May 10th, 2014| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


The other day, I was at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in Louisville, Kentucky.

Nope, sorry to disappoint you folks, I wasn’t there to bet on the Derby. I could get into trouble—a DTS prof betting on horses!

Nope, I was there to lead a day of seminars for students working on their doctorates in preaching. They were using my tome on preaching hermeneutics as one of their textbooks, and so I was called in for an inquisition, Baptist style!

[Actually, I had a delightful time, with a few faculty members—one of whom is soon to be featured on the aBeLOG, in my monthly How I Preach series—and a bunch of terrific students who take their studies with both seriousness and fun! They were inquisitive, but it wasn’t an inquisition! Good people, good questions, good discussion, good food, good time. What more can one ask for?]

Anyways, there I was in the heartbeat of the Southern Baptist denomination, the oldest of their six seminaries. Established in 1859, it is over a 150 years old! It is one of the (if not actually the) largest seminaries in the world, with about 3,000 students and over 170 faculty members.

Located on a lush 84-acre campus, part of a larger design by famed American landscape designer, Frederick Olmstead (of Central Park fame), SBTS is worth a visit for many reasons, not the least for its beauty and architecture. Everything is colonial in style, modeled apparently after the University of Virginia which designed by Jefferson.

I stayed at the Legacy center on campus, run and managed like a hotel. Said to be designed by Marriott. Nice!

Obviously they have a lot of resources!

Hey, even the toilet paper comes tapered and sealed with a gold sticker that represents the façade of one of their Jeffersonian, colonial structures. Wow!

In Him [i.e., Christ], 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.

Ephesians 1:13

Believers—even we!—who have heard the gospel and have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as their only God and Savior, have been sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

Seals in the ancient Near East guaranteed the authenticity or ownership and protection of the sealed object. Here in Eph 1:13, those sealed with the Holy Spirit are authenticated as possessors of the blessings of God, for they are owned by him, protected and kept by him until the last day. The unique status of God’s children as his inheritance and possession is guaranteed by the seal—the Holy Spirit.

(Just as even the toilet paper is authenticated as SBTS property—I wouldn’t use any other!—and it is owned by them, kept in their care.)

… [the Holy Spirit] 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.

Ephesians 1:14

The Holy Spirit, is himself the seal; in fact, he is also a “pledge,” a down payment guaranteeing subsequent delivery of goods and services: believers’ “inheritance,” their rewards in the afterlife.

In Him [i.e., Jesus Christ]
we have redemption through His blood.

Ephesians 1:7

All the financial terms used in these verses provide a graphic image of a divine Buyer who purchases his people out of bondage (“redemption,” 1:7, 14), paying with blood (1:7), sealing what is now his (1:13, 14) and pledging a down payment until the final delivery date (1:14).

God is certainly going to keep his contractual, “fiduciary” word. We’re in for a glorious finale. Hang in there!

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