Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
The 3-point seat belt and I debuted the same year: me in rural North Alabama and the 3-point belt at the Volvo manufacturing plant in Gothenburg, Sweden. Since then, a million or so lives have been saved by that particular safety device. (My life-saving accomplishments haven’t been quite as impressive, although I once swerved to avoid a lizard with the lawn mower, so, you know, there’s that…)
The 3-point seat belt gets its name from the fact that it secures the passenger in three ways:
- By restraining the shoulder (either right or left, depending on whether you’re driving or not) and attaching securely to the outboard door post
- By stretching across the lap from an anchor point on the outboard side of the vehicle
- By buckling at the inboard hip
In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, Paul tells us about God’s 3-point safety plan and the three ways in which He has secured us in Christ for almost 2000 years:
- By anointing us
- By setting his seal of ownership on us
- By putting his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
What say we break that verse down…
“He anointed us…”
Biblical kings were typically anointed with oil by a high priest, symbolizing the receipt of power necessary for the God-given task of ruling the people. In 2 Corinthians, however, the anointing Paul is describing is from God Himself. No oil is used nor needed and the power He makes available to me through the Holy Spirit is by no means merely symbolic.
“…set his seal of ownership on us…”
In the Toy Story movies, Andy, the young toy owner, indicated ownership of his toys by writing his name on them. While God’s seal of ownership isn’t as visible as Andy’s name scrawled in Magic Marker, it’s absolutely indelible and will foil the enemy (aka Satan, that old serpent) should he try to mess with me.
In fact, Jesus had something to say about this protection in John 10:28:
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
Nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah, nyah…
“…and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
On a recent out-of-town trip, I was required to pay a hotel deposit equal to the first night’s room rate as a promise that I would show up. Similarly, God put His Spirit in my heart as a deposit, promising that He would show up when it comes time to whisk me away to be with him.
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (1:14) he describes God’s promise of the Holy Spirit as:
…a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.
I’m not sure He got his money’s worth with that deposit, but I’m certainly reaping the rewards. All I got from that hotel was a bunch of those little soaps…
Without God’s mercy and His amazing grace:
- I would never have known what it means to “stand firm in Christ,” assured of an eternity in a place of such unimaginable splendor that I can’t even begin to comprehend it.
- I would have missed His 3-point safety plan of power, protection, and promise.
- And I would still be speeding down that wide, straight, smoothly-paved highway to hell with no seat belt.
And I waited all those years to surrender to God’s plan of salvation why….?
I’m just glad He was patient enough to make sure I was buckled up before I ended up getting a ticket to, well – you know…