Text: Ephesians 6:10-18
We live in a fallen world that is overcome by sin and controlled by Satan. How are we expected to live victoriously when it seems that evil has the upper hand? Thankfully God has provided us with the means to be “more than conquers” (Romans 8:37); by kitting us out with heavenly armour, which is more than sufficient for even the worst onslaught of Hell. It is this fact that Satan wants to hide in the darkness and keep Christians weak and defeated.
Strong in the Lord
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (:10).
Notice it is “in the Lord” that we are strong. Our spiritual strength for spiritual warfare cannot be sourced anywhere else. Not through rules, regulations or rituals, but in Christ alone. Faith in Christ and the cross enables the power of the Holy Spirit in our souls. If we want God’s “might” to be “strong” then we must be “in” Christ.
Armour of God
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (:11).
Not just some or most of it, but all of the armour of God. It is God’s own armour not something designed by religion. If we don this armour we can stand firm against anything the devil throws at us. This is the “might” to be “strong” to “stand” regardless of Satan’s tricks, plans and stratagems. This is contrasted with Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive”.
“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” (:12).
Our battle is not against human foes, for our enemy is thousands of times stronger than that. Here is the only arena where the believer is meant to engage in warfare, though we recognise that the devil mostly uses man to do his dirty work. Notice the prefix “against” before each of the forces of evil mentioned. We do not stand with them and nor do we retreat from them. Every level of Satan’s hosts, from the lowest to the highest, can be overcome by the Christian who wears the divine armour. Even Satan is overcome in exactly the same way. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). So all of our enemies, including every false teaching inspired by Hell, can be put to flight.
Able to withstand
“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” (:13).
This is why we need such divine empowerment; to “withstand” and conquer any and all of the satanic hordes in the world today. We “stand” and “withstand”. We do not allow Satan an inch, let alone a foothold, in our lives or in the church. This infers that we must never compromise what we know to be true. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Ephesians 5:11). Why do we need the trinkets of sin if we are blessed from Heaven? “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We can overcome the forces in “high places” because we are with Christ in “heavenly places” … “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).
Truth and Righteousness
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (:14).
This “truth” must be kept in context with what Paul has been talking about in the letter, that is, the message of Christ and what He accomplished for us on the cross. Nevertheless, we cannot discount the fact that the whole of Scriptural truth must be upheld by the true believer in Christ. “Righteousness” is that which only God can give us through Christ. We have no righteousness but through Him. Truth and righteousness protects the believer, therefore they should never be removed.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (:15).
Only the message of Christ and Him crucified can bring peace to us and the world. This means that we ought to be ever preaching and teaching the gospel in this world. “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15 see Isaiah 52:7). No wonder Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:14 that Christ “is our peace”.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (:16).
Faith in what? Is it faith in rituals, good deeds or religious duty? No, the focus of our faith must forever be Christ and His work on the cross alone. Satan hates this kind of faith for he know that through it the believer can overcome him. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).
Salvation and the Word
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (:17).
This helmet is the assurance of salvation in Christ. One of Satan’s tricks is to convince the believer that some past or present sin means that he or she is not saved. Yes sin must be dealt with, but we must ever remember that Christ came to redeem sinners. Our assurance is not founded on acts of obedience or the many do’s and don’ts of religion, instead it is in the atonement of Christ. The “word of God” is the entire Bible story, and the story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is Jesus Christ. We defend the whole Bible and we use it to defeat the enemy.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (:18).
Prayer is not just for asking for things for ourselves, instead it is used to pray for other Christians embroiled in spiritual warfare. Those who are really in a battle are they who are being persecuted for their faith in Islamic and Communist lands. Prayer also enables us to receive instruction and guidance from the Holy Spirit for our own spiritual battles.
There is so much more to be understood from this passage of Scripture. Many large volumes have been written on the subject. Even from this short study, we can see the vital need to be clad in the whole armour of God so that we can be victorious in every spiritual battle. Paul understood the need of this armour since he was in the thick of the battle himself. “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak” (Ephesians 6:19-20). The forces of Hell were trying to silence the message of the gospel, but Paul was standing firm in the power of Christ. His faith told him that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross dispels the moral and spiritual darkness in this world. The believer, valiantly standing firm in the armour God has provided, is the answer to the darkness in our generation too.