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Sealed By the Spirit

Tom Pennington • Ephesians 1:13-14

  • 2007-10-21 AM
  • Ephesians
  • Sermons


Today we come to the end of what I believe is the most compact, profound sentence in all of Paul's letters. It began, and we began with it, several weeks ago now, in Ephesians 1:3 with an outburst of the apostle Paul, an outburst of the apostle's praise for God's great eternal plan of redemption. An outburst it was, and yet at the same time, it was not without thought. It was an outburst that had been carefully thought out and considered, every word weighed, because in one Greek sentence, Paul praises every member of the Trinity for His work in executing the plan that together they had worked out between them in eternity past.

Now understand, as we've gone through this passage and (we've looked at the various roles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) understand that those roles were not exclusively theirs. The Trinity works together to accomplish this plan. And so, in a sense, we can say that each member of the Trinity participated in each part of the plan. And the activities that Paul lists here are not the only roles that they played in our redemption. For example, Paul is not saying that the only part that the Father had in our salvation was choosing us in eternity past. He is simply choosing, for each member of the Trinity, a key role, highlighting a specific role that they played, for our encouragement and for our upbuilding.

So, in verses 4 - 6, Paul praises the Father for His role in the plan, and that is sovereign election. In verses 7 - 12, he praises the Son for His part, purchasing our redemption, teaching us God's wisdom, and serving as the channel through which we receive our inheritance. We've studied all of those things in great detail together. But in the verses that we will examine today, Paul comes to the third person of the Trinity, to the Holy Spirit. And he emphasizes for us in verses 13 and 14 the role, or one of the roles, that the Spirit plays in this great plan and drama of redemption.

Look at verse 13.

In Him, [that is in Christ,] you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.

In those two short verses Paul describes for us the role of the Spirit in God's plan. And the primary role that he identifies in these verses that the Spirit has taken on is "sealing" the believer. We were sealed with the Holy Spirit. Now, most Christians know almost nothing about this. In fact, even as you hear the expression that we were "sealed with the Spirit", probably the immediate reaction that comes to your mind is, why, and who cares. I mean what is the point of that? What exactly does it mean, because the concept is so foreign to us, and unfortunately has not been taught much in the history, in the recent history of the church? But according to Paul, by listing it here as the primary work the Spirit does in the drama of redemption, Paul intends to tell us that it is one of the richest blessings that we enjoy. So, it's important that we study it this morning, that we try to come to grasp its richness. And I want us to do that in the time that we have, and as we prepare our hearts for the Lord's table.

Now as we move through these two verses, I want to ask and answer a series of questions about this sealing. Sort of a question and answer format as we work our way through to understand more deeply what this sealing is all about. The first two words of verse 13 introduce us to our first question. What, or better, who does the sealing connect us to? Who does the sealing connect us to? Look at verse 13. "In Him [that is in Christ] … you also were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit…." Notice that this is important enough that Paul repeats it twice in this context. He begins verse 13 by saying, "in Him" and then after he says, "were sealed" he repeats it again, "in Him". So, what exactly does it mean, we were sealed in Him? Obviously, the reference is to Jesus Christ, as it has been throughout this passage.

So here's what Paul means. The sealing with the Spirit, whatever that is, permanently connects us to Jesus Christ. It permanently connects us to Jesus Christ as our representative. If you can rewind the tape a bit in your mind and go back a number of weeks ago, we looked at that phrase "in Christ" and we discovered that its primary meaning is that Jesus Christ has become our representative. We are in Christ in the sense that He represents us. In His life and in His death. We're in Christ. And here, Paul says that this sealing with the Spirit permanently connects us in that relationship. It permanently puts us into that relationship with Jesus Christ as our representative.

And by the way, the very point that Paul is making here underscores the unique role and mission of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not here to make much of Himself. He is here to make much of Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself told us this back in John 15. Turn there with me. I want you to see this point, because this is not understood in our day. John 15:26, Jesus, in the upper room discourse, that night before His crucifixion, as He's just with His disciples. He says this in John 15:26. "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me…." Jesus says, when the Spirit comes, His mission is very clear. His mission has to do with Me. Over in 16:14 Jesus makes the same point. Just a few verses later, still in that same context, he says, speaking of the Spirit "He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you, All things that the Father has are Mine, therefore I said that [the Spirit] takes of Mine and will disclose it to you."

