Author: Ron Graham
The Unbreakable Seal
—Three more principles
In this lesson we look at another three of our 17 principles concerning the promise, oath, and seal of God. We treat these points briefly here, and expand on them in following lessons.
12th principle: The seal cannot be hindered or delayed.
13th principle: The seal cannot be broken.
14th principle: The seal of God is conditional.
1 An Immediate Blessing
The seal of God is an immediate blessing, not a “second blessing” for which the new convert must wait. By the seal, the new convert is identified as God’s own heir. If one has to wait for this, then one has to wait to belong to God (2Timothy 2:19 Romans 8:9).
¶“19[Whatever people say] God’s firm foundation stands! It has this seal: 'The Lord knows those who belong to him, and let all who name Christ’s name depart from evil' ” (2Timothy 2:19).
¶“7Fleshly thinking is hostile toward God. It is not subject to God’s law, nor is it able to be. 8So those [whose thoughts are] in the flesh cannot please God. 9However, you are not [thinking] in the flesh but in the spirit —if indeed God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone does not have the [indwelling] Spirit of Christ, that person doesn't belong to Christ” (Romans 8:7-9).
Along the same lines, if one has to wait for the Holy Spirit, then one has to wait for forgiveness. Forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit are both promised when one obeys the gospel. There is no delay in the gift of the Spirit (Acts 2:37-39, Acts 5:31-32).
¶“37Now when they heard Peter’s words, they were cut to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 38Peter answered them, 'Repent and be immersed every one of you. [Do this] in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39This promise is made to you, to your children, and to all who are far away; yes, as many as the Lord our God will call.' ” (Acts 2:37-39).
¶“31God exalted Jesus Christ with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to grant to Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. 32We are his witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.' ” (Acts 5:27-32).
2 An Invincible Blessing
No power in the universe, not even the mighty hand of Satan, can break the seal of God. When Jesus gives eternal life, no one can take it away.
No temptation is able to overpower God’s own (1Corinthians 10:12-13). They are secure in the hand of the shepherd Jesus Christ (John 10:14,27-29). Nothing can separate them from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39.
¶“12Well may you think that you stand [secure with God]. Nevertheless, take care that you don't fall. 13No temptation has seized you except what people commonly experience. And God is worthy of your trust. He won't let you be tempted more than you are able to bear. Rather, when you face the tempter, God will enable you to bear it by providing the way to escape” (1Corinthians 10:12-13).
¶“14I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep, and they know me 15—just as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep who are not of this fold. I must bring them [into the fold] also. They too will hear my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).
¶“35Who is the one who condemns? Isn't Christ Jesus the one who died? Yes, and even better, the one who was raised. He is [now] at the right hand of God, [and there] he too intercedes for us” (Romans 8:34).
¶“35So who shall part us from Christ’s love? Shall trouble or distress or persecution? Shall having no food or clothes? Shall peril or sword? 36—as scripture says, 'All day long we face death for your sake. We are regarded as sheep for slaughter.' 37 [Though we suffer] all these things, in them we more than conquer through him who loved us!” (Romans 8:35-37).
¶“38I am fully convinced that neither death nor [troubled] life; neither heavenly messenger nor [earthly] monarch; neither what happens today, nor will in the future; 38neither things exalted nor things in the deep —nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord!” (Romans 8:38-39).
Note:— .The above point has been greatly misunderstood Therefore we must lay another equally valid truth alongside of it. So important is this corollary, that we are going to spend as much time on it as we have on all the previous points together. We merely introduce it here, in this lesson. A later lesson will be entirely devoted to it.
3 A Conditional Blessing
The security of the seal of God ensures that we cannot be forced to part from Christ as we saw in a previous scripture (Romans 8:35-39). However in that security God does not force us to remain in Christ.
The truth is that you are saved "if you continue in the faith" (Colossians 1:23) and there is a promise, oath, and seal of God, which guarantees you can do that if you want to.
¶“21You were once, in your evil thoughts and deeds, strangers and hostile [to God]. Yet now Christ has reconciled you [to God]. He did this by the death of his fleshly body. So he can present you [to God] holy and faultless. You are above reproach in God’s presence 22—so long as you continue grounded and firm in your faith, unmoved from the hope of the gospel that you heard. [This was the gospel] preached to all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, came into that service” (Colossians 1:21-23).
NOTE: The only time the scripture links the term "impossible" with the term "fall away" is in Hebrews 6:6. This is about those who have been made "partakers of the Holy Spirit".
¶“4Here is something impossible. [I speak of] people who were once enlightened, who tasted of the heavenly gift. They became partakers of the Holy Spirit. 5They tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come. 6If people like that fall away, it is impossible to restore them to repentance again. They crucify God’s Son in themselves. They also disgrace him in public” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
Now note what it does not say. It does not say, "It is impossible for them to fall away." What then does it say? It says, "If they fall away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance..."
This shows that not only is it possible for the saved to fall away from grace, but also that they can fall so completely that it is impossible to restore them to a state of grace again.
But having said that, we must also recall that no one but we ourselves can break the seal, not even Satan. No one can force us to fall away —this God guarantees.