Bermuda or St. Augustine?

There are eight common turf grasses in Texas: Common Bermuda, Hybrid Bermuda, St. Augustine, Centipede, Zoysia, Buffalo, Tall Fescue, and Rye (for over-seeding in the fall). The two most common turf grasses in Texas are common Bermuda and St. Augustine.

Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Howard Garrett summarized things saying, “Grasses should be selected on horticultural requirements. For example, large sunny areas that will have active use should be planted in common Bermuda grass or Buffalo grass. Shade, less used areas should be planted with St. Augustine. Buffalo grass should be chosen for areas that will not get much water. They Hybrid (Bermuda) Tiff grass should be used in areas that need a smooth highly refined surface. Rye grass and other winter grasses can be used to provide winter color and to eliminate early spring weed problems. Winter grass used for over-seeding can also help speed soil improvement (Garrett’s Plants for Texas, p. 4).

Narrowing the comparison down to common Bermuda and St. Augustine, here is how they compare: 1.) Best adaptive: Common Bermuda – almost all regions. St Augustine – where temperatures do not fall below 15 degrees. 2.) Shade tolerance: Common Bermuda – Low, must have 8 to 10 hours of sunlight per day. St. Augustine – Good, but grows best in full sun. Requires at least 4 hours direct sunlight daily to hold its own, more to cover bare areas. 3.) Traffic tolerance: Bermuda – High. St. Augustine – Fair. 4.) Drought tolerance: Bermuda – Survives drought well, but must have adequate water to maintain color. St. Augustine – Fair (Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening, Second Edition, pp. 184-185). Neil Sperry writes of Common Bermuda – “Most widely grown lawn grass in Texas. Aggressive, can be invasive in flower, shrub and ground cover beds… more likely to cause allergy problems (from molds) than most other turf grasses. Among our most tolerant grasses to a variety of weed-killers” (ibid). He writes of St. Augustine – “very popular in South Texas… Able to crowd out Bermuda and other turf grasses when given good care” (ibid). It is also able to crowd out most weeds because its runners are above ground and grow like a vine on the ground surface and its height and large leaves tend to shade out other grasses.

Which is better? Overall, Bermuda is probably the hardiest if the area is not too shaded. However, they each have their strength and weaknesses. Some of the best lawns are actually a blend. This allows the strengths of each to offset the weaknesses of the other.

While visiting relatives, I listened to two men discussing the qualities of these two grasses, and which was better. I immediately thought about a spiritual application. Many argue over which preacher or church member is the best. The truth is: we each have different talents. One may be better at one task, and another better at a different task. In the church we should all use our talents and blend them together for the common cause, and the glory of God. Consider: “We have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, let us use them: if prophesy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:4-8). “The body is not one member but many… and if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand ‘I have no need of you'; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:14, 19-21). “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ…” (1 Peter 4:10-11).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holy Spirit: Bears Witness

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).

These Romans, to whom Paul wrote, were children of God. Such had nothing to do with race, ethnicity, or nationality (cf. Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 3:11).

There were two witnesses to this. The Holy Spirit testified to this and so did their own spirit.

How did the Holy Spirit testify to their being the children of God? Did the Spirit give them a warm fuzzy feeling within their hearts? Did the Spirit whisper in their ears? I find no evidence of such confirmation in the New Testament. Moreover, I have never experienced such, and I have been baptized into Christ, and am therefore, a child of God” (Galatians 3:26-28).

God did bear witness to the message of salvation with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:1-4). Paul used both word and deed to convert the gentiles (Romans 15:18). The “deed” in context refers to mighty signs and wonders, which were done by the power of the Spirit of God (Romans 15:19 cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5).

