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The Holy Spirit: God’s “down payment” on eternity

March 8, 2024

Daily Scripture

2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:14

2 Corinthians 1
22 God also sealed us and gave the Spirit as a down payment in our hearts.

2 Corinthians 5
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.

Ephesians 1
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.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

In today’s three passages, the apostle Paul used the Greek word arrabon (“down payment”). Scholar William Barclay said, “There are many Greek commercial documents still extant in which the word occurs. A woman sells a cow and receives so many drachmae as arrabōn. Some dancing girls are hired for a public entertainment and are paid so much in advance. Paul is saying the experience of the Holy Spirit which we have in this world is a foretaste of heaven; and it is the guarantee that some day we will enter into full possession of the blessedness of God.” *

  • Ephesians said even the best worship, praise, service or caring times the Holy Spirit gives us are only God’s “down payment,” signs that our world’s full renewal will come. What are some ways you are experiencing the down payment of life in the Spirit? Are you freer and less a slave today than before you met Jesus? How can you participate in making your church an attractive preview of the eternal love, joy and grace that await you?
  • “When God anoints someone with the spirit, Paul declares, this is the first part of the gift which will be completed in the resurrection itself. If the Christian hope is founded on Jesus’ own resurrection, that hope becomes a real possession within us through God’s gift of the spirit.” ** What a key truth to understand—every positive change the Spirit brings in your life is a “down payment” on your eternal resurrection life with God! What resurrection foretastes have you experienced recently?

Gracious God, how I look forward to eternity with you. Thank you that your presence with me in the Holy Spirit lets me begin to “taste” what that glorious eternity will be like. Amen.

GPS Insights

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller serves as Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for nearly two decades, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

When I lived in New York, I worked at a specialty shop that served the yummiest cheeses and chocolates. We were instructed to always have samples available. This was my favorite part. I loved lighting up someone’s day with an unexpected, tasty treat. Our clientele was a mix of gleeful tourists and bitter New Yorkers just trying to go about their day. When I would offer samples, tourists were always apt to try a few, while the New Yorkers tended to brush the offer aside like they were shooing away a fly. However, those who actually stopped to purchase the treats weren’t the lingering tourists but the hardened New Yorkers who, upon tasting the gift, assumed the biggest smile on their faces accompanied by sheer surprise in their eyes (and most likely tastebuds). They didn’t know they needed a little pick-me-up–a reminder that joy, peace, and comfort are still alive and well when we allow them to come to us.

I think of the Holy Spirit in this way. Always present to remind us of joy in the midst of bitterness and apathy. Like a promise of what that glorious eternity will be like. I grew up in a charismatic church, so the idea of the Holy Spirit was not foreign. I encountered many aspects and witnessed the Holy Spirit moving in powerful ways. But throughout my life, what has resonated with me the most is when I’m head down, bitter, or worse, numb to life. That is when I encounter a tasty treat of the Holy Spirit through a friend’s phone call or text—through kind words and grace offered when not earned. I taste the Holy Spirit in the sweet laughter of my children, my husband’s listening ear, or a beautiful, unexpected song flowing from a chapel piano.

When we feel run down or overwhelmed by life’s hardships, we must lean on the Holy Spirit. Like a delightful free sample of what Resurrection is meant to be and will be, the Holy Spirit comes to help us in our weaknesses. It is respite, restoration, and a reminder set into motion by the loving sacrifice of Jesus that we all matter and are not left alone in this life.

I posed these questions to our middle and high schoolers this past Sunday during Sunday morning classes. Now, I pose them to us collectively:

–What does it look like for you to lean on the Holy Spirit in times of weakness?
–Where are areas of your life where you can invite the Holy Spirit to bring light and love?
–How do you turn to the Holy Spirit when you don’t know what to do or the right words to say?

Oh, weary one! You who are tired and going about your day shooing away the Holy Spirit like a fly. I invite you to stop, taste, and see the promises of the resurrection.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* William Barclay, The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 87.
** Wright, N. T., Paul for Everyone: 2 Corinthians (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 14). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.