“Now, He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”
2 Corinthians 1:21, 22
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
FAITH IN CHRIST requires steadfastness, because the world and the leader of the world were given to try the faithful and destabilize their faith according to his power. Steadfastness in Christ is the essence of faith and its power. Man who is resolute in Christ needs the power from God to look upward. God’s power also protects him as the evil one was given a power that surpasses man’s power and will. The need is then for the power of God for believers, as it is the spirit of faith and its endurance. Yet the devil’s temptations and unsettling of faith does not last because God’s mercy and grace lie in wait before the enemy. When the enemy’s violations against man increase and his fury intensifies against the faithful, God’s power and grace explode fending off all his attacks against man. As a consequence the life of the believer who steadfastly holds on to Christ has become the sphere in which God’s power and grace appears. We are weak, and God knows the extent of our vulnerability towards the enemy’s power and tyranny, but the eyes of God are vigilant, when man cries out he immediately finds help.
I know a man who, while standing in the middle of the night worshipping and praying in the name of Christ, was surprised by the devil extending his arms to strangle him. But the man resoundingly cried out in Christ’s name, and immediately the angel of the cell dashed in from the window and stood before the man defending him. The devil fled on the spot slamming the door behind him. The wonder is that the angel stood there until that man finished his prayers, and then the angel left from where he had come. The book of Hebrews is thus accurate in its words that the angels are ready to serve those who are prepared to inherit salvation.1 That is God’s power and what it does to man who cries out asking for help.
God, to prepare His children who are believers to face these enemy attacks, previously anointed them with the Holy Spirit in baptism so as to be qualified to fight the enemy through the grace and power of God. The believer in Christ who was previously anointed by the Holy Spirit is prepared to enter the war against the enemy with assurance.
It is well known that the Holy Spirit is assigned to seal the chosen with the seal of salvation that prepares them for the hour of temptation here in this world, and after death when they go to take their place among the chosen. We therefore hear in the book of Revelation that the sound directed to the angel told him to learn those who were sealed “having His (Christ) Father’s name written on their foreheads.”2
This means that the seal is given to believers based on the testimony they give Christ, which is the seal of the name of the Father on their faces, with which they become His own, called “members of the household of God”3. These are reckoned worthy to enter into eternal life and be seen before God every moment, having from now the guarantee of the Holy Spirit in their hearts leading and directing them on the way to salvation. The guarantee of the Spirit is the speaker within them in the voice of God for them to know and testify to the truth.
The holy seal of God through the Holy Spirit in holy baptism is equivalent to circumcision in the Old Testament. It is the severance on the eighth day from birth of part of the male’s member considered impure in man in the Old Testament. Circumcision was the same as the entry into the membership of Israel, God’s people. He who was not circumcised was reckoned as impure and was not counted among God’s people, nay he was ostracized and repudiated.
It is exactly the same in the New Testament. A child is taken to be baptized with the holy baptismal water by being plunged in it thrice in the name of the Holy Trinity, and is anointed with oil by means of the descent of the Holy Spirit. In baptism man removes the body of human sins and dons the new one that is renewed in the image of the glory of his Creator,4 in the same manner that kings in olden times were anointed with the horn of fat for the spirit of God to descend upon them to rule in the name of God. Through holy baptism man becomes a member in the Church of God in the same way that circumcision in old times qualified man to become one of God’s people. Baptism evolved, after circumcision having been carried out on eight days old children, man became baptized at any stage of his life. The ritual in old times was awe inspiring and notable. When the baptized person emerged out of the baptismal font he was offered to take Holy Communion of the body and blood of the Lord to have fellowship with Christ in His death and resurrection. The Bible describes the baptism of the Holy Spirit “you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”5 It is as a guarantee of the holy Divine promise of eternal life.
28 June, 2005
1 Heb 13:1.
2 Rev 14:1.
3 Eph 2:19.
4 Col 2:11, 12; 3:10.
5 Eph 1:13.
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