The Holy Spirit is said to be a witness (Acts 5:32). The context is speaking of miraculous evidence which came from the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32 cf. 3:1-10; 4:8-10; 4:15-16; 4:33; 5:12; 5:15-16). The apostles were in court. They were setting forth the reason that they continue to preach in the name of Christ. They answered that they were doing so because it was God’s will (Acts 5:29). How did they know that it was God’s will? They answered that they witnessed the resurrection (Acts 5:30-32). Did they have anything to collaborate their testimony? Yes. The Holy Spirit also testified of the resurrection (Acts 5:30-32). Miracles have been worked in context and this was known by the court (Acts 4:15-16). Franklin Camp commented, “The miraculous manifestation of the Spirit, through the apostles were proof that they were obedient to God, for God would not give a miraculous manifestation to a false teacher” (Camp, The Work of The Holy Spirit in Redemption, p. 155). A non-miraculous indwelling of the Holy Spirit would have provided no additional evidence to the court.

“Abba, Father!” These words appear in the context of the text we are studying (Romans 8:15). These words also appear in Galatians (Galatians 4:6). Paul, in Galatians, defended his apostleship and the message he preached. He did so by appealing to miraculous evidence. Franklin Camp commented, “The statement in Galatians 4:6 is the answer to the questions that Paul had raised in Galatians 3:2. The statement in 4:6 is a further argument that develops from the previous chapter. Let us trace the argument backward instead of forward:

  1. The Galatians are son.
  2. The Judaizing teachers were denying that the Galatians were sons of God.
  3. Proof that they are sons of God: The Galatians had received miraculous gifts.
  4. From whom did the Galatians receive miraculous gifts? Answer: Paul (Galatians 3:5).
  5. Since the Galatians had received the Spirit from Paul, Paul was an apostle of Christ as he claimed in Galatians 1:1.
  6. Since Paul had proved his apostleship, the gospel he preached to the Galatians was a genuine gospel (Galatians 1:13).
  7. The Gospel of the Judaizing teachers was another gospel, which was not the gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6… the statements about the spirit in 3:2, 3:5, and 4:6 are in support of Paul apostleship and the gospel he preached, this showing that the Galatians were sons of God and heirs of the promise to Abraham (Galatians 3:26-29). The miraculous operation of the Spirit in an apostle, and the imparting of spiritual gifts, are the very foundation of establishing apostleship” (Camp, The work of the Holy Spirit in redemption, p. 145).

The Holy Spirit also revealed a message. Marion Fox commented, “The Holy Spirit testifies how one becomes a son of God… The human spirit then testifies that it has obeyed God” (Fox, The Work of the Holy Spirit, Vol. 1, page 118). Robert Taylor Jr. commented, “In the gospel the Spirit has revealed how to become a child of God and how to remain one. The human spirit… determines whether one has done that which made him initially God’s child and whether he is continuing to do that which allows him to remain God’s child in an approved fashion” (Taylor, Studies in Romans, p.141). This is true (cf. Romans 2:15; Acts 2:37; 2 Corinthians 13:5). Similarly, Roy Deaver commented “The Holy Spirit does not bear witness to our spirit, but with our spirit. Regarding our sonship we have two witnesses (double testimony): the Holy Spirit and our spirit both bear testimony that we are sons of God. The Holy Spirit tells us what we must do and be in order to be children of God. Thus those led by the Spirit of God have the testimony of the Spirit that they are children of God. Our spirits (the attitude of serving as God’s children) bears testimony that we are God’s children. Hence, we have double testimony regarding sonship” (Deaver, Romans, God’s Plan For Man’s Righteousness, p.276). [Note: the word “our” is plural and the word “spirit” is singular.  Thus, the word “spirit” is being used of the collective of disposition of sonship which existed among the brethren and which is mentioned in the previous verse. They were of one spirit.]

What about man today?  Man can still know that he is a child of God.  He has the word which was revealed and confirmed by the Spirit.  In this way, the Spirit still testifies.  Bill Lockwood has written, “Once the will of the Father was completed and all truth was revealed, the miraculous was withdrawn from the world.  Today, the miraculous continues to sustain the truthfulness of Christianity, but it comes to us only by means of the historical record, the word of God” (Lockwood, Mistakes Regarding the Holy Spirit, Hammer and Tongs, March-April 1996).  Moreover, the fact that these miracles are recorded builds confidence.  Bill Lockwood again has written, “We have great assurance that the teaching of the New Testament is truly inspired of God… to know that in practically every single epistle the penmen reminded the recipients of their miraculous abilities gives us double assurance that they actually were so endowed” (Lockwood, The Holy Spirit in 1 John, Hammer and Tongs, March – April 1999).  Remember that the New Testament record was not written in a vacuum.  The epistles are written to real places and real people lived there.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Self Acceptance

“A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself” (Axel Munthe).   Oh, how true this is.

