There are several meanings for ‘seal’ which is both a noun and a verb. A seal (noun) shows that, since being closed, a box or letter has not been opened en route to its intended recipient; a love letter, for instance, or special orders for a king’s general at the front lines of a war. A seal (noun) keeps something shut in a more tangible way by making it difficult to open. One will seal (verb) a door shut using cement or seal a letter inside an envelope by using a special sticker or, a century or more ago, by applying a drop of wax to the lip of the paper and marking it with a symbol from a stamp or ring.
Signify with a Seal
D. Miall Edwards at Bible Hub* writes of the importance afforded to seals throughout biblical history. In fact, their importance was ‘so great that without one no document is regarded as authentic’. No letter, proclamation, command sent by emperor, governor, priest, or pharaoh meant anything without that leader’s official seal of authentication. The same rule applies to Christians: without being sealed in Christ for eternal life with the Father, He won’t recognize us as children whose place is in heaven with him. Without being sealed, Satan has access to the delicate matter of our heart and soul.
Being sealed in the spirit is nothing like sealing a letter. A king would affix a letter with a ball of wax and stamp a ring in the wax to show who it was from. The person who received it could then be sure it had not been opened, secrecy was maintained, the chain of command and protection was solid. Imagine a dollop of hot wax landing on our forehead, then being punched in the face with a gold ring, leaving a mark on the wax and probably on your head too. I’ve been punched in the face without the hot wax and it hurt, even when the fist in question didn’t belong to the Creator of the universe.
Being sealed in Jesus is not like shutting out tomb raiders from an Egyptian sarcophagus either. Imagine the glue or cement that would be involved – yeck. I’m so glad God chose a different way to secure us for Himself.
Authenticated with Water
We don’t need to go through baptism to be saved; however, the symbol of this ceremony is clear to onlookers. They recognize that we identify as children of God.
Water is kinder than hot wax or cement too, though potentially uncomfortable depending on water temperature. Do you know anyone who was immersed in any lake anywhere in Canada? The water is recently melted snow, readers, so don’t picture the warm waters of some Middle Eastern river. I know – at least we have water, but still; spare a thought for Canuck Christians.
Okay – I was actually baptized in a tank at our church. Our pastor assures us that our custodian lovingly cleans, fills, then stirs the water with an oar just to make sure there are no cold spots. I was still trembling head-to-toe from nerves, but our custodian’s efforts were much appreciated, especially since she is so tiny the oar is probably bigger and heavier than she is. Thanks Carol.
Protection for a Time
We really feel the touch of their Saviour. Our old sins and old selves are cleansed from us; we become new creations sealed against Satan. God accepts us into a family, the best family, and our lives are changed for the better. These are exciting truths, but security in Christ also comes with a purpose. While we are always children in God’s eyes, one who truly loves Christ will grow in faith and spiritual maturity:
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (1Cor 13:11, ESV)
My mom said you will always be my baby; I cringed. Even when my daughters learn to drive, go to University, and get married they will be my little girls and this makes them cringe too. I can’t forget the many hours spent changing diapers, teaching them to read, trying (and often failing) to model Christ’s love. Eventually, they should also model His love if they accept salvation. Training wheels come off of the bikes. They discard the ‘L’ plates from their cars. Our children have to accept responsibility for their own relationship with Jesus where my seal isn’t good enough for their salvation anymore.
Protection for a Purpose
God expects us to pursue ‘grown-up’ faith; to increase our understanding of Him, not to wait around for our parents to spoon-feed us soft Christianity. He also expects parents to entrust their children to Him. The more we learn about our Saviour, the more we should want to know and mature and also trust to his protection. From my perspective, knowing Christ’s character (revealed in scripture and through personal experience) makes me long for Him, but knowing I am sealed in Him gives me more courage to take risks and grow. I know I am protected and understand the significance of that security in ways I was ignorant of as a ‘baby’ Christian.
My babies are becoming young women of the faith, and they don’t have to follow my imperfect lead anymore. They need to stop watching me and keep their eyes on the road; after all, following their mother’s example won’t stop my girls from getting a ticket if they go over the speed limit. *https://biblehub.com/topical/s/seal.htm