Friday, March 26, 2021

Christian Warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18)

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." (Ephesians 6:10)

I return today to our study of Ephesians. The whole point of the Gospel, according to Paul, is the salvation of the world. Nothing less than world conquest satisfies Paul, and he has shown us that in Christ we have everything necessary to that end. Thus, he concludes his letter by telling us to arm ourselves for the fray, confident of our victory in Christ.

He tells us to take up the full armor of God, which we will need as new covenant saints because we battle not merely against flesh and blood, as did the saints of Joshua’s day, but also and primarily against the fallen angels of Satan’s army. We have been given greater power and a greater war to fight, but it is a spiritual conflict, and we can only fight it with spiritual weapons.

Although conquest is Paul’s goal, as it also is Christ’s in the Great Commission, Paul actually states that the armor of God will enable us to stand: “Stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then” (vv. 13–14). It seems that if we simply stand firm and are not seduced by the devil, the victory is assured. Christ will turn the hearts of our enemies, and they will join us.

Paul then describes the Christian arrayed in the full panoply of his armor. The description here is interesting because it combines two things. First, Paul draws in general from the garments of the high priest of Israel, speaking of the breastpiece of righteousness, for instance, which was the ephod of the high priest. Second, Paul draws from the normal attire of the Roman soldier of his day. Thus, the Christian is described as a priest fitted for the holy war of prayer and proclamation.

First, we must have the “belt of truth” buckled around our waist (v. 14). Men in the ancient world wore robes, but robes would get in the way during battle. Thus, men put on a belt and pulled their robes up, tucking them into the belt so that they could run fast and fight hard. Paul means that the belt of God’s truth, the Bible, holds all the other aspects of our armor in place. If our actions are not grounded in the truths revealed in Scripture, all areas of life will be weakened.

Next Monday (Lord willing) we shall complete our survey of the Christian’s armor. Consider today what it means to stand firm. When Joseph stood firm, what happened in the heart of Pharaoh? When Daniel stood firm, what happened in the heart of Nebuchadnezzar? If we stand firm today, what will happen in the hearts of our enemies?