Listen, understand this, wherever the Spirit is truly present, look around in our world. There are lots of places where the Spirit is claimed to be. You see on television, and you hear other places where the Spirit is supposedly present in power. Wherever the Spirit is truly present, Jesus said, He will not be making much of the Spirit, He will be making much of Christ and His Word. Compare that with the emphasis among some of our charismatic brothers. You see, when it comes to the work of the Spirit, there are two extremes we have to avoid.

We must avoid the extreme of ignoring His work and importance. We all are tempted in that vein, in reaction. But the other extreme we must avoid is making the Holy Spirit the focus of our Christian lives. He is here, Jesus said, to make much of Jesus Christ. So, this work, connected to the Spirit, seals us in Christ. It connects us to Christ. It has to do with our relationship to Christ and making it a permanent bond.

But that raises a second question. When does this sealing happen? When does the sealing happen? Look again at verse 13. "In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were sealed in Him" Here, Paul tells us exactly when we were sealed. It was after we listened to the message of truth, that is, the message that completely conforms to reality, that has no error in it--and although that's true of all of scripture, here Paul narrows it a bit for us. Notice the appositive that follows "message of truth". A further explanation of what he means, the gospel of your salvation. It's the gospel, the good news. He says, you heard it, you listened to it. By the way, he uses this same expression for the gospel in Colossians 1:5. He speaks there of the word of truth, the gospel. You see, hearing the gospel is absolutely vital. What does Paul say in Romans 10? He says, how then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in Christ if they haven't heard of Him? And how will they hear without a preacher? He says, the gospel has got to go forth. The gospel has got to be shared. You have to hear the gospel.

Sadly, however, hearing is not enough, because you can hear in the wrong way. Jesus was always warning the people in His day to be careful how they listened. Take heed how you hear, He said. In fact, He told the parable you remember of the soils, to illustrate the different ways people responded after hearing the gospel.

You remember the parable He told there in Matthew 13 of the different kinds of soils, which the soils describe different kinds of hearts. Four different kinds of hearts, Jesus said. And the seed, the gospel falls on each one of those hearts. There is first of all, the hard heart. There's the heart that the seed of the gospel falls on and it's immediately rejected, and the birds, He says come away and take the seed, in that figurative point, the, as He illustrates it, as He explains it, He says the devil comes and snatches away the gospel so that they don't respond. You can sit here this morning and hear the gospel. You may have sat in this church or another church many many years and heard the gospel and had a hard heart that the seed never penetrates.

Jesus said there's a second kind of soil. It's the weedy soil. It's where the seed of the gospel falls into the heart, and there's an immediately good response. Well, that's wonderful. That sounds great. That's exciting. That's what I need. But then, Jesus said, the weeds come. The weeds and the thorns, and they choke out the life before the seed can begin to bear fruit. In other words, it's not genuine conversion. It looks like the real thing initially. It sprouts up. But then, it's choked out and Jesus said the weeds are the cares of this world, the pursuit of riches and other things. It's all the stuff of life. You hear the gospel. You sit in a meeting like this, and you hear the gospel explained, and you think that's wonderful, that's great, I need that. And then you leave, and pretty soon your mind are on--your mind's on a hundred other things that you have to do and all the things that you're pursuing in this life, and those cares choke out the gospel.

Jesus said there's a third kind of soil. He described it as the rocky soil. It was seed that fell into the heart, but there was only a little bit of topsoil and beneath the topsoil was a huge rock so that the seed, again, sprung up, looked like the real thing. Somebody responded, oh, that's great, I've heard the gospel, that's great, that's what I need, that's what I want, Lord save me, and then, when persecution and trouble, difficulty comes, there's not enough earth, and so the plant dies, because there was never any real genuine conversion to begin with. You can hear the gospel and respond to it, but then when people at work or family members ridicule and threaten, and tell you you're crazy to believe that, and pursue that, that persecution can drive you away from the truth of the gospel, and it never really bears fruit.

And then, of course, the fourth kind of soil is the good heart in which the gospel falls and bears fruit. So, it matters how you hear. You can't just hear. So, back in Ephesians 1, in addition to listening to the gospel, Paul adds, having also believed. You see, hearing the gospel is worthless unless it leads to faith. You have to hear and believe the true message of the gospel and then you are sealed.

Now, there are some commentators, and men like Martin Lloyd-Jones, whom I respect, who take this expression "after listening and believing" to mean that there is some kind of gap between the time of salvation "and this sealing", whatever it is. And we're going to get to that in a few minutes. In other words, they would say, you heard, and you believed, you became a Christian, and then at some point later, you were sealed. I can't buy that. I can't agree with them in that, because like every other spiritual blessing in this list, Paul doesn't differentiate between Christians. He doesn't say, listen, some of you've got this, and some of you don't.

Instead, as he writes to the church in Ephesus and the surrounding churches, and as he addresses those congregations, he says to all of them reading this letter, all of the Christians who are listening to this letter read in the church, he says you were sealed, in the past. So, whatever he's describing here is a universal spiritual reality, just like the others in this list in verses 3 - 14. So if the sealing happened to every Christian without exception, and as he writes it has already happened even to the most recent convert in these churches, then he must mean that whatever this sealing is, it happened right after each of them heard the gospel and believed, or as many theologians and commentators believe, at the moment of salvation.

Now, at the moment of salvation a number of things occur. We spent weeks studying that on Sunday night back a year or so ago, and if you weren't here I encourage you to listen to that. Those things that occur at the moment of salvation, regeneration, repentance, faith, justification, adoption, etc., all of those things cannot be separated chronologically. You can't put a time clock on them and say this one began here and this one began here. They don't succeed each other chronologically, but they can be separated logically. And what Paul is telling us here, is that sealing, though it happens at the moment of salvation, logically it follows the hearing of the gospel and the exercise of faith in the gospel.

Now this is very important, because it is absolutely true, as we've discovered from verses 4 - 6, that God sovereignly chose us in eternity past for Himself. The Bible teaches election. But it is equally true that the elect will only be saved in response to the gospel. Now, of course, let me say, there is one caveat. The church, for almost 2000 years has nearly universally taught that the exception to that are little children, and others who die without the mental capacity to understand their sin and the gospel, that God, in grace and mercy extends to them forgiveness. But for everyone else, they must respond to the gospel. You have to hear and believe the gospel, and then you are sealed.

What is the gospel? Well, very simply put, God made you, He made you to worship Him and to love Him and to follow Him, but Adam chose to sin. As our representative, he sinned. And he transferred to every one of his posterity, including you, a sin nature. You were born a sinner by nature. And when you were able to occupy or to understand that and to make decisions, you became a sinner by choice. You added to the sin of nature the sin of choice. And you and I freely sin. We make decisions to rebel against the law of God that's written in our hearts. And God says that every one of those violations, every word we've spoken that's sinful, every thought we've had that's contrary to His law; every behavior we've ever exercised; every habit we've engaged in; every single one of them deserves His eternal wrath and curse. And He will mete out that wrath and curse.

But because God is a gracious and loving God, He sent His only Son some 2000 years ago, the gospel says. Jesus preached that he had come to deal with sin. For 33 years He lived a perfect life. He lived the life you and I should have lived, perfect conformity to the law of God, never a sinful thought, never an evil word, never an action that was in any way contrary to perfect love of God and perfect love of others. For 33 years he lived that life, and then He died, and on the cross, we're told that God treated Jesus as if He had lived the sinful life of every one who would ever believe. So that on that cross, Jesus suffered in the place of sinners, not merely the physical suffering, but separation from God that you and I deserve for all eternity. And then, He died, and the Scripture says on the third day He was raised from the dead, and now He's at the right hand of God, ascended to His presence, and one day He's coming again.

And for those who will repent of their sins on hearing that message, who will turn away from all that they know to be sin, and embrace the truth of Jesus Christ, and commit themselves to follow Him, the good news is, you will have forgiveness. That's the good news. You have to hear it, and you have to believe it, and if you will, then you are sealed.