The society in which we live seems to be filled with people both young and old, who are displeased with themselves.  They gaze into a mirror and the image reflected is not what they wish it to be.  They are too thick or too thin, too short or too tall, have gray hair or no hair at all.  Some immerse ourselves into fad diets and various exercise programs. Sometimes, even after, losing body fat, and gaining lean muscle mass and tone,  some are still unhappy with themselves. They do not look like the images presented in the magazines of how beautiful men and women look. Aren’t all men to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Blake Shelton, Christian Bale, or Brad Pitt? Aren’t all women to look like Christie Brinkley,Tyra Banks, Beyoncé, or Angelina Jolie?

How does one overcome these deep felt feelings of displeasure with self?

  1. Know that God loves you (John 3:16).
  2. Remember that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).
  3. Improve yourself, if you can. However, remember some things about a person cannot be changed (Matthew 6:27).
  4. Remember that the Bible teaches that different people have different abilities and characteristics (Matthew 25:14-30).
  5. Remember that God looks upon the heart and not the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).
  6. Remember you should not feel guilty about loving self (Matthew 22:39). It is impossible to truly love others as one should until one learn to love ourselves.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Effort Are You Making?

Unmarried couples nurture their relationship.  They are on their best behavior.  They are polite.  They listen with interest to each another.  He is a chivalrous gentleman.  She is a lady.  They spend quality time together.  They try to endear themselves one to another.

Married couples sometimes neglect these things.  The distractions and stresses of life come.  Some allow other responsibilities to crowd out relationship time.  Moreover, the guard is let down and flaws become evident in each, to each.

It takes work to keep any relationship strong.  This is especially true in marriage, when two people see each other day after day in all kinds of circumstances.  Good relationships take effort.  This is why the Bible instructs: “Rejoice with the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18);  “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25); “Admonish young women to love their husbands” (Titus 2:4); “Husbands… dwell with them with understanding” (1 Peter 3:7).

Consider the following Ethiopian folktale which is recorded in William J. Bennett’s book The Moral Compass…

The Lion’s Hair

In a village in the mountains of Ethiopia, a young man and a young woman fell in love and became husband and wife.  For a short while they were perfectly happy, but then trouble entered their house.  They began to find fault with each other over little things – he blamed her for spending too much at the market, or she criticized him for always being late.  It seemed not a day passed without some kind of quarrel about money or friends or household chores.  Sometimes they grew so angry they shouted at each other, and yelled bitter curses, and then went to bed without speaking, but that only made things worse.

After a few months, when she thought she could stand it no longer, the young wife went to a wise old judge and asked for a divorce.

“Why?” asked the old man.  “You’ve been married barely a year.  Don’t you love your husband?”

“Yes, we love each other.  But it’s just not working out.”

“What do you mean, not working out?”

“We fight a lot.  He does things that bother me.  He leaves his clothes lying around the house.  He drops his toenails on the floor.  He stays out too late.  When I want to do one thing, he wants to do another.  We just can’t live together.”

“I see,” said the old man.  “Perhaps I can help you.  I know of a magic medicine that will make the two of you get along much better.  If I give it to you, will you put aside these thoughts of divorce?”

“Yes!” cried the woman.  “Give it to me.”

“Wait,” replied the judge.  “To make the medicine, I must have a single hair from the tail of a fierce lion that lives down by the river.  You must bring it to me.”

“But how do I get such a hair?” the woman cried.  “The lion will surely kill me.”

“There I cannot help you,” the old man shook his head.  “I know much about making medicines, but I know little about lions.  You must discover a way yourself.  Can you do it?”

The young wife thought long and hard.  She loved her husband very much.  The magic medicine might save their marriage.  She resolved to get the hair, no matter what.

