In the Ephesian letter, the assurance God offers of our inheritance was the Spirit himself. But how does the Spirit give assurance? People have puzzled and argued over this passage for centuries. Paul said that the Spirit is the guarantee – the down payment, (arrabon), God’s earnest or good faith payment toward our inheritance. As such, it says that God will follow through with his promise.
This is the opposite of what we do when we make a major purchase. When we go to buy a house or a piece of land, the seller requires that we make a down payment, assuring him that we are dealing in good faith, that is, that we intend to go through with the deal. This down payment makes the deal binding. We either continue with the purchase, depending on whether we can arrange the financing, or we forfeit the down payment. The down payment binds us, the purchaser to our word.
With the matter of our salvation things are quite different. There is still a guarantee, but in this case the “seller” is the one who makes the down payment! The down payment is the Holy Spirit who is given to us as our assurance that God will carry through with his end of the deal. But he is more than this. God is the one who is making the investment. Remember – we are his heritage. He wants to make sure that we who belong to him succeed in the life he is giving us. He does more than just give us a written guarantee – he comes and lives with us! He does not just give us an owner’s manual when we obtain our salvation – we get the “manufacturer” to live with us to help us and guide us into getting the most out of the “product!” Talk about standing behind his product!