An elderly gentleman loved to give gifts to his children and grandchildren every Christmas. He was a widower, so the tasks of purchasing all of these gifts, wrapping each one, and then putting them all in the mail to send to his distant family members every years all fell upon his shoulders alone.
And even though he loved doing this, quite frankly, he was growing tired of the annual ritual.
So one year he decided to short-circuit the whole process and send each member of his family a check. He quite carefully purchased a card for each one, and in each card wrote the same message. The cards simply said, “Buy your own present.”
He addressed them all and mailed them out early so they could indeed buy their own presents in time for Christmas Day.
This fellow then proceeded to enjoy the Christmas spirit of the holiday and the flurry of all the holiday festivities, and it was only after the holiday that he realized he had received very few cards in return from those whom he had gifted.
Puzzled over this, he went into his study, intending to write a couple of his relatives and ask what had happened. It was then, as he cleared off his cluttered desk that he got his answer.
Under a stack of papers, he was horrified to find every one of the gift checks that he had forgotten to enclose with the cards. He had sent each of his cards – “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered” — without the checks!
Over the past couple of weeks, we have been looking at what it means for us as believers to be “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.” I can assure you that God did not forget anything when he made those promises to us!
In Ephesians 1:13-14 we read, “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.”
In those two verses we see the promises of God to us unfold, and He tells us that, for those who are trusting Christ alone for their salvation, that agreement is signed (we have been included in Christ through His death, burial, and resurrection), sealed (God sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us to assure us that the deal is a sure thing), and this week we see that I was also delivered!
Notice that once we are included in Christ, by having heard the word of truth and believed it, we were sealed in Him through the Holy Spirit given to us as a deposit of greater things to come.
These greater things are indeed called “our inheritance”. In other words, we will be “delivered” when we receive our inheritance. We know this because of the fact that He (the Holy Spirit) lives in us who believe in Him. We can count on Him to uphold His word to us!
A pastor friend of mine was visiting a couple in his church when they received a phone call from an attorney, letting them know that they were the beneficiaries of the wife’s parents’ estate. Their inheritance there was to be in one payment of $700,000!
As they related this to the pastor they also revealed to him that just a year before, they had received an inheritance from the husband’s parents to the tune of $1 million! While they indeed were grieving the loss of their parents, they were rejoicing in the inheritance they were to receive!
I’m not sure how many people have fared that well in earthly inheritances. That has not been my lot in life, but one thing I do know is that my inheritance in heaven has indeed been guaranteed by the fact that the Holy Spirit lives within me – and that is the greatest inheritance of them all!
Those are not just the words of the Apostle Paul. Peter proclaims them as well, and even more emphatically when he says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
My friends, as true Christ-followers, when you and I are called home to receive that inheritance, it will not be for our own well-being, but rather it will all be “to the praise of His glory!” Oh what a joyful day!
In looking back over these two short verses, we see God’s incredible plan, Christ’s provision, all absolutely promised by the Holy Spirit. God encourages and assures us that our identities and our destinies are certain in the sight of God.
That plan is signed, sealed, and delivered in the Father, the Son, and the spirit.
The following verse expresses this so very well:
“I am a child of God.
I have been forgiven of my sins.
I have been adopted and accepted into God’s family.
I am kept for all eternity,
For He has sealed me as His own.
He has placed His Spirit within me
Guaranteeing me the heavenly life of redemption
That Jesus Christ purchased for me at Calvary.
Therefore, I am equipped to handle
Whatever comes my way today.
I can take whatever life throws at me
Because I belong to Jesus
And the fullness of His Spirit lives in me
Yes, Christ in me, the hope of glory.”
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Hillsboro Times-Gazette and the Wilmington News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Faith Community Church in Hillsboro and Port William UMC.