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Ephesians 1:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

In whom ye also trusted - Ye Gentiles, having heard from us the word, τον λογον, the doctrine, of the truth, which is the Gospel, or glad tidings, of your salvation, have believed, as we Jews have done, and received similar blessings to those with which God has favored us.

In whom also, εν ὡ, through whom, Christ Jesus, after that ye had believed, viz. that he was the only Savior, and that through his blood redemption might be obtained, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise; that is, The Holy Spirit, which is promised to them who believe on Christ Jesus, was given to you, and thus you were ascertained to be the children of God, for God has no child who is not a partaker of the Holy Ghost, and he who has this Spirit has God's seal that he belongs to the heavenly family. It was customary among all nations, when a person purchased goods of any kind, to mark with his seal that which he had bought, in order that he might know it, and be able to claim it if mixed with the goods of others; to this custom the apostle may here allude but it was also customary to set a seal upon what was dedicated to God, or what was to be offered to him in sacrifice. See this proved in the note on John 6:27. The Jews themselves speak of the seal of God, which they term אמת emeth, truth, and which they consider as a representation of the unoriginated and endless perfections of God. As the apostle is here speaking of the doctrine of truth, which came by the Holy Spirit, and is sealed on the souls of believers by this Spirit, he may have in view the Jewish notion, which is at once both correct and elevated. This Spirit of truth, John 14:17, who leads into all truth, John 16:13, and teaches all things, John 14:26, makes the impression of his own eternal purity and truth in the souls of them who believe, and thus they bear the seal of God Almighty. And they who in the day of judgment are found to bear this seal - Truth; truth in the inward parts, having truly repented, truly believed, and having been in consequence truly justified, and truly sanctified; and having walked in truth and sincerity towards God and man; these are sealed to the day of redemption; for, having this seal, they are seen to have a right to eternal life.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In whom ye also trusted - This stands in contrast with those who had “first” embraced the gospel.

Heard the word of truth - The gospel; called the “word” or message of truth, the word of God, etc. See Romans 10:17. The phrase “the word of truth” means “the true word or message.” It was a message unmixed with Jewish traditions or Gentile philosophy.

The gospel of your salvation - The gospel bringing salvation to you.

In whom also - In the Lord Jesus. A little different translation of this verse will convey more clearly its meaning. “In whom also, ye, having heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation,) in whom having also believed, ye were sealed,” etc. The sealing was the result of believing, and that was the result of hearing the gospel; compare Romans 10:14-15.

Ye were sealed - On the meaning of the word “seal,” see the notes at John 3:33; John 6:27, note. On the phrase “ye were sealed,” see the notes on 2 Corinthians 1:22.

With that Holy Spirit of promise - With the Holy Spirit that was promised; see John 16:7-11, John 16:13; John 15:26; John 14:16-17. It is not improbable, I think, that the apostle here refers particularly to the occurrence of which we have a record in Acts 19:1-6. Paul, it is there said, having passed through the upper provinces of Asia Minor, came to Ephesus. He found certain persons who were the disciples of John, and he asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they “believed,” Ephesians 1:2. They replied that they had not heard whether there was any Holy Spirit, and that they had been baptized unto John‘s baptism. Paul taught them the true nature of the baptism of John; explained to them the Christian system; and they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and “the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” They were thus sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, “after they had believed” Ephesians 1:13; they had the full evidence of the favor of God in the descent of the promised Holy Spirit, and in his miraculous influences. If this be the true interpretation, it constitutes a striking coincidence between the Epistle and the Acts, of such a nature as constitute the arguments in Paley‘s “Horae Paulinae” (though he has not referred to this), which shows that the Epistle was not forged. The circumstance is such that it would not have been alluded to in this manner by one who should forge the Epistle; and the mention of it in the Epistle is so slight, that no one, from the account there, would think of forging the account in the Acts. The coincidence is just such as would occur on the supposition that the transaction actually occurred, and that both the Acts and the Epistle are genuine. At the same time, there is a sealing of the Holy Spirit which is common to all Christians; see the notes referred to on 2 Corinthians 1:22.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's showing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and the method of redemption and salvation. But these must have been for ever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by his written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth. Christ united the two differing parties, God and man, in his own person, and satisfied for that wrong which caused the separation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith and love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. He dispenses all his blessings, according to his good pleasure. His Divine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of those truths, which others were left to blaspheme. What a gracious promise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs of heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. For this we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is the great design of God in all that he has done for us; let all be ascribed unto the praise of his glory.
Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 35.6

