In this past Sunday’s sermon, we looked at chapter 7 of Daniel, a confusing chapter with a very simple point – The Son of Man (Jesus) is coming and will usher in his perfect kingdom, he will crush all other kingdoms, and his people will reign with him forever.
That’s something to look forward to.
Then this past week, while reading the book of Ephesians, I came across a verse I had read before but stood out to me in a different way, in light of Daniel 7. Here’s the verse:
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:14-14).
Paul is saying that we who have trusted in Jesus have received the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of the future inheritance we will get when Jesus comes back and sets up his kingdom.
In other words, the Holy Spirit in us is a down-payment of our future inheritance.
And I thought of two ways that we mis-believe this truth.
- One way we mis-believe this truth is to deny the power of the Holy Spirit NOW. Many Christians are just waiting for Jesus to come back and, until then, think that we are just defeated struggling sinners who will continue to struggle until Jesus comes back. We don’t really believe that the Holy Spirit can rescue us from our addiction, we don’t really believe he will give us the power to forgive a pain-in-the-butt family member, we don’t really believe that he has the power to transform our spouse, we don’t really believe he will answer our prayers for miracles and healing and insight and peace and joy. But the bible is very clear – the same Holy Spirit that was at work in Jesus’ ministry is available to us today.
- The other way we mis-believe this verse is to over-state the downpayment and thus diminish the coming inheritance. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us is awesome. But it’s going to get better. That’s what the guarantee means. If you’re selling your car, and a buyer gives you a down-payment, it’s great. But it’s not as great as when that buyer comes back with his mechanic friend, checks out your car, and then gives you the full payment.
Some Christians believe that if we just had more faith then everything in our lives can be made right. They claim that because of the Holy Spirit, we should all be walking in complete health, wealth and relational happiness. This is commonly known as the Prosperity Gospel. Believe in Jesus and you’ll have complete prosperity.
And that’s the point of Jesus coming back. That was the point of Daniel’s vision in chapter 7. One day, the people of God who have been sealed with the Holy Spirit will receive complete prosperity. This will most definitely happen.
Until then, however, as Jesus told us in John 16:33: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows….” It is to be expected. Toexpect differently is to diminish the awesomeness of Jesus’ return.
“But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
We have the Spirit of the Living God living in us, giving us a supernatural peace and joy in the midst of hardships……and we also have a future hope that cannot be taken away.
So asks yourself – are you more prone to deny the Spirit’s power NOW? Or are you more prone to diminish the inheritance that we will receive LATER?