The very next morning she walked down to the river, hid behind some rocks, and waited.  After a while, he lion came by to drink.  When she saw his huge claws, she froze with fear.  When he bared his sharp fangs, she nearly fainted.  And when he gave his mighty roar, she turned and ran home.

But the next morning she came back, this time carrying a sack of fresh meat.  She set the food on the ground, two hundred yards from the lion and then hid behind the rocks while the lion ate.

The next day, she set the meat down one hundred yards away from the lion.  And on the following morning, she put the food only fifty yards away, and stood nearby while he gulped it down.

And so every day she drew closer and closer to the fierce, wild beast.  After a while she stood near enough to throw him the food, and finally came the day when she fed him right from her hand!  She trembled as she watched the great teeth ripping and tearing the meat.  But she loved her husband more than she feared he lion.  Closing her eyes, she reached out and pulled a single hair from the tail.

Then she ran as fast as she could to the wise old judge.

“Look!” she cried.  “I’ve brought a hair from the lion!”

The old man took the hair and looked at it closely.

“This is a brave thing you have done,” he said.  “It took a great deal of patience and resolve.”

“Yes,” said the woman.  “Now give me the medicine to make my marriage better!”

The old man shook his head.

“I have nothing else to give you.”

“But you promised!” the young wife cried.

“Don’t you see?” asked the old man gently.  “I have already given you all the medicine you need.  You were determined to do whatever it took, however long it took, to gain a magic remedy.  There is only your determination.  You say you and your husband love each other.  If you both give your marriage the same patience and resolve and courage you showed in getting this hair, you will be happy together for a long time.  Think about it.”

And so the woman went home with new resolutions.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holy Spirit: Anointed

The realtor says, “location, location, location!” The Bible student should say, “context, context, context!” Many give too little consideration to the miraculous setting, of the first century, when studying passages about the Holy Spirit. This certainly is the case in passages which speak of those anointed with the Spirit.


Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (cf. Isaiah 61:1-2).

Prophets (e.g. 1 Kings 19:16). Priests (e.g. Exodus 28:41; 30:30), and Kings (e.g. 1 Samuel 9:16; 16:1-2, 12-13; 2 Samuel 2:7; 1 Kings 1:34) were anointed with oil. This was a ceremonial act which set them apart for a work.

Jesus was anointed, not with oil, but with the Spirit. The Spirit came upon Him at His baptism (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:9-10; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33). It’s by the power of the Spirit that Jesus works miracles (see: Matthew 12:28; Acts 10:38). Jesus was inspired by the Spirit (see: Luke 4:18-19; Matthew 12:26-28; Acts 10:38; Acts 1:1-2).

Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing those who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Again, the context is miraculous. The word “power” is many times associated with the super-natural (e.g. Matthew 10:1; Luke 24:49 cf. Acts 1:8; Acts 2:4; Romans 15:19; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5).


2 Corinthians 1:21, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God.”

Watch the pronouns. “Us” refers to Paul and his co-workers (2 Corinthians 1:1, 6, 8, 19, 21). “You” refers to the saints at Corinth and Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1).

God established Paul and His co-workers to the Corinthians. The word “establishes” could be rendered “confirms.” The reference is to miraculous confirmation (cf. Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3).

This is the context of the word “anointed.” As we already seen the word can refer to a miraculous anointing (cf. Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38).

1 John

1 John 2:20, 27 – “But you have an anointed from the Holy One, and you know all things… the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you…”

The context concerns false teachers (1 John 2:18, 26). They would be able to deal with this because they had received an anointing (1 John 2:20, 27).

Remember that the early church had received miraculous gifts (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4). There were prophets. There were also those who had the gifts of discerning spirits (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:10). Bill Lockwood commented, “It is most likely the case that the inspired author directed his remarks in verse 27 specifically to those who had the gift of discerning spirits” (Lockwood, The Holy Spirit in 1 John, Hammer and Tongs, March – April 1999). Guy N. Woods commented, “We conclude, therefore, that the ‘anointing’ which these to whom John wrote had received a miraculous measure of the Spirit… this measure enabled them to recognize and refute the false teachers…” (Woods, Peter, John and Jude, p. 246).

