So far over the last 38 days we have been considering the work of the Holy Spirit in the past and more so in the present. Now however as we conclude our study on the Holy Spirit we must turn our attentions to the future, for a number of new testament passages suggest that there is a connection between what the Holy Spirit does for us now and what he will do in the age to come. Hebrews 6:4-5, for example indicates that our present experience of the Holy Spirit is nothing less than a taste of the power of the age to come.
Also considering Romans 8:11, we can see our present experience of the Holy Spirit (the Spirit which raised Christ from the dead now lives in you), is directly related to what the Holy Spirit will do for us in the future (give life to our mortal bodies). The Holy Spirit is both a foretaste and a guarantee of the age to come. To illustrate this, Paul uses three metaphors, relating to the Holy Spirit and the future. He sees the Holy Spirit as a pledge, a seal and as first fruits.
In 1 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, and Ephesians 1:14 Paul refers to the Holy Spirit as a pledge. The Greek word he uses (originally a Hebrew word) is arrabon. This word has a number of meanings in English, but can be seen in scripture in the following passages.
Genesis 38:15-18, where the women Judah thinks is a prostitute asks for his arrabon as a guarantee that he will send the payment. In this example we can see the pledge as token of a greater gift to come and the evidence that a promise had been made.
With this in mind arrabon can also mean ‘an engagement ring’, a visible evidence that a promise has been made. This is very much how Paul uses arrabon. If we understand that the church is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:22-23), we could think of the Holy Spirit as the church’s engagement ring, Christ’s gift to his bride pointing forward to the day when she will be united with him at the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelations 19:7-9)
The pledge leads us to the next closely related theme, the Holy Spirit as a seal, which we will consider tomorrow alone with as the first fruits.