“Earnest money” is a deposit made to a seller indicating the buyer’s good faith in an arrangement. Often used in real estate transactions, earnest money allows the buyer additional time when seeking financing. Earnest money is typically held jointly by the seller and buyer in a trust or escrow account.
Have you ever thought of God’s “interest” in you as a Christian as a payment of “earnest money?”
The famous New Testament expositor Matthew Henry thinks of the Holy Spirit entering a Christian’s life as just that. The gift of the Holy Ghost with all its influences and operations is a partial payment that secures the full sum which is our effort to live a life of perfect holiness. Henry says “this earnest [money] makes it as sure to the heirs as though they were already possessed of it; and it is purchased for them by the blood of Christ. The redemption of it is mentioned because it was mortgaged and forfeited by sin; and Christ restores it to us, and so is said to redeem it, in allusion to the law of redemption” [italics mine].
As I have commented on in previous posts, Pastor Billy Graham* thinks of the presence of the Holy Spirit as a seal. The Holy Spirit “seals the deal” so to speak, as we give our lives to Christ. The Holy Spirit is a “pledge”; as God pledges to live in us, guide us and direct us, but the Holy Spirit can also be seen as a long –term commitment by God to save our souls from our fleshly weakness and our bent toward sinning.
First of all, the Bible teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the witness to the “finality and sufficiency of Jesus Christ’s atonement for us” [Graham, 88]. Graham points to the ineffectiveness of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament. Man’s sin burden could never be relieved by those types of sacrifices. Graham quotes Hebrews: “by one offering He [Jesus Christ] has perfected for all time those who are sanctified” [10: 14-15]. He states that this is a link to Jeremiah 31 “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”.
Secondly, the Holy Spirit is a witness to the fact that in giving our lives to Christ, we have become children of God. We are new members in a family, a family that is dedicated to our liberation from the power of sin. Graham calls this the “Magna Carta of the Christian’s liberation from the power of sin to the privileges and wealth of Christ . . . . Each day you and I should sing, ‘I am a child of the King’”. The Holy Spirit has given the born again Christian a witness within himself. Our sins and iniquities are remembered no more. “The Spirit bears witness that as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have eternal life.”
Finally, the Scripture teaches us the value of the Written Word of God. The promises in His Word are true and they are there for us. The Spirit of Truth will guide us into all truth. Graham says that in talking to people who express that they are lacking in assurance of their salvation, those people often have been found neglecting the Word of God. It is pretty clear what we should do in 1 John 5: 11-13: “And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life” [italics mine]. If it is written, we should read what is written. It will do us good.
When we dedicate our lives to Christ, it is obvious that He makes a commitment to us. He places a seal on us which should give us security. His seal means He has ownership of us. Furthermore, He pledges to see us through our time here on earth, and this commitment gives us a sample of what we should expect when we inherit our place in heaven. The Holy Spirit witnesses to us in God’s Holy Word and in our hearts as we become children of God.
When new Christians make their declaration of love for Jesus, they often focus on what they have done, but the focus should be on what He has done for us. God has paid “earnest money.” He wants us. He has sent His only Son to earth to save us, to blot out our sins.
We are reconciled to God. Indeed, each day you and I should rejoice. Indeed each day you and I should sing “I am a child of the King!”
*from Graham’s book The Holy Spirit