Question: If they needed no one to teach them, why did John write unto them? John may be encouraging them to stand up and use their gifts. Having a gift is not the same as using a gift (cf. 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Corinthians 14:32). This certainly is not saying that Christians do not ever need to be taught (1 Corinthians 4:17; 14:19; 1 Timothy 6:1-2; Hebrews 5:12). The E.S.V. Study Bible provided another possible answer saying “by writing this letter, John is obviously teaching them. He means, rather, that they have no need for any instructions that diverges from the gospel message.”

1 John 3:24; 4:13-14 – “And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us… By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son as Savior of the world.”

Notice two things: (1) The word “know” is used in connection with the Spirit. We have seen this before with the anointing (1 John 2:20). (2) Those bearing witness of Jesus had been given the Spirit. The apostles were to receive the Spirit and bear witness (cf. John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:4, 32).

The context seems miraculous. Franklin Camp commented, “John insisted that the apostles know that God abided in them because of the miraculous manifestation given them by the Spirit… This statement is in defense of the apostles and the message they preached… 1 John 4:13 and 14 is the double testimony of the apostles and the Holy Spirit to the Sonship of Christ” (Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, p. 171). Marion Fox commented, “The Holy Spirit had endowed the apostles and New Testament prophets with gifts which gave them knowledge … that God was with them” (Fox, The Work of The Holy Spirit, Vol. 1, pp. 427-428). Bill Lockwood commented, “In the first century revelation did not come through an inspired book, but through inspired men. The assurances therefore came directly through the Spirit. Today, the same assurance of being a Christian comes through accepting what the Spirit said.” (Lockwood, The Holy Spirit in 1 John, Hammer and Tongs, March – April 1999).

Feelings are not our guide (Proverbs 16:2, 25). Let us be as the Bereans and search the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Appreciating His Work

“He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son who causes shame and reproach” (Proverbs 19:26).

“The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight him. Let your father and mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice” (Proverbs 23:24-25).

“Honor your father and your mother” (Deuteronomy 5:16 cf. Mark 7:10; 10:19; Ephesians 6:1-2).

“My son hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8 cf. 4:1-5; 6:20-23; 13:1; 15:5; 23:22).

It is easy to under-appreciate the advice and work of a father. Mark Twain famously said “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But, when I got to be 21, I was astonished how much the old man had learned in seven years.” Another has put it this way – “4 years: my dad can do anything. 7 years: My dad knows a lot, a whole lot. Age 8: My father doesn’t know everything. Age 12: Oh well, naturally father doesn’t know that, either. Age 14: Father? Hopelessly old-fashioned. Age 21: Oh, that man is out of date. What did you expect? Age 25: He knows a little bit about it, but not much. Age 30: Maybe we ought to find out what dad thinks. Age 35 A little patience. Let’s get dad’s assessment before we do anything. Age 50: I wonder what dad would have thought about that. He was pretty smart. Age 60: My dad knew absolutely everything. Age 65: I’d give anything if dad were here so I could talk this over with him. I really miss that man.”

Appreciate your father. Consider in view of Father’s Day, the following two poems:

Only A Dad                                                                                                                                            By Edgar Guest

Only dad with a tired face,                                                                                                        Coming home from the daily race,                                                                                        Bringing little of gold or fame                                                                                                            To show how well he has played the game;                                                                                   But glad in his heart that his own rejoice                                                                                        To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,                                                                                                      One of ten million men or more                                                                                             Plodding along in the daily strife,                                                                                               Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,                                                                                     With never a whimper of pain or hate,                                                                                            For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,                                                                                           Merely one of the surging crowd,                                                                                               Toiling, striving from day-to-day,                                                                                              Facing whatever may come his way,                                                                                          Silent whenever the harsh condemn,                                                                                            And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,                                                                                                          To smooth the way for his children small,                                                                                 Doing with courage stern and grim                                                                                                 The deeds that his father did for him.                                                                                           This is the life that for him I pen:                                                                                                 Only a dad, but the best of men.

