Q. I have some friends who believe in conditional salvation. I firmly believe it’s impossible for us not to sin and therefore our salvation has to be unconditional. One of my friends sent me to a website that supports conditional salvation. Most of its claims are easily refuted, but there is one article regarding the seal of the Holy Spirit that I’m having trouble with. It said the seal can be broken. Can you please help me with this?
A. I read the article and whoever wrote it is really stretching things. First, the fact that the Bible doesn’t say the Holy Spirit’s seal can’t be broken does not support the claim that it can be. It’s an argument without merit.
Second, when the writer compared the seal placed on our hearts by God to the seal placed on the Lord’s tomb by Pilate, he was really insulting our intelligence. Using the fact that a man’s seal was broken by God as proof that God’s seal could be broken by a man is ridiculous.
But more importantly, the language of Ephesians 1:13-14 tells the story. Paul chose words that have legal implications for God. Take the phrase “as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance”. The literal translation of the phrase “deposit guaranteeing” is “money which in purchases is given as a pledge or down payment that the full amount will subsequently be paid”.
The King James translators used the word “earnest” there, as in earnest money deposit, a real estate term that describes the payment accompanying an offer to purchase property. It legally obligates the buyers to follow through on the purchase and takes the property off the market so no one else can jump in and buy it out from under them.
This word is only used 3 times in the New Testament, in Ephes. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:22, and 2 Cor. 5:5 . All 3 times Paul was describing the seal of the Holy Spirit. So here’s the deal. When you first believed, God sealed His Holy Spirit within you as an earnest money deposit, a guarantee that He was purchasing you, and obligating Himself to follow through. He was also taking you off the market so that no one else (Satan) could have you.
By reading these three passages you can see that there are no subsequent performance clauses for you to meet. If He should break the seal for any reason, you would have a legal claim against Him for non-performance. So you have the word of One who cannot lie that He has unconditionally accepted you forever. This is why Paul said, “You are not your own. You were bought at a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20). Not even we can break the seal.
These three passages are the strongest and clearest claims about the security of our position. Since the Bible is the word of God and and cannot contradict itself, all other Scripture has to be seen in light of them.