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Jamie Johnson
6 December 2015

The Promised Ring

NOTE: This is a written version of the message I delivered on December 6, 2015.

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings mentions the "one ring to rule them all." Anyone who has read the book or seen the film knows that ring of power was wielded for evil... and that it is fictional. However, there is a ring, so to speak, that is real and it is a ring of power for good.

I was reading in Haggai 2:23 (NASB), which says the following:

"'On that day,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,'" declares the LORD of hosts.

As I read that verse, many things came to my mind - messianic prophecy, election, eternal security and the Holy Spirit. Though this was written to Jews, it clearly applies to my life as a Christian and if you know Christ, it applies to your life as well. Looking at the same verse in my old NIV Study Bible, I gleaned from the notes related to that verse:

signet ring. A kind of seal that functioned as a signature .... Like other seals ... it could be used as a pledge or guarantee of full payment. ... Zerubbabel would then be a guarantee that someday the Messiah descended from David will come. In 2 Co 1:22 the Holy Spirit is the seal guaranteeing the believer's future inheritance (cf. Eph 1:13-14). ...

The word seal grabbed my attention, particularly when considering the Holy Spirit and His role in the life of a believer. I looked at 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NASB) where the scripture states,

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Do you know Christ? If you do, then you have been given a ring, the promised ring of the Holy Spirit. The word pledge in the Greek is arrabona (αρραβωνα)source. The same word is used in 2 Corinthians 5:5 (NASB):

Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

The Greek word is translated again as pledge. The meaning of the word in Greek is down payment or an earnest (a part payment in advance for security)source.

Continuing to dig, I looked at Ephesians 1:13-14 (NASB), which says the following:

In Him, 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.

The word pledge is also translated as deposit or guarantee and it is the same word mentioned in the other earlier 2 Corinthians verses.

So what does this all mean? Let's put it together. If you are in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit. And though we are frail in this world and see and hear about the brokenness and fallenness around us, we have a promised ring, an engagement ring. The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity guarantees we will be with Him in glory - Father, Son, Holy Spirit. We are marked, sealed, secured and destined for an eternity with Him. And He does not break His promises. He died for you and if you believe and place your faith in Him, will He turn away later? No! Once saved, can you lose your salvation? Again, no! A verse I quote often is 2 Timothy 2:13b (NASB):

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Jesus Himself said that when He sends the Holy Spirit, He would be with us forever. How long is forever? It never ends! Consider the words of Jesus in John 14:16-17 (NASB):

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, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

If you are in Christ, then you are sealed with the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is your arrabona. He is your deposit and engagement ring. And earlier in John 14, prior to mentioning the Holy Spirit, Jesus says the following in verses 1-3 (NASB):

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Jesus is preparing a place for His bride - the united Church of believers! The question is, "Do you have Him?" Have you placed faith in Christ? Do you trust in His work alone to save you - His perfect life, His wrath-satisfying substitutionary death in your place on the cross, His burial and His resurrection? Do you trust that He has taken the power of your sin to the cross and given you (imputed) His righteousness? He offers you the promised ring to be part of the Church His bride and be with Him forever. Will you receive it in faith today? And if you are in Christ, will you live in a manner worthy of Him who has called you, realizing that His promises are sure, that He has indeed given you a deposit guaranteeing the glory to come? Stop looking around you and trust Him who alone can save.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all
(2 Corinthians 4:17, NIV).

We can trust His Word. Recall the verse in Haggai:

"'On that day,' declares the LORD of hosts, 'I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,'" declares the LORD of hosts.

Zerubbabel was a guarantee of the future promised Messiah. Did the Messiah come as promised? Yes! Whom do we celebrate at Christmas? Jesus Christ and the Scriptures point to Him. He came as foretold and therefore both He and His Word are trustworthy! We are in the season of Advent where we remember His first coming. "He came, He saw, He conquered death and hell" is what one Christian band (Petra) sings. And it is true. Jesus has come. Jesus has performed His work. Do you trust Him? He's coming back again. Are you ready? Are you sealed with the promised ring?

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