Ephesians 6:10–24comment (0)
November 25, 2010
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Ephesians 6:10–24
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Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Evil dominates much of today’s world and is a threat to Christians. Many Christians are unaware of the help God affords us for this never-ending spiritual battle. He provides us with unmatched spiritual armor so we can resist evil. If we use it, then we will be prepared for anything Satan shoots at us. We will be safe in any skirmish and will be standing after the battle. This week’s lesson details the spiritual armor and urges us to use it.
Get Stronger (10–13)
The apostle Paul called attention first to our position in Christ. Our spiritual strength lies in Jesus and our union with Him. The command “Be strong” does not mean to strengthen ourselves. The verb means to be made strong by someone else. No Christian ever succeeds when he or she proceeds on his or her own power. The believer must receive power from outside himself or herself. It is God’s strength that makes a Christian strong. This conflict is with spiritual forces, not human resources. Paul was telling us that we have no strength, weapons or wisdom except in the Lord. Our enemies fall into four categories: principalities, powers, world forces of darkness and spiritual forces of wickedness. Their sphere of operation is the “heavenlies” from which they have access to earth. Their leader is a strategist par excellence, and we are warned against his schemes (similar to guerrilla warfare tactics). Victory over such spiritual odds requires more than our moral strength. We must use divine resources, the invulnerable coat of spiritual armor prepared for us.
Stand Firm (14–17)
“Stand firm” means that we hold our position in Christ. No assault will dislodge us from continuing to trust Christ. The spiritual equipment given by the Lord is needed to repulse the enemy’s attack. For every point of Satan’s attack, God provides defensive armor. Each piece of armor is a reference to God’s Word. First is the belt of truth (Isa. 11:5). The belt, or girdle, was the part of the soldier’s equipment that held the other pieces of armor in place, guaranteeing freedom of movement. As the girdle gathered loose clothing into control, so truth has an integrating effect giving a sense of control and balance to the whole of life; it is truth and sincerity based on Scripture. Second is the breastplate of righteousness (Isa. 59:17). This breastplate protected the back and front from the neck to the middle, especially the heart. It refers to imputed righteousness from Christ, our positional righteousness that we appropriated by faith in Him and our practical righteousness worked out in irreproachable conduct. The third piece of armor is the shoes of the gospel of peace (Isa. 52:7). The emphasis is on a secure footing for standing in combat and pursuing the enemy. A soldier’s shoes must be adequate for all types of terrain as well as suitable for combat. The meaning is a secure footing on a sure foundation, which, of course, is the gospel message, which gives us stability in living. The fourth piece of armor is the shield of faith (Gen. 15:6). This word refers to the “door shield,” a large shield for overall protection. The shield’s size provides protection for the whole body. It was used against the “fiery darts” of the devil, arrows in combat dipped in burning tar. Faith in God’s Word extinguishes the arrows of temptation. The fifth piece of armor is the helmet of salvation (Isa. 59:17). Salvation is a marvelous head covering, protecting our minds against the intrusions of false teaching and giving us assurance of our salvation. The sixth piece is the sword of the Spirit, the only offensive weapon; it refers to the entire Word of God. Jesus gave us a clear demonstration of its use in His own temptation (Matt. 4:1–10).
Pray Always (18–20)
The believer needs to watch and pray on behalf of others. This, too, points to the battlefield. Just as combat troops must have supply lines bring in material, munitions and food to them, so prayer brings God’s spiritual supplies to Christians.
Be Encouraged (21–24)
These concluding verses of Paul’s letter expressed concern for the well-being of others. We can encourage each other to resist evil.