Ephesians Sentence by Sentence: 1:13-14

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Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς σωτηρίας ὑμῶν ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ ὅ ἐστιν ἀρραβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας ἡμῶν εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ. In whom also you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and in whom you believed being sealed by the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a deposit of our inheritance, for a ransoming of obtaining, for the praise of his glory.

Again, the dative prepositional phrase ties us back into the Beloved, ἠγαπημένῳ, back in v. 6. It could be argued, as already noted earlier on in the series, that this sentence is actually one long run-on sentence, starting at v. 3 and ending at v. 14. However, Nesle-Aland has it punctuated in such a way that it is probably intended to break it up for clarity’s sake. In terms of our translation it will be punctuated similarly, but it ought to be noted that it is linked with v. 6.

Linking back to ἠγαπημένῳ, Paul writes that it is in Christ (dative of sphere) that his recipients heard the word of truth and heard the message of their salvation. In addition, it was also in Christ (again, dative of sphere) that Paul’s recipients believed. Hearing and believing are contemporaneous to the main verb ἐσφραγίσθητε, thus indicating that all three happened at the same time.

The recipients were sealed. This sealing was done by the Holy Spirit. “Sealed,” ἐσφραγίσθητε, is the idea of being confirmed or authenticated. Christians are “sealed” by the Holy Spirit in the sense that the Holy Spirit authenticates their position as followers of Christ; in other words, the Holy Spirit validates their claim to discipleship of Christ. If one has the Holy Spirit, they are a true believer–they are sealed. Paul identifies what they were sealed for, which we will see by skipping ahead a clause and reading that the recipients were sealed for a ransoming of the obtaining, for the praise of his (meaning God’s) glory. The rough literal rendering of εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῆς περιποιήσεως doesn’t do the phrase justice. It identifies that the recipients were sealed for salvation by the Holy Spirit in Christ. Not only that, but the recipients were sealed for the purpose of the praise of God’s glory. God’s glory is revealed and praised in the fact that he has sealed the recipients through the Holy Spirit in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit—the one who sealed the recipients for redemption—is a deposit of our inheritance. The deposit is money that can be lost if the transaction is not completed. It could be thought that this is evidence for the losing of one’s salvation. However, we must bear in mind who is the purchaser involved. Is it us? Or is it God? Look at verse 7. Jesus Christ by his blood is the purchaser, and he has already made the purchase in full, so the deposit is not lost or forfeited. The Holy Spirit is our deposit for our inheritance. What is our inheritance? It is our salvation, which has been accomplished or purchased by Jesus Christ through his blood.

In whom also when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and in whom when you believed, you were sealed by the promised Holy Spirit, who is the deposit of our inheritance, for redemption of the possession of salvation, for the praise of his glory.

In Christ we are sealed for redemption at the same time that we hear and believe the Gospel. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit, who is our deposit for our salvation, and we have been sealed for salvation and for the glory of God. The Holy Spirit living within us is proof of our salvation, which is the glory of God. We do not offer up the deposit for our salvation, nor do we seal ourselves for salvation, for it is God who does all the salvific work when we hear and believe.


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