Great Gospel Texts: Ephesians 1:13

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” (Eph 1:13).[1]

“Signed, sealed and delivered.” These words were used in the past when, under common law, the sale of land was only considered complete and legally binding when the deed was signed, sealed and delivered. One’s title to land could only be considered “indefeasible” when the legal documents for the transfer of title were signed by all parties, sealed with a wax seal representing the responsible government authority, and delivered to the new owners. While now many land transactions are registered digitally within a government land registry, this three-word expression underscores the pivotal truths of this great gospel text and reminds us of the “indefeasible” salvation that God registers in heaven the moment a person believes the gospel.


Our text teaches us that once a person hears “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, God seals that person with His Holy Spirit. This once-for-all spiritual sealing signifies to all that a secure transaction has been made. We learn in chapter 2 that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith.” Hence, like cause and effect, as a consequence of hearing the truth these Ephesians believed, and through believing they were saved.

That this spiritual transaction has been signed, note that those who believe have had their names recorded in God’s registry – the Lamb’s book of life (Php 4:3; Rev 3:5). Despite our sinful condition, bankruptcy and unworthiness before God, our names are written and witnessed by God in indelible ink.


The English word sealed is derived from a Greek word that means to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation. To learn what God’s stamp upon us might mean, three OT examples of sealing illustrate for us that those whom God has saved are secure. In Esther 8:8, king Ahasuerus told Esther that “an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.” Sealing guaranteed that a proclamation would not be overturned. In Jeremiah 32:9-10, Jeremiah purchases Hanamel’s field, pays the price, signs the deed and seals it. Thus, a seal was put upon the evidence of the land transaction so no one could refute the purchase. In Daniel 6:17, King Darius sealed with his own signet the stone covering the den of lions that Daniel was cast into. In the placing of this seal, we read that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

God’s sealing ensures that the proclamation, purchase and purpose of our salvation are eternally indefeasible! God’s salvation is beyond the challenge of anyone, for it is God who justifies according to His own terms and conditions (Rom 3:26; 8:1,33-35).


While we are yet to experience salvation in eternal glory, we have eternal salvation here and now (Joh 3:36; 5:24). We have the title deed, for “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction [lit. ‘title deed’] of things not seen” (Heb 11:1). God has given us salvation on the basis of a finished work (Joh 19:30), not ours.

[1] Bible quotations in this article are from the ESV.