Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We have pointed out that 1:3-14 can be divided into three sections: the well-speaking of the Father (vv. 3-6), the well-speaking of the Son (vv. 7-12), and the well-speaking of the Spirit (vv. 13-14). God the Father has purposed, God the Son has accomplished what the Father purposed, and God the Spirit is applying what the Son accomplished according to the Father’s purpose. Therefore, the Father purposed, the Son accomplished, and the Spirit applies. In these verses we have a purpose, an accomplishment, and an application. In this message we come to the application.
According to 1:13 and 14, the Spirit’s application is of two aspects: the seal and the pledge, or, as I like to say, the sealing and the pledging. The Spirit’s application is His sealing and His pledging. Actually, the Spirit Himself is both the seal and the pledge. Both the seal of the Spirit and the pledge of the Spirit involve movement within us. Therefore, the seal is actually the sealing, and the pledge, the pledging. Not only is the Spirit a seal upon us, but He is now sealing us. Not only is He a pledge guaranteeing our inheritance, but He is now pledging within us. In this message we shall consider the sealing of the Spirit, and in the next message, the pledging.
When I was young, I heard the Brethren teachers speak about the seal of the Holy Spirit. I also read about this matter. But I never heard about the sealing of the Spirit. The seal is one thing, and the sealing is another. To be sealed with the Holy Spirit means to be marked with the Holy Spirit as a living seal. We have been made God’s inheritance (v. 11). At the time we were saved, God put His Holy Spirit into us as a seal to mark us out, indicating that we belong to God. The Holy Spirit, who is God Himself entering into us, causes us to bear God’s image signified by the seal, thus making us like God. Suppose a brother puts a seal on his Bible. When he does so, his Bible bears the image of the seal. This seal indicates that the Bible belongs to him. Therefore, the seal signifies ownership. When we believed in the Lord Jesus, the Spirit of God sealed us. This signifies that God is our owner and that we belong to Him.
When I was young, I was told strongly that I belonged to God. I was also taught that no matter how much we grieved the Holy Spirit, He would never leave us. Those from the Arminian school of theology, however, disagree with this. Years ago a German mission in China published a booklet concerning the Spirit. One of the pictures in this booklet showed a dove, signifying the Holy Spirit, flying away from a believer who had grieved Him. The Brethren attacked this teaching, saying that after the Holy Spirit has come into us, He never leaves. Their teaching regarding the seal of the Holy Spirit was very strong. They said, “Once the seal has been put on you, it cannot be taken away, no matter what you do.” I agree with the teaching that the Spirit will never leave us. In this matter the Brethren were correct; however, they were too doctrinal.
Every seal has an image. If the seal is square, then the image is also square. The Spirit as the seal of God upon us bears the image of God. This implies that the seal of the Holy Spirit is the expression of God. When you bear the Holy Spirit as the seal of God upon you, you bear the image of God and the expression of God.
When I first read about this in a book by Brother Nee, I was very happy. Not only did I have the seal indicating that God was my owner, but along with this seal I had the image of God. That happiness, however, did not last very long. After a short while, I discovered that I did not actually have the image of God. Yes, the seal of the Spirit was upon me, but I did not have the image. The seal was one thing and I was another. I had the seal upon me, but I did not live a life of the seal.
Whenever we come to know a certain truth or doctrine apart from experience, we shall eventually be troubled by our lack of experience. The doctrine may be very good, but we may have very little experience of it. This causes us to be puzzled, for the Bible says one thing and our experience says another. What we are simply does not correspond with what the Bible says. The Bible says that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. This means that we bear the image, the expression, of God. However, according to our experience, it seems that we do not have the seal or the image. I do not want to be deceived. I am troubled whenever the Bible says one thing and my daily life says another. Later I found the secret in the matter of the seal in 1:13 and 14.
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