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, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.
In verses 11 and 12 (see previous post), Paul was addressing the Jews alone. In verses 13 and 14 he addresses the Gentiles. Paul is not trying to draw any kind of line between the Jews and the Gentiles. On the contrary, he is reminding the Gentile Christians that they are fully incorporated into the Body of Christ with the Jews. In the previous two verses, he was reminding the Jews that though they were the first to believe it does not mean that they alone get to share in the inheritance of Christ. He is trying to show that there is no difference now. We are co-heirs, equal partners, and we have a full share in the inheritance. We (i.e., all those belonging to God's family) came into it the same way. We heard the word of truth -- the gospel of our salvation. Jew and Gentile, alike. The Jews of the Old Testament started with the promise of a Savior and salvation and it was their job to share that good news with the nations. They were privileged because they were chosen to take on this task. They still had to trust God for His grace and mercy just like we do now. And when Jesus came, they had to accept the word of truth the same as the Gentiles did. Now we're all privileged and chosen to take on the task of sharing the gospel.
At the moment we believe, God's word says we are sealed with the Holy Spirit -- marked so that it is clear that we belong to Him. Think of the word "seal" this way: *something affixed to a document to guarantee its genuineness; it indicates ownership and ensures protection; it represents a designation of office in the state of service. Once you believe, you have the promised Holy Spirit in whom all God's promises are fulfilled. Once you believe, you are a genuine member of the family of God, you hold a place of belonging and are under God's protection and are assured a place to serve in His kingdom. What's more, the Holy Spirit is not just a seal, but a deposit. Think of "deposit" this way: *the first installment in a major purchase; a token payment assuring the vendor that the full amount will eventually follow. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the first installment of our inheritance. At the end of the age, God's treasury, heaven itself will be opened up to all who are His in Christ. God's Holy Spirit is no small deposit. God gave us His Holy Spirit as a guarantee of His faithfulness to me and to you! Meanwhile, we wait. We wait for the rest of the payment and the Holy Spirit is our reminder that God is real and He fulfills His promises! THIS, my friends, is a GENEROUS GOD!!!
*Definition taken from Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary, pg. 754.