Sealed and Warmed
Rev. 9:4 They were told not to damage the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.
To give a clear explanation of this scripture is exceedingly difficult. Nearly every commentator has a different perspective, except for their understanding for those who are "sealed." There is a distinct difference between those followers of God who are sealed in him, and those who are not. Too often there are those who call themselves Christians, and in the case of John's time -- there would have been the Israelites who believed they were "saved" because they were following the law, and these people believe they are okay spiritually without having a personal relationship with God. These people are the hypocrites and they have not been sealed -- therefore they are not immune from eternal destruction.
Interestingly the angel is told not to damage any of the green growth. Could it be that there is a connection between being "sealed" and "green growth?" Could it be that those who have been sealed in God are those who are growing spiritually and producing spiritual fruit -- or green growth -- in their own lives? Those who will survive are those who have given their lives over to Christ and who know that they have the "seal of God on their foreheads."
John Wesley was a great spiritual leader in the 18th century and yet during the early years of his faith he struggled. It was not until he met a group of Moravians that he discovered that there were those who could have assurance of their faith in Christ. He was moved by the simple faith and trust of these followers of Christ. They seemed to have a peace about them that he knew he had never experienced. Buoyed by their faith he began to seek the Lord in earnestness for his own personal experience -- for this assurance of his salvation. That assurance came on an evening on Aldersgate Street in London when suddenly his heart was "strangely warmed." It was at that moment that John realized he had been "sealed."
The religious leaders of John the Apostle's day didn't have the assurance that they were "sealed" and they would be lost on the final days of battle. The message for you and for me is that we can know that we have been sealed -- our hearts can be strangely warmed. We don't have to fear the unknown of the days ahead, whether we are simply talking about our daily lives, or whether we are talking about cataclysmic events. God wants to give us the assurance of our salvation and this is not found in following a legalistic set of rules. The seal -- or the warming comes when we are in such a personal relationship with the Lord that we know that we are his.
John Wesley tried explain what this was like but I believe for each of us it will be a personal experience. We shouldn't try to replicate the experience of others, but instead, we must walk in faith and a daily relationship with the Holy God -- creator of all things. He loves us and cares for us and wants all of us to be saved. We can be sealed in him. We can have our hearts strangely warmed.
Lord, thank you for the assurance of salvation. Amen.