The Spirit is the earnest of the believer's destined inheritance ( 2 Corinthians 1:22 ; 5:5 ; Ephesians 1:14 ). The word thus rendered is the same as that rendered "pledge" in Genesis 38:17-20 ; "indeed, the Hebrew word has simply passed into the Greek and Latin languages, probably through commercial dealings with the Phoenicians, the great trading people of ancient days. Originally it meant no more than a pledge; but in common usage it came to denote that particular kind of pledge which is a part of the full price of an article paid in advance; and as it is joined with the figure of a seal when applied to the Spirit, it seems to be used by Paul in this specific sense." The Spirit's gracious presence and working in believers is a foretaste to them of the blessedness of heaven. God is graciously pleased to give not only pledges but foretastes of future blessedness.
( 2 Corinthians 1:22 ; 5:5 ; Ephesians 1:14 ) The Hebrew word was used generally for pledge , ( Genesis 38:17 ) and in its cognate forms for surety, ( Proverbs 17:18 ) and hostage . ( 2 Kings 14:14 ) The Greek derivative, however, acquired a more technical sense as signifying the deposit paid by the purchaser on entering into an agreement for the purchase of anything. In the New Testament the word is used to signify the pledge or earnest of the superior blessings of the future life.
Found three times in the New Testament:
It has an equivalent in Hebrew `erabhon (found in Genesis 38:17,18,20), in Latin arrabo, French arrhes and the Old English arles. The term is mercantile and comes originally from the Phoenicians. Its general meaning is that of a pledge or token given as the assurance of the fulfillment of a bargain or promise. It also carries with it the idea of forfeit, such as is now common in land deals, only from the obverse side. In other words, the one promising to convey property, wages or blessing binds the promise with an advance gift or pledge partaking of the quality of the benefit to be bestowed. If the agreement be about wages, then a part of the wages is advanced; if it be about land, then a clod given to the purchaser or beneficiary may stand as the pledge of final and complete conveyance of the property.
In the spiritual sense, as used in the passages above named, the reference is to the work of the Spirit of God in our hearts being a token and pledge of a perfect redemption and a heavenly inheritance. There is more than the idea of security in the word as used, for it clearly implies the continuity and identity of the blessing.
C. E. Schenk
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