Let the youth try to appreciate the privilege that may be theirs, to be directed by the unerring wisdom of God. Let them take the Word of truth as the man of their counsel, and become skillful in the use of “the sword of the Spirit.” Satan is a wise general; but the humble, devoted soldier of Jesus Christ may overcome him. AG 35.6

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW), 1161

8 (ch. 10:8, 21). Divine Power Gives Success—In Ezekiel's vision, God had His hand beneath the wings of the cherubim. This is to teach His servants that it is divine power that gives them success. He will work with them if they will put away iniquity, and become pure in heart and life. The heavenly messengers seen by Ezekiel, like a bright light going among the living creatures with the swiftness of lightning, represent the speed with which this work will finally go forward to completion. He who slumbers not, who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, can carry forward His great work harmoniously. That which appears to finite minds entangled and complicated, the Lord's hand can keep in perfect order. He can devise ways and means to thwart the purposes of wicked counselors, and those who plot out mischief. 4BC 1161.1

Those who are called to responsible positions in the work of God often feel that they are carrying heavy burdens, when they may have the satisfaction of knowing that Jesus carries them all. We permit ourselves to feel altogether too much care, trouble, and perplexity in the Lord's work. We need to trust Him, believe in Him, and go forward. The tireless vigilance of the heavenly messengers, their unceasing employment in their ministry in connection with the beings of earth, show us how God's hand is guiding the wheel within a wheel. The divine Instructor is saying to every actor in His work, as He said to Cyrus of old, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known me” (The Review and Herald, January 11, 1887). 4BC 1161.2

15-28. Individual Freedom, Yet Complete Harmony—God is acquainted with every man. Could our eyes be opened we would see that eternal justice is at work in our world. A powerful influence, not under man's control, is working. Man may fancy that he is directing matters, but there are higher than human influences at work. The servants of God know that He is working to counteract Satan's plans. Those who know not God cannot comprehend His movements. There is at work a wheel within a wheel. Apparently the complication of machinery is so intricate that man can see only a complete entanglement. But the divine hand, as seen by the prophet Ezekiel, is placed upon the wheels, and every part moves in complete harmony, each doing its specified work, yet with individual freedom of action (Manuscript 13, 1898). 4BC 1161.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 115.5

Any course of action that weakens your physical or mental power unfits you for the service of your Creator. We are to love God with all our hearts, and if we have an eye single to His glory we shall eat, drink, and clothe ourselves with reference to His divine will. Every one who has a realizing sense of what it means to be a Christian will purify himself from everything that weakens and defiles. All the habits of his life will be brought into harmony with the requirements of the Word of truth, and he will not only believe, but will work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, while submitting to the molding of the Holy Spirit.28 TMK 115.5

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1113-7

(Isaiah 45:21, 22; Matthew 16:24; John 1:29.) Look and Live—Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. Now we have a message, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” Will not our church members keep their eyes fixed on a crucified and risen Saviour, in whom their hopes of eternal life are centered? This is our message, our argument, our doctrine, our warning to the impenitent, our encouragement for the sorrowing, the hope for every believer. If we can awaken an interest in men's minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ. 6BC 1113.1

As the sinner sees Jesus as He is, an all compassionate Saviour, hope and assurance take possession of his soul. The helpless soul is cast without any reservation upon Jesus. None can bear away from the vision of Christ Jesus crucified a lingering doubt. Unbelief is gone (Manuscript 49, 1898). 6BC 1113.2

(Psalm 85:10; see EGW on James 2:13.) The Cross of Christ Moves the World—The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. 6BC 1113.3

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