Father                                                                                                                                                      By Edgar Guest

Used to wonder just why father                                                                                                  Never had much time to play,                                                                                                          Used to wonder why he’d rather                                                                                                         Work each minute of the day.                                                                                                        Used to wonder why he never                                                                                                          Loafed along the road an’ shirked;                                                                                                    Can’t recall a time whenever                                                                                                               Father played while others worked.

Father didn’t dress in fashion,                                                                                                         Sort of hated clothing new;                                                                                                             Style with him was not a passion;                                                                                                    He had other things in view.                                                                                                             Boys are blind to much that’s going                                                                                                 On about ‘em day by day,                                                                                                                      And I had no way of knowing                                                                                                        What became of father’s pay.

All I knew was when I needed                                                                                                       Shoes I got ‘em on the spot;                                                                                                        Everything for which I pleaded,                                                                                          Somehow, father always got.                                                                                                         Wondered, season after season,                                                                                                    Why he never took a rest,                                                                                                                And that I might be the reason                                                                                                      Then I never even guessed.

Father set a store on knowledge;                                                                                                        If he’d lived to have his way                                                                                                               He’d have sent me off to college                                                                                                     And the bills been glad to pay.                                                                                                       That, I know, was his ambition:                                                                                                     Now and then he used to say                                                                                                          He’d have done his earthly mission                                                                                                  On my graduation day.

Saw his cheeks were getting paler,                                                                                              Didn’t understand just why;                                                                                                                Saw his body growing frailer,                                                                                                             Then at last I saw him die.                                                                                                                 Rest had come! His tasks were ended                                                                                         Calm was written on his brow;                                                                                                Father’s life was big and splendid,                                                                                                 And I understand it now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Holy Spirit: Sealed/Guaranteed

The Bible speaks of those who were sealed with the Spirit, and who had been given the earnest (or guarantee) of the Spirit. How should these words be understood?


John 6:27, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because the Father has set His seal on Him.”

A seal can refer to a visible stamp or marking on a document. It authenticates or confirms a document to be genuine.

God set His seal on Jesus. The signs Jesus did authenticated that His message was from God (cf. John 3:2). Sadly, some cared more about the loaves and the fish, than what the message was (John 6:26).

2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who has also sealed us…”

Watch the pronouns. “Us” refers to Paul and his co-workers (2 Corinthians 1:1, 6, 8, 19, 21). “You” refers to the saints at Corinth and Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1).

God established Paul and his co-workers to the Corinthians. This word “establishes” could be rendered “confirms.” The reference is to miraculous confirmation (cf. Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:3).

God anointed Paul and his co-workers. The reference is to miraculous anointing (cf. Acts 10:38).

God sealed Paul and his co-workers. God authenticated their message, as being from God.

Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Watch the sequence. First, they heard. Second, they believed. Third, they were sealed with the Holy Spirit.

Acts mentions the conversion of some at Ephesus. The same sequence appears. First, they heard (Acts 19:4-5). Second, they believed enough to be baptized (Acts 19:5). Third, they received miraculous abilities (Acts 19:6).

Acts mentions the conversions of some at Samaria. Again, the same sequence appears. First, they heard (Acts 8:5, 12). Second, they believed and were baptized (Acts 8:12). Third, they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).

This same sequence is seen in the Great Commission. First the gospel was to be preached (Mark 16:15). Second, it is to be believed and baptism is to follow (Mark 16:16). Third, signs would follow (Mark 16:17).

Franklin Camp commented, “Christ was sealed by the Spirit to confirm Him as God’s Son and to certify Him as the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. The apostles were sealed by the Spirit to confirm and to certify them as ambassadors of Christ. The seal on the Ephesians was the manifestations of the Spirit that confirmed them as God’s people” (Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit, p. 175).

Ephesians 4:30, “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

The Holy Spirit is grieved when man lives sinfully (see: Seven Signs Against the Spirit).

Franklin Camp commented on their sealing. He said, “Read Ephesians 4:7-16. Here are ten verses, and all of these verses are dealing with miraculous gifts… suppose that verse 30 is read immediately following verse 16. Would anyone have a problem in seeing that the sealing was in connection with miraculous gifts? Ephesians 4:30 is in the same chapter and context that discusses miraculous gifts” (Camp, The Work of the Holy Spirit in Redemption, p. 177).

What about the words “for the day of redemption?” The word “for” (eis) tells us that the aim of the sealing is the day of redemption. It is akin to 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, which reads “so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


2 Corinthians 1:21-22, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has sealed us and given us the spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

Again, watch the pronoun. “Us” refers to Paul and his co-workers (2 Corinthians 1:1, 6, 8, 19, 21). “You” refers to the saints at Corinth and Achaia (2 Corinthians 1:1).

Paul and his co-workers had been anointed and sealed by God in order to establish (or confirm) to others (such as those at Corinth) that their message was from God. The words “anointed” and “sealed” are references to miraculous gifts. The giving of the Spirit as a guarantee should be understood in this context.

2 Corinthians 5:5-7, “Now… God… has given us the spirit as a Guarantee. So we are always confident knowing that while at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

The “us” and “we,” in context, refers to Paul and his co-workers (2 Corinthians 3:1; 4:1, 5, 13-15; 5:1, 13, 18-20). Though, there is an application to all Christians (cf. 2 Timothy 4:8).

God is gracious. (1) He has prepared for the faithful a glorious, eternal habitation (2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:2 cf. 5:5a). (2) He also provided the confidence in Paul, and others, of the things not seen. One of the ways that He did so was by giving the Spirit. Franklin Camp commented, “The word ‘sealed’ and the word ‘earnest’ are simply two different words expressing the same thought by two different figures of speech… The ‘seal’ of the Holy Spirit was the miraculous manifestations of the spirit that certified and guaranteed the integrity of the revelation given and obeyed. The ‘earnest’ of the spirit is the figurative term to indicate the inward enjoyment of the blessings of Christianity, because of the assurance given by miraculous manifestation. How could one enjoy the blessings of Christianity unless he was assured of the truthfulness of the gospel he had received?” (Camp, The Work of The Holy Spirit in Redemption, p.p. 181-182).

Ephesians 1:13-14, “…You were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee (earnest KJV) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Some have thought that the “earnest” (KJV) means down payment. However, such is not the meaning (Genesis 38:17, 18, 20 LXX). “Originally, earnest money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed… In general, usage, it came to denote a pledge, or earnest of any sort” (Vine’s). The word refers to a pledge or a guarantee.

They had a miraculous guarantee. Foy Wallace, Jr. commented, “The Ephesian Gentiles were among them that were afar off in the heathen world and that Holy Spirit of promise was to them the seal and assurance of their inheritance in the gospel of their salvation revealed to them through the Word of Truth” (Wallace, The Mission and Medium of the Holy Spirit, p. 80).

They had the guarantee of God’s word. There is a textual variant in Ephesians 1:14. Some manuscripts have a masculine pronoun, others have a neuter pronoun. If the pronoun is masculine, then the antecedent is not “Spirit” but “word.” Marion Fox renders Ephesians 1:13-14 this way – “by (or in) whom you also (were made a heritage v. 13 cf. v. 11), after having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, [by (or in) whom after having believed, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise,] which (word) is the earnest of our inheritance, unto the redemption of the possession, unto the praise of His glory” (Fox, The Work of the Holy Spirit, Vol. 1, p, 223). He believes that the guarantee to be God’s word on the matter (cf. John 10:35b; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:13-20).

This is an interesting theory. However, the term “guarantee” or “earnest” two other times is connected with the Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5). I see no necessary reason not to understand it the same way in this passage.

This guarantee was “until the redemption of the purchased possession.” The purchased possession refers to the church (Acts 20:28) or Christians (1 Corinthians 6:20; Titus 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:18-19). The redemption refers to eternal redemption (Romans 8:18-25 cf. Titus 1:2). The word “until” is eis. The N.A.S.B. renders it “with a view to the redemption.”

Today, we do have the assurance of His word (John 10:35b; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:13-20). We have the internal evidence of the written word (Hebrews 11:1 cf. Romans 10:17; John 20:30-31).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment