a word about Spiritual Warfare
In closing these brief letters, I need to touch on spiritual warfare. There are multitudes of ministries that teach on this, but I want you to understand what the text says as it is clear and simple when understood in context.
I want to leave you with a simple understanding to work from, as spiritual warfare is something that will affect you for the rest of your life, whether you understand it or not. Paul has one of the clearest teachings in scripture on this, so let’s look at him for a moment.
When Paul was rescued by the soldiers in Ephesus until his confinement for two years in Rome, he had a great opportunity to observe Roman soldiers in any number of capacities. At a moment’s notice, they were prepared to do battle. It was their armor that made them constantly ready for any occasion. Paul saw this and drew from that example what Christians must also do to be ready for any occasion.
Paul noticed as he looked at the armor, the importance of the waist band, the breast plate, the shoes on their feet, the shield, the helmet, and the sword. They needed all of them on at the same time because just one wouldn’t do and leave them vulnerable. As he considered the Christian, he understood how each of these pieces of armor was needed for the Christian to be in place at the same time because just one wouldn’t do and leave them vulnerable also.
Now let’s look at the text.
Ephesians 6:10-20 (Historical Highway) Finally, my brethren, be strong in Kyrios, the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of Theos, the Triune God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, the false accuser of the believers. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore, take up the whole armor of Theos, the Triune God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of Pneuma, the Spirit, which is the word of Theos, the Triune God, praying always with all prayer and supplication, in Pneuma, the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints, and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul starts his instruction with a reminder of whose strength we are to rely on. Be strong “in the Lord” and by this is a reminder not to rely on our own strength or the flesh as it is referred to in scripture. Strength for spiritual warfare can only come from the Lord. It is not in the nature of man to produce this strength. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us.
The next thing Paul tells us to do is “put on the whole armor of God”. When the whole armor is in place, then and only then you will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The wiles of the devil simply mean the “methods” of the devil, or to his “lying in wait” for an opportune time to attack.
Then Paul emphasizes again that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, that is people, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. In a word, against spiritual beings in another dimension. Only God’s power would be effective in that arena. That is what we are up against. Jesus showed us that He had authority over the beings in this realm when He walked on the earth as a man. Then by giving the Holy Spirit to those who ‘believe’ after His resurrection, we can be equipped to walk as He walked here on the earth.
Understanding of all that has proceeded, Paul tells us to put on the whole armor of God, so that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Now he uses his understanding of the Roman armor and translates its use to the Christian. He says to gird your waist with truth. Truth is simply the word of God in context and to know the Word of God, you must read it.
Next, you must put on the breastplate of righteousness. As the breastplate covers and protects your vital organs, so righteousness protects all that is vital to being a Christian. Righteousness is walking in the truth that can only be known from His word. In other words, becoming a Christian is learning to walk according to the instructions given in the word of God.
Once you have the truth and are walking in rightlessness, then you need to prepare to walk in preparation of the gospel of peace. The Gospel that we are given is a gospel of peace. As Jesus was a man of peace, so we must be men of peace and be prepared to teach the gospel of peace as given in His word. This cannot be done by man’s ways of manipulation and rule, deceit and lying, as we see in our world today. Man’s ways are not God’s way. Becoming a Christian means learning to do things according to Gods instructions in His word.
Next Paul instructs us to take up the helmet of salvation. Salvation is of God and cannot be obtained by good works or any other effort by man. Salvation can only come from God by His means and that was provided by the finished work of Jesus on the cross, His death and resurrection. That is the basis of our salvation and our belief and we must learn to walk in it and in it alone.
Paul then tells us to take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Faith is simply believing the word of God and the work of Jesus. Being double minded, as James puts it, is not acceptable. Being double minded is trying to have a Christian belief on some things and believing as the world believes in other things. One must believe what the word of God has clearly stated whether about God or man’s condition. This acts as the Roman shield to protect us from the flaming darts or as we understand them, the fiery accusations against us whether from men or directly from the devil.
Finally, Paul tells us we must take up the helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit. As the helmet protects the head so the experience of salvation protects the believers mind. When we are confident of our salvation, we are sure about life and when it is finished, eternity. Being sure of our salvation, that God has forgiven us and Jesus paid for our sins on the cross is essential for walking rightly.
When we are walking as God intended, we are to take up the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. The word of God is to be used in either a simple knowing to assure us that we are on the right path or it is the proclaiming what the right path is.
This is the armor of God that Paul is speaking of and we must have all of it to be effective. But Paul isn’t finished yet.
He concludes praying always with all prayer and supplication, in the Spirit and being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints is the last thing to be done. A person who has the word of God and has put on the whole armor of God will also see the necessity of being prayerful for his fellow heirs in the kingdom of God. By this means we are taking our rightful place in the kingdom of God and by prayer we further its influence and protect the ones we love.
Now may God Himself bless and guide you as you take this brief paper as a beginning of your understanding of spiritual warfare.
Captain Rick, a fellow soldier of Jesus