Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 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. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.”
In verse 11, Paul explained the true significance of circumcision. Paul said that circumcision was a “sign…a seal of the righteousness he had by faith.” Paul wanted his readers to know that circumcision, in Abraham’s case, was not the basis or even the condition for his righteous status before God. The rite simply put a seal on what was already true.
A sign points to the existence of that which it signifies. A seal authenticates, confirms, certifies, or guarantees the genuineness of that which is signified. Circumcision confirmed to Abraham that he was regarded and treated by God as righteous through faith.
I want us to think a bit more about the significance of a seal. At the time Paul wrote this, people would have been well acquainted with a seal. A seal was a personalized design used to produce an imprint in clay or wax, which was then usually attached to documents and letters as a mark of ownership, authenticity and authority. A seal might also refer to what was given as a pledge or guarantee or be used to keep something secure. A seal authenticates, confirms, certifies, or guarantees the genuineness of that which was signified.
As I think about a seal, I can’t help but think about the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “deposit,” “seal,” and “earnest” that is placed in the hearts of Christians. The Holy Spirit is God’s seal on His people; His claim on us as His very own. The Holy Spirit is given to believers as a “first installment” to assure us that our full inheritance as children of God will be delivered. The Holy Spirit is given to us to confirm to us that we belong to God who grants to us His Spirit as a gift, just as grace and faith are gifts.
Think about what it means to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in your heart. Keep this thought in your mind as you read the following verses:
2 Cor. 1:22
“God also sealed us and gave the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.” CEB
2 Cor. 5:4-5
“Yes, while we are in this tent we groan, because we are weighed down. We want to be dressed not undressed, so that what is dying can be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who prepared us for this very thing is God, and God gave us the Spirit as a down payment for our home.” CEB
“You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.” CEB
“Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.”
When I read these verses, I’m both humbled and filled with confidence! These verses give me confidence because I’m positive that the one who started a good work in me will stay with me to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus (Phil.1:6). This is all part of the gospel, and because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit, we can live joyfully; confident of our sure place in a future that holds unimaginable glories.
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible.