The Earnest of Our Inheritance
A Sermon on Ephesians 1:14
14who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
As Christians anticipate heaven, the most glorious reality will be seeing the Lord face to face. Until that day, what is the connection between the heavenly reality that awaits the Christian and their life now? According to the apostle Paul, it is the work of the Holy Spirit as the pledge or guarantee of future inheritance that connects the future with the present. In this sermon on Ephesians 1:14 titled “The Earnest of Our Inheritance,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones labors to explain the apostle’s words by arguing that the translation “earnest” fits the context of Paul’s teaching. This rich term communicates the guarantee or pledge, but it also speaks of an installment. The Christian has a glimpse or foretaste of heaven through the work of the Holy Spirit. While one does not fully see Christ in this life, they should be encouraged that they do indeed see Him, even if only as through a mirror dimly. Dr. Lloyd-Jones challenges the listener to share in Christ’s life now by pursuing holiness, purity, peace, and love. Wonderfully, when one does this, they taste what righteousness will be like in the future.
- The apostle Paul is continuing his teaching from Ephesians 1:13 about the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer.
- Specifically, Paul wants to show the Ephesians the glory of their position in Christ by introducing the concept of the "earnest of the Spirit."
- The "earnest of the Spirit" refers to the Holy Spirit as a pledge or guarantee of the believer's future inheritance in Christ.
- The word "earnest" was used in business transactions to refer to a pledge or down payment that serves as a guarantee of the full payment to come.
- An "earnest" is more than just a pledge - it is a pledge of the same kind as the final payment. It is a first installment of the whole.
- The Holy Spirit is the "earnest of our inheritance" - He is the first installment of the full inheritance believers will receive in Christ.
- The Holy Spirit as the "earnest" serves as an assurance of the believer's future inheritance until the "redemption of the purchased possession." This refers to the final completion of God's plan of salvation.
- The "sealing" of the Spirit refers to the assurance believers have of their position in Christ. The "earnest of the Spirit" refers more directly to the assurance believers have of their future inheritance.
- The Holy Spirit as the "earnest" serves as a pledge by guaranteeing the believer's future bodily redemption from sin. The Spirit's presence is a guarantee that believers will be freed from sin and death.
- The Holy Spirit also serves as an installment, giving believers a foretaste of their future heavenly inheritance. This includes: seeing and enjoying God, becoming like Christ in holiness, experiencing perfect love and joy, and having perfect peace.
- Believers can experience a foretaste of their heavenly inheritance through the Holy Spirit even now. They can see God's glory, know His love, experience joy and peace, and grow in holiness.
- The sermon encourages believers to enjoy the foretaste of heaven they can experience now through the Holy Spirit.
The Book of Ephesians
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.