In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:13-14
Our word today is found in three Scripture references. Each is a reference to the Spirit of God being given to those that believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. [See also 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5]
The term translated here “a pledge” is ἀρραβὼν (arrabōn). It is translated “earnest” in the KJV and “deposit” in the NIV. It is a term likely borrowed from Phoenician traders to indicate an advance payment that guarantees full payment on delivery. There also seems to be a later association of this term with an engagement ring (though not the common use when Paul wrote this).
Today my wife and I celebrate what we call “Impatience Day”. Having received the blessing of Kitty’s father and having purchased the ring, I was waiting for Valentine’s Day to pop the question. In the words of my own father, the ring was “burning a hole in my pocket”. I just couldn’t wait another week. So after an evening of Bible teaching and music at a local prison for youthful offenders, I asked Kitty to be my life partner. The ring that I gave her that night she still wears today as a symbol of my pledge to be her husband.
The pledge that the Lord has given to the believer is not purely symbolic. It is the real, indwelling presence of the Living Spirit of God. This “pledge” points to the promise of “redemption”, yet another financial term. Paul writes, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us”. – Ephesians 1:7-8a The Spirit is given as the guarantee of not only the full payment of our salvation, but of a relationship to the Person of the Son of God.
We, the Bride of Christ, await the Coming of the Bridegroom to take us to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. We have His Spirit as the pledge of His promise. Even so come Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)