Now look again at verse 13. It's no accident that the very first time in this chapter Paul mentions "the word" is right here. Because the Spirit is the member of the Trinity who applies the work of redemption to each of us. He's the One who makes it personal, and look at how He does it. Look at the means He uses. The primary tool the Spirit uses is the Scripture. The Spirit uses the Bible. Jesus, three times in His upper room discourse, describes the Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. The ministry of the Spirit is all tied up with the word. So, when we really hear the word, a word that's empowered by the Spirit of God, and when we respond to that word in faith, at that moment, we were sealed. If you're a Christian, it happened at the moment of your conversion.

Now, a third question we need to answer about our sealing is how. How are we sealed? Again, notice verse 13. "We were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…." Notice the verb sealed is passive. We were sealed. It's what theologians call a divine passive. The person doing the action is understood, it's God. In this case, the one doing the sealing is none other than God the Father. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians 1:21. He says He who establishes us and anointed us is God, who sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. So, God is the one doing the sealing.

Who does He seal? Look back at Ephesians 1, Paul says we were sealed. We, notice the plural pronoun. Paul includes himself along with all the other Christians to whom he writes. God has sealed us. But, how? With what did He seal us? Or better yet, with Whom did He seal us? Notice he says we were sealed by God the Father with the Holy Spirit of Promise. So, with all that we've discovered so far, let me paraphrase this sentence for you. Paul is saying this: God the Father sealed every Christian in Christ at the moment of salvation with, or by means of, the seal who is the Holy Spirit. Notice how Paul describes the Spirit by the way. He says He's the Spirit of promise. The Spirit God promised. You find that in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 36 with the promise of the new covenant. God says I will put my Spirit within you. In Joel 2 that Peter mentions on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit was promised. But when Jesus came, of course, He very clearly pronounced the coming of the Spirit in John 14. In John 14:16, Jesus says, "I will ask the Father and He will give you another helper that He may be with you forever. that is, the Spirit of truth"

After our Lord's resurrection, just before the ascension in Acts 1:4, we read,

Gathering His disciples together, [Jesus] commanded them not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised, "Which" He said, "you heard from Me;" for John baptized with water, [John the Baptist,] but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." [Jesus promised the Spirit would come. He's the Spirit of promise. So how were we sealed? We were sealed with the Holy Spirit.]

Now, the final question, and the one that gets to the heart of this passage and answers the key question is why? Why were we sealed? What's this all about? What's the significance of being sealed? What were God's goals in all of this? Well, Paul tells us God had two goals, two reasons for which we were sealed. One of those goals is for us, and the other goal is for Himself. So, let's look first at the goal or purpose God had in mind for us, when He sealed us into Christ by means of the Spirit.

Put in a brief phrase, we could say this. God's goal for sealing us, in reference to ourselves, was to give us assurance and confidence, to give us assurance and confidence. Now, we discover what God was trying to do for us in sealing us if we look at how seals were used in the Scripture and in biblical times. In the ancient world, a seal was used for one of four very basic purposes. The same is true today, by the way, and I'll give you illustrations of that. But basically, a seal was for four purposes.

Number one, to prove ownership. To prove ownership. Deeds for example were often sealed in the presence of witnesses, indicating that the property had a new legal owner. You see that in Jeremiah 32:10, in Jeremiah's ministry. So, in other words, a seal often showed ownership. It belongs to me. We do the same thing today. I love books. Books are my friends. I know my books. I know where they are on my shelves. I know where to find them. I know what's in my books. I love my books. And so, when I get a new book, I first of all smell it. Don't you love that smell? I know, I have a problem. But when I get a new book, I get my stamp. I have a little stamp, and I take this stamp and I emboss my name on the front page of the book. That's the first thing I do. Why? Because that book belongs to me. That stamp, that seal proves ownership. It's my book. Don't try to take my book. That's exactly what the seal of the Spirit is intended to show. It's to prove ownership. God has sealed us with the spirit to show that we are His. We belong to Him. He's stamped us with the Spirit to prove His ownership of us.

