ownership or identification (IVP NT Commentary).
Having believed in Jesus Christ, we have been marked – the Holy Spirit has sealed us as a promise guaranteeing that we are His – now and for all time.
The New Living Translations puts it this way.
“And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.”
The God of the universe has identified you as His own! He has called you by name, and said “You are Mine.” He didn’t just leave you here on earth to figure things out on your own, but He gave you the Holy Spirit – not only as a guide and a comfort and a counselor, but also as a seal saying, “I’m coming back for you.”
Friends, I pray you are encouraged today by this truth. Whatever struggle you are facing, you belong to God! This is not the end of the story. You’ve been identified as God’s, now and for all time.