Yesterday I prayed and shared scripture with a lady who was seeking assurance of her salvation. This happened while I was ministering at the Lighting the Way table at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center in the Smoky Mountains. Today as I looked back on the scripture I shared with her in 1 John 5:13, God brought to my mind another scripture which would have been helpful to her. It is found in 2 Corinthians 1:21- 22. Here Paul is writing about the total ministry of the Holy Spirit today. My pastor, Hollie Miller, of the Sevier Heights Baptist Church in Knoxville, TN, has been preaching for several Sundays on the person of the Holy Spirit as He convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment; regenerates us; indwells us; and baptizes us. Also, I have been reading a book by Dr. J. Vernon McGee with messages from II Corinthians, and perhaps God directed me to it today to show me this scripture: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” The next time I witness at the Lighting the Way table, I will have this verse in my heart and use it as God gives me opportunity. The following analysis of these verses is taken from pages 22-24 of 2 Corinthians: Messages Given on the 5-Year Program of Thru The Bible Radio Network by Dr. J. Vernon McGee:
“Now He who establishes us with you into Christ, and has anointed us is God.” God who? God, the Holy Spirit, if you please. Sometimes, especially at funerals, we hear the song, “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.” Well, the word here is not safe in the arms of Jesus. When you are put into Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you are a part of His body. Rather than being safe in His arms, you are safe as an arm of Jesus Christ. You are safe as a member of His body. What a wonderful security that is! In speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit, Paul uses the present tense. This is what He is doing for you today, my friend.
“Now he who. . .has anointed us is God.” The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a neglected truth in our day. In 1 John 2:20 we are told, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” That anointing is the Holy Spirit. It takes the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth. “But the anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you do not need that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27) This ministry of the Holy Spirit is very important. He doesn’t give you a mail order degree, nor does this knowledge come in a gift wrapped box. You have the Holy Spirit to teach you, Christian friend, and He alone can open the Word of God to you. That is the reason this is a miracle Book. The Lord Jesus said to His own men, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. . .” (John 16:12-13. He wants to guide you into all truth.
“Who also has sealed us” —that is a marvelous ministry of the Spirit. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you are sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30) Is it possible to grieve Him away? No, He has sealed us, and He is going to deliver us someday. This is somewhat like taking a letter down to the post office. Occasionally, some of the mail is lost and never does get delivered. If we want to be very sure that a certain piece of mail arrives, we have that letter registered, and a seal is put on it. The postal service guarantees that they will get that letter to the person to whom it is addressed. Also, all legal documents bear a seal—“In witness thereof I set my seal” is the phraseology that has come down to us from old English. It is also a brand, a mark of ownership. In the early days of the West, when there were no fences, the cattlemen would brand their cattle. The brand was a mark of ownership. The Holy Spirit puts a brand on you to show that you belong to God. My friend, if you are a little sheep of His, you are not going to get lost. Oh, you may stray away, but He will come to find you. The Holy Spirit is pictured in Luke’s parable as the woman sweeping the floor, looking for the lost coin until she found it. (Luke 15:8)
“And given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (KJV) would be better translated: you are “given the earnest, which is the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” You know that “earnest money” indicates there will be more to follow. When you put down earnest money on a piece of property, it is a pledge that you are going to pay more money on that property. In such a way, God has given us the Holy Spirit which indicates there is more to follow. This is a wonderful thing.
When people buy on the installment plan, there is a possibility that the buyer may later defect, even though he has put a down payment on the merchandise. But there is no defection in this Buyer. He has purchased us with His blood. He has put down a purchase price, which guarantees that the saved soul will be delivered safely to the Father. It means that the saved soul is in escrow today.
God has put His Holy Spirit into every believer. He is the earnest. He has come into the life of the believer to bring the fullness of God to bear in our experiences. What is it that you need today? You know that He is rich in mercy—He is the Father of mercies. What do you need? Why don’t you go to Him and ask Him for it? Do you need power? Do you need joy? Do you need wisdom? Do you need help? These are comforts—He is the God of all comfort. Paul knew this; he had experienced it. Also, this writer knows it; he has experienced it.