In whom ye also trusted
The Gentile believers, the Ephesians, whom the apostle now particularly addresses; and who participated of the same grace and privileges with the believing Jews; the promise belonged to all that God called, whether afar off or nigh; and the same common salvation was sent to one as to another; and the same faith was wrought in one as in the other; and they were interested in the same Christ, and were heirs of the same inheritance; the Alexandrian copy reads "we":
after that ye heard the word of truth;
the Gospel; and which is so called, on account of its divine original, coming from the God of truth, who cannot lie; and because of the concern which Christ has in it, who is truth itself, and was the author, subject, and preacher of it, and who confirmed it by his miracles, and his death; and on account of the Spirit of God, the dictator of it, and who leads into all truths, and owns and blesses them for conversion and comfort; and because it contains nothing but truth, and particularly that eminent one, salvation alone by Christ, for the chief of sinners; and in contradistinction from the law, which was typical and shadowy; (jwvqd hlm) , "the word of truth", is a phrase used by the Jews F5, for sublime and heavenly doctrine: now, by the hearing of this, faith came; and this the Ephesians heard, not only externally, but internally; so as to understand, approve, and believe it, and to put it in practice: and which is also called
the Gospel of your salvation:
because it is a declaration and publication of salvation by Christ; and gives an account of the author of salvation, of his ability and willingness to save, and of the nature of this salvation, and describes the persons who shall be saved; and because it is the means of salvation, when attended with the Spirit and power of God; and the instrument, in God's hand, of showing to souls their special and particular interest in salvation:
in whom also after that ye believed;
which may refer either to the Gospel of salvation, in which they believed upon hearing it; or rather to Christ, the Saviour revealed, in whom they believed to the saving of their souls: and this shows, that the sealing work of the Spirit after mentioned, and with which this stands in connection, is a distinct thing from faith, or indeed any other work of the Spirit; as illumination, regeneration, sanctification it is what follows believing, and is a work that passes upon the soul after it; and so is something over and above, and more than faith, at least than first believing: and from hence it also appears, that there may be true faith, where this is not as yet; and that none but believers in Christ enjoy the following privilege:
ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
This cannot have respect to the Father's sealing his people in election, with the seal of his foreknowledge, ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ) for that is before faith, and is within himself, and not on them, and is distinct from the Spirit's work; and for the same reasons it cannot design the Son's affection to them, setting them as a seal on his arm and heart, ( Song of Solomon 8:6 ) , or his asserting his property in them, and the security and protection of them, ( Song of Solomon 4:12 ) ( Revelation 7:3 ) , nor the Spirit's finishing and completing his own work of grace upon the soul, in which sense the word is used, ( Romans 15:28 ) for this as yet was not done upon these believing Ephesians; nor the confirming the Gospel, and the saints in it, by the extraordinary effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, or by his extraordinary works which attended the ministry of the word, to the establishing of it, and the faith of men in it; since these were not common to believers, nor did they continue; whereas the believing Ephesians, in common, were sealed; and the Spirit of God continues still as a sealer of his people, and as an earnest and pledge of their inheritance until the day of redemption; but it is to be understood of the confirming, certifying, and assuring the saints, as to their interest in the favour of God, and in the blessings of grace, of every kind, and their right and title to the heavenly glory; (See Gill on 2 Corinthians 1:22), and the seal of these things is not circumcision, nor baptism, nor the Lord's supper, nor even the graces of the Spirit; but the Spirit himself, who witnesses to the spirits of believers the truth of these things, and that as a "spirit of promise": so called, both because he is the Spirit promised, as the Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, whom the Father and Christ had promised, and who was sent by them; and because he usually seals, or certifies believers of the truth of the above things, by opening and applying a word of promise to them: and which he does also, as the "Holy" Spirit; for this sealing work of his leaves a greater impress of holiness upon the soul, and engages more to acts of holiness; wherefore the doctrine of assurance is no licentious doctrine; no persons are so holy as those who are truly possessed of that grace; and as for such who pretend unto it, and live in sin, it is a certain thing that they in reality know nothing of it.
F5 Zohar in Numb. fol. 76. 3.