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What Is the Seal of the Holy Spirit?

Scrolls, seal, and map

The seal of the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. This seal is referenced many times in Scripture in a variety of ways. Jesus declared he was sealed by the Father in the Gospel of John.

Peter witnessed the seal of the Holy Spirit being given to the Gentiles in Acts chapter 10. But Paul is the one who writes the most about the seal of the Holy Spirit for believers.

So what is this seal and what is it for? Why is the seal of the Holy Spirit important?

Before answering these questions, we will start with understanding what a seal is, and what it is for.

What Is a Seal?

Knowing what a seal actually is, and what it is used for is important in understanding the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Here is what the google dictionary says that a seal is.

  • A device or substance that is used to join two things together so as to prevent them from coming apart or to prevent anything from passing between them.
  • A piece of wax, lead, or other material with an individual design stamped into it, attached to a document to show that it has come from the person who claims to have issued it.

By these definitions, we can see how a seal is something tangible used to create a union, protect from separation, and provide evidence of who or where the seal has come from.

Seals are also used for security purposes to authenticate legal documents. A modern-day example is a notary seal. A notary public leaves a mark, or imprint on the document to confirm and prove its validity. This type of seal is provided so there is no room for doubt.

The word seal is also used when closing an envelope. When something is sealed in this manner it is concealed, or hidden for a particular recipient, or until a certain time.

Modern-day examples include a letter sent in the mail, a birthday card, and a person’s last will and testament. The Bible says that our lives are hidden in Christ.

God Seals Believers

There was no seal of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, but God did seal those who believed. One example is Abraham, who is called the father of our faith. He was sealed with “a seal of righteousness” using the sign of circumcision for believing God.

Paul tells us about it in Romans 4:11,

And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them (NIV, emphasis mine).

This “sealing” that Abraham received was spiritual. However, God gave Abraham the tangible imprint of circumcision as proof of his acceptance and conferred righteousness due to faith.

Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous — even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith (Romans 4:11, NLT, emphasis mine).

Like Abraham was sealed for believing, so are we. When we place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Father sets His seal upon us.

…you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy (Ephesians 1:13, AMP).

What Is the Seal of the Holy Spirit for Us?

The seal of the Holy Spirit is many things for the believer.

It is a pledge or earnest to remind you that you truly belong to Him.

…and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us (2 Corinthians 1:22).

Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30, NLT).

It is a deposit or a down payment as a guarantee to settle your heart regarding God’s promise.

The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory! (Ephesians 1:14, GNT).

Now He who has made us and prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the [Holy] Spirit as a pledge [a guarantee, a down payment on the fulfillment of His promise] (2 Corinthians 5:5, AMP).

It is legal proof of your inheritance in Christ. 

In Him also we have received an inheritance [a destiny — we were claimed by God as His own], having been predestined (chosen, appointed beforehand) according to the purpose of Him who works everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him as our Lord and Savior] would exist to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God]. The Spirit is the guarantee [the first installment, the pledge, a foretaste] of our inheritance until the redemption of God’s own [purchased] possession [His believers], to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:11-14, AMP).

The Holy Spirit is given to the believer as a pledge of God’s faithfulness, a deposit of his goodness, and proof of things yet to come. These things are important for us to cling to.

When the enemy who seeks to separate us from God with lies attacks, leaning into the truth of God’s seal will anchor our hearts.

God’s Greatest Desire

King David is known in the scriptures as “a man after God’s own heart.” Reading about David it is clear how much he loved God.

David was not perfect by any means. He severely lost his temper with Nabal, committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then murdered Bathsheba’s husband to try and cover it up. But God saw his heart. God knew he had David’s heart.

Having our hearts is God’s greatest desire — the seal of the Holy Spirit marks us as his.

And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised (Ephesians 1:13, GNT).

…set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 1:22).

The Bible says that when we come to Jesus, are born again, and receive the seal of the Holy Spirit that God owns us. He sets his seal of ownership on us.

What does it mean that God owns you and me?

The Biblical seal of ownership is not one that turns us into another’s property, like human trafficking. It’s one of love and relationship. It’s better compared to a betrothal with an engagement ring.

John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the bridegroom. The terminology Jesus used at the last supper was consistent with cultural norms of a proposal.

Jesus went to prepare a place for us and will come back to get us. God loves us fiercely and has set the seal of his Holy Spirit upon us. God’s greatest desire is to share his love with us.

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD (Song of Solomon 8:6, ESV).

For further reading:

What Is the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Holy Spirit?

What Is the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit?

How Are Believers Empowered by the Holy Spirit?

How Do We Receive the Holy Spirit?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Andrey Iudin


Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, coach, and speaker who helps people embrace their value and heal their souls through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named PaynLove’s ManifestoBecause You Matter, and hosts the Victorious Souls Podcast. A long-time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/




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