The Jews were those who first heard the Gospel, and even in Ephesus there were a number of Jewish men who had been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism that was in view of national repentance and restoration of the nation of Israel to its former position among the nations. Paul and those with him met those men and gave them “the word of truth.” After they were saved by grace they were baptized as believers and they received the Holy Spirit. Both Jewish and Gentile believers in Ephesus heard the word of truth and were included “in Christ.” The barrier between them was gone. The same is true today. The barriers common to humanity are removed when God’s grace is understood and people, no matter who they are, are saved when they trust the Lord Jesus Christ as their own Savior. The Lord Jesus is the Substance of truth. The Holy Spirit is the Source of truth. Salvation is the blessing of truth. The Word of God is the message of truth, and the principle of truth that we act upon when we put our faith in Christ. The truth of God is the message to which all believers in Christ have responded. We have by faith come to know Him who is “The Truth.”
“The Gospel of your salvation” is the good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Because of the provision He has made by His sacrifice on the cross, we are justified freely by His grace and are eternally saved. When we trusted in Christ after hearing the Gospel, the Holy Spirit who indwells us, seals us as a possession who belongs to God. The seal indicates ownership by a legal means, and that cannot be tampered with or changed. Not only has the Holy Spirit sealed those who belong to Christ, but He is the earnest, the down payment, the deposit of all that eternal life means and has in store for us. He has validated the transaction that was accomplished when eternal life was given to us.
The presence of the Holy Spirit establishes the fact that the highest possible authority has guaranteed our future life with God. Eternal life is an actual fact and we have that now. The fullness of it will not be understood nor known until the future unfolds to us all that eternal life means. The presence of the Holy Spirit is the deposit of the whole that demonstrates now the reality of our salvation, and establishes the fact that by faith we are now children of God. In the future we will have a glorified body; we will be “as He is;” the riches of grace will be displayed through the church. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit is already seen in the lives of believers who have come from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.
This was noticed city-wide in Ephesus as God was working in changing lives of people in their midst. A demon-possessed woman could not stand against the truth of the Gospel. The result was transforming power that was demonstrated to the whole city, and led to a riot that was really darkness against light; Satan against God. What happens when a person is redeemed is that person has been acquired by God for a price that has been paid. The believer becomes an acquisition of God because the purchase price has been met. For us the price was paid for by the death of the Redeemer. “Christ, my Redeemer, died on the cross. Died for the sinner, paid all his due.” The Lord has acquired us that we might share with Him all the blessings of God. God has determined that we will have all He has planned for us, and the Holy Spirit is the assurance of that inheritance.
We will have trials, discomfort, disappointments and difficulties here in this world, but these are ways God demonstrates His power to change lives. The change in believers and how they live under the pressures of life now, is a foretaste of the total change in the future when even our bodies are changed to be like “His body of glory.” The new birth, the sanctified life, power to overcome trials, comfort given when under severe stress, are all evidence of the redemption of the purchased possession. This is already a fact to which nothing needs to be, nor can be, added. “For I am Christ’s, and He is mine, forever and forever.”
We do not have to wait for the promised new bodies nor a new environment in which to live, to be “to the praise of His glory.” In our past as His adopted children placed as sons in His family, we are able to be to the praise of His glory. Our present inheritance, even though it is limited in comparison to what the future holds, enables us to God’s will at this present time to the praise of His glory. In the future when the fullness of redemption is experienced, we will be to the praise of His glory. For the Ephesians who got an understanding of what the church of God is, and for us who gain this understanding through the letter written to them, our lives are opened up to so much more than is common to man. Life is much more than just a day by day repetition of tasks and meeting needs, or taking responsibilities that by nature we would like to avoid. Life now has an eternal dimension to it. There are reasons for all the events that take place in our lives. Our own personalities and abilities are being developed now under the stress of living in an ungodly world. The strength and power of the Spirit of God working in and through us, opens up areas of service for God we would never have known if it wasn’t for the word of truth. This foretaste, this deposit makes our lives a wonderful experience that can be “unto the praise of His glory.”