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Greek Word Study - Earnest

We were about to buy our very first house. It was a nice house, well worth the $12,000 purchase price, but I had to swallow hard to force out the words, “We’ll take it.”

“Fine,” said the real estate lady. “Would you like to give me your check now?”

“Check?” I thought to myself. “What does she think I'm going to do--just pay for the whole thing?” I wasn’t even sure how we were going to make the $79 mortgage payments! My face must have shown my bewilderment, so she patiently explained about “earnest money,” and I sheepishly wrote out the check.

In the world of the first century the word for earnest money was arrabon (ar rah BONE). The purchaser put down his deposit money to seal a contract. It guaranteed that he would not back out on the contract, for he would then forfeit his arrabon. When the seller accepted this deposit, legal ownership of the property was transferred to the purchaser.

In the New Testament we find that God has given to us the arrabon of the Spirit (2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14) as a down payment on our inheritance in heaven. This means:
1. God has guaranteed to us that He will follow through with all He has promised to do.
2. The first installment is of like kind to the remaining payments. Our fellowship with the Holy Spirit is an exact foretaste of heaven.
3. By our acceptance of the down payment, we have transferred ownership of our lives to God.

There is an interesting footnote to our word arrabon. In modern Greek it has become the word for an engagement ring! What an interesting parallel to the church--the Bride of Christ--¬which is even now anticipating the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb! (Cf. Eph 5:25-27 and Rev 19:7-9)