There's a second basic purpose that seals show, not only to prove ownership, but secondly, to certify genuineness or authenticity. To certify genuineness or authenticity. When a king in the ancient world wrote a letter, those letters were sealed with his own official signet ring to certify that those letters or that particular letter was in fact genuinely from the king. You find it in the sordid story of Ahab and Jezebel and Naboth's vineyard in 1 Kings 21:6 - 16. The seal of the king on the letter proved that it was in fact from him. It certified genuineness and authenticity. We do the same thing today. If you doubt that, just take one of those new dollar bills out of your pocket. They have tried any number of ways to thwart counterfeiters by putting a variety of seals so that when you look at that bill you know it's authentic. You know it's genuine. What Paul is saying here is that the Holy Spirit's presence demonstrates that we are genuine. We are genuine followers of Jesus Christ. We have truly been saved. The presence of the Spirit certifies our genuineness.

There's a third purpose that seals served, and that was to demonstrate authority, to demonstrate authority. When an Old Testament king made a new law or decree, again he would take that signet ring, and he would impress a seal on the document. In Esther 8:8 - 12 you find that in the story of Esther. Why did he put his seal on the document, on the law? It was to demonstrate that that document had his authority. The seal underscored the authority behind the document. Again, this is something that we do today.

Last week, I got a friendly letter from the U S District Court. It's a jury summons. Now, in the jury summons, when you open it up, in addition to all the things you're supposed to do and when you're supposed to do them, there is, at the top of the letter, the seal of the court. Now why is that seal there? It's not merely to be attractive. It's to remind me, as I read this summons, that it's not a suggestion, that it carries authority, that this summons cannot be disregarded. It has inherent authority, the authority of the court behind it. In the same way, we have been sealed by the Spirit to show that God has commanded us to teach God's word and to proclaim His gospel and we can do so, as long as we are accurate to this, with the same authority that Jesus Christ has.

I saw a funny clip this week on the internet that Phil Johnson's blog directed me to, for those of you who follow those kinds of things. It was someone talking about how we tend to ask questions in our day rather than make assertions. Everything's a question. So, what did you think of that? So, what do you think of this passage? What does it mean to you? And he went on to demonstrate this. My wife gave me a hard time because she said I can't even do it. I've tried to do it. I can't ask a question like that. But the Scripture comes with authority. And as long as we speak it accurately, as long as we handle it with diligence, we can speak with our Lord's authority, as long as it is the truth.

A fourth purpose of seals was to guarantee security, guarantee security. The best illustration of this is the seal that the religious leaders placed on the tomb of Jesus Christ. You remember, they set a guard there. They made sure the body was still in the tomb. They put the stone back, and they sealed it. Why? Because they wanted to make sure that no one tampered with it or took the body of Jesus. It was to guarantee the security of that location (of Jesus' body, in that case) and of the closed tomb. Again, we use seals for this reason today. To give a very mundane example, every time you pull into the gas station to get gas, you see a seal like this. When you pull in and you're pumping the gas into your tank, and that little wheel is moving (very quickly these days) and you're sitting there watching the pump, there is, on the pump, on the mechanism that measures how much gas comes out of the ground and into your car, there is a little seal by the person who's responsible for weights and measures, to insure that no unscrupulous owner of a gas station monkeys with the mechanism so that he cheats you out of money. You get a gallon of gas for every gallon that you're supposed to get. It insures that no one tampers with the equipment, guarantees security. In the same way, God gave us His Spirit to guarantee our security. Nothing can ever tamper with our souls, with our eternity. Nothing can ever separate us from his love.

Now, look at those in that list I just gave you. God knew all those things to be true didn't He. He didn't need to convince Himself that those things were true. He sealed us with His Spirit to convince us of the truth of those things.

Ownership: we belong to God. Genuineness: the presence of the Spirit proves that we are genuine believers. Authority: God's seal on us demonstrates that we've been given divine authority to speak His word. Security: God's sealing us has guaranteed our constant spiritual protection.

While it's accurate to see all four of those, I think, in this idea of sealing, it's the last one that Paul has obviously most in mind. Because look at how he continues in verse 14. "… who is given as a pledge of our inheritance." The Spirit is not only our seal, the One who seals us, He is the seal, but He's also a pledge of our inheritance. We talked about our inheritance last week. If we're Christians, we stand to inherit spiritual salvation, living under the reign of Jesus Christ forever, and God Himself. And here Paul says the Spirit is God's pledge to us, guaranteeing that inheritance will in fact be ours.

