...the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal, is the mark!
You know how it is… you come up with a new idea for a new product, or company, or music group, etc., and then you want to establish it as a household name with an ingenious, evocative word that will remain on the lips and minds of every human being for several at least several area codes. After interminably, eternally, long seconds of concentrated brainstorming, you finally hit on the new moniker with euphoric ecstasy, sensing you have indeed been blessed with something akin to divine convergence. With absolute glee and prideful delight you publish the title with the hopes that others will bask within the aura of your innovative brilliance! But I digress…
Almost 25 years ago my friend and I went through a similar exercise to create a name for our new ministry. Though with somewhat less effervescence than the preceding vignette, we came up with the term, “imprinted” but it did come complete with special symbolism and significance. I honestly don’t think we thought anything further of it as we got busy in the actual execution of the ministry through music concerts, and church affiliated engagements. But now, 25 years later, and in lieu of the launch of this new website, I have given the name more thought.
I researched the word, “imprint” and its manifold derivations in various dictionaries, as well as cross-referenced similar words in lexicons, online reference resources, and biblical word studies. My findings have been intriguing. I found some simple definitions:
- to impress, to indent, to stamp”;
- to make and impression; to have an effect
- to fix indelibly or permanently, as in the mind or memory; to impress (a quality, character, distinguishing mark, etc.)
…and more complex definitions — from the field of psychology:
“A learning process occurring early in the life of a social animal in which a specific behavior pattern is established through association with a parent or other role model.”
The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
There are significant implications for those who are both children of God and temples of His Spirit by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ as we consider the power and purpose of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Which leads us to the key verse for this concept of ‘imprinted’.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
Scripture affirms that being “marked with a seal” has to do with identification of ownership, authentication and approval, certification of genuineness and security or assurance. But where, in times past, these were made by placing a mark on the object (like an official insignia pressed into wax), the mark of God, impressed upon a Christian, is God Himself, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He does not merely give us the mark, He, as the seal is the mark! As believers of God and followers of Christ, born of the Spirit, we are not merely marked by God, we are also marked with God!
Consider all those terms: identification of ownership…authentication…approval…security…assurance. The Holy Spirit of God is all these and, I am sure, so much more! But all of this is resident within the life of the Christ follower and with that the call to live up that mark, that seal. This is cause for great celebration but also great demonstration.
(Coming in a subsequent blog)