“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
The most common definition of the word ‘protestant’ is ‘one who protests’, but that is not the way it was understood when it was first coined. In the 1500s it referred to those who “reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church” (Websters Dictionary). Protestantism today is like a brand new white shirt that gradually yellowed until it became orange. A Protestant is not a member of the Orange Lodge or some Reformed wing of the church, instead he or she is someone who accept that the Scriptures alone are the final authority of faith and practice on earth. A Catholic priest once summed it up very well when he said, “You Protestants believe everything the Bible says!” Therefore a Protestant is a born-again, Bible-believing Christian.
We do not protest against flesh and blood
The Geneva Bible states in its commentary on Ephesians 6:12, “Our chiefest and mightiest enemies are invisible; so that we may not think that our chiefest conflict is with men.” As soon as we start wrestling against men and women, no matter how sinful their practices, we are destroying those we are trying to save from the true enemy. “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Once Satan has the church running around with placards denouncing everything it does not like, it is no longer in ‘hand-to-hand combat’ with him and the evil spirits that control men. So not only are we found wrestling against others, but we are defeating ourselves in the process.
Our victory can never be won by fighting against flesh and blood, but wrestling with the powers of darkness. Nevertheless, we cannot win the battle unless we go in the strength of the Lord. We must abide in Christ, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). We cannot wrestle with those whose sphere is in the “high places” if we are not with Christ, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). We cannot overcome the “rulers of the darkness of this world” unless we “walk in the light, as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7). The “armour of God” is Christ, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). Christ’s armour, when He walked this earth, was truth, righteousness, prayer and faithfulness.
We are in spiritual warfare. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). This calls for discipline on our part, which means that we must keep in shape. We need to be “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16) and not become caught up with the secular, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4).
Prayer not placards
Since our fight is not against flesh and blood we must determine where the true battle lies. Our spiritual weapons are mentioned in Ephesians 6:13-18, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” The Holy Spirit did not give us a placard to carry!
Why is it we can rally a large group to protest against abortion, homosexuality or some other abomination in society, but only muster a few people for a prayer meeting? We need to pray that the sinner would come to salvation and be willing to preach to him from the word of God. Our society is not going to be reformed by those who are anti-this or anti-that, but by those who put the teaching of Scripture into practice and pray. “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). We are not here to win arguments against the Papacy, Islam, the government of our land, or others who deny the truth, instead we endeavour “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith” (Acts 26:18). We were once like them, so the God who saved us can do the same for them, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13) … “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
The problem with those who protest is that it is a part-time activity, an occasional pastime. The true Protestant lives every moment of every day in dedication to God. He is not a fair-weather friend of Christ but a follower that “endureth to the end” (Matthew 10:22), regardless of what struggles, conflicts and battles he must face. Our commission is to save the lost not destroy the wounded. The Lord has not promised us that our fellow man would be crushed under our feet, but that “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).