Now look at the Greek word, or excuse me, look at the word "pledge". The Greek word for that word is "arrhabon". It means "an earnest payment". A first installment, or probably the most common expression we have, is a down payment. It occurs two other places in the New Testament with this same idea. In 2 Corinthians 1:22, and 2 Corinthians 5:5. It's a down payment. Now, again, we understand this concept, don't we? When you bought your home (if you have a home), when you were negotiating all the details, there was the expectation that you would present a down payment on that home. Why? Well, a down payment is simply a good faith gesture, to say that we intend to pay the rest of the money for whatever it is we're buying. So, when God placed His Spirit in our hearts, it was proof of God's commitment. It was a good faith gesture on God's part to give us the rest of what He's promised.

There's another interesting idea here. The Spirit is God's down payment on our inheritance. And when you make a down payment, typically, you use the same currency that you will use to pay the rest of the money that's owed. If you start (your down payment is in dollars) typically the rest of what you pay will be in dollars. If your down payment is in rubles, then the next part of the payment will be in rubles. There is an "in kind" sort of thing that happens. So, the rest of our inheritance is the same in kind as the down payment. The down payment of the Spirit is the inheritance in miniature.

Peter O'Brien puts it like this. "God is not simply promising us our final inheritance, but actually providing us here with a foretaste of it, even if it is only a small fraction of that future endowment." What does all that mean? Listen carefully. The work of the Spirit that we enjoy in our lives today is only a fraction of what we will someday enjoy. When we see and experience the presence of the Spirit here and now--for example, when we hate our sin, when we desire to be like Jesus Christ, when we understand the truth, when we seek to live in obedience to it, when we manifest the fruit of the Spirit--love, joy, peace, and so forth, when we speak up for Jesus Christ and share His gospel, when we see the Spirit's work in our lives like that today, God uses us (uses it rather) to provide us with an inner assurance that we have In fact, genuinely believed, and that we are His children.

Now, back in verse 14, Paul adds this expression, "with a view to the redemption of God's own possession." That little expression tells us how long the sealing lasts. We're sealed until we become completely God's possession. In chapter 4 of Ephesians, in verse 30, Paul puts it like this, don't "grieve the Holy Spirit of God by Whom you were sealed for the day of redemption". You were sealed for the day when God completely takes us as His own. When body, soul, and spirit, we are like Jesus Christ, when he returns, sealed until the day of redemption.

Now, so far, God has explained to us His goals in reference to us. But why did God seal us in reference to Himself. Well, look at the very end of verse 14, because He tells us there. God sealed us for His own glory. "to the praise of His glory." So, as we finish this final stanza of praise, we find ourselves back at God and back at His glory. That's why He acted to seal us with the Spirit. He's done it so that He could manifest His inherent intrinsic weightiness, his glory, and so that every rational being in the universe would ascribe to Him the weight and the honor and the majesty that He so much deserves.

William Hendrickson, the great commentator says,

Is it any wonder that when the apostle ponders the fact that he himself and all those he addressed had been emancipated from the most dreadful evil, and had been restored to the most unimaginable good, and this by the very God against Whom they had rebelled, and at such a cost, and that God had given, even to them, the Holy Spirit as a pledge and a foretaste of future bliss, when they would receive their full inheritance, and would stand forth in dazzling splendor as God's very own. In view of all of this, is it any wonder that he begins his magnificent doxology by saying, blessed be God, and ends it with to the praise of His glory.

It's been a wonderful and rich journey through Paul's first sentence to the Ephesians. And the journey ends where we began. After we have rehearsed and studied and wondered over God's eternal plan of redemption, we can only join our voices with Paul's. Look back at verse 3. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Now do you see why Paul ends that first sentence, that first verse in this whole great anthem with the words in Christ? Those two little words, in Christ, because this sentence is primarily a celebration of the gift of Jesus Christ.

Our Father, we thank you Lord, for Your goodness to us. We thank You for Your grace and mercy in Christ. Don't let us ever forget. Drive these truths within our hearts. Father, we are prone to wander. Lord, we feel it. Prone to leave the God we love. Here are our hearts, so take and seal them, seal them for Thy courts above.

We pray in Jesus' name, Amen.