Paul concludes his letter to the Ephesians beginning with the exhortation, “Finally, let the Lord and His mighty power make you strong.” He has urged the Ephesians and us to walk worthy of the calling to which we have been called and shown us how Christ—the Head of of the body of Christ fits us together to work in His service (Eph 4:1-13). In that view, he exhorts us not to walk in darkness as the heathens of the world, but to walk in the light. “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for the fruit that the light produces consists of every form of goodness, righteousness, and truth” (Eph 5:8-9 ISV).
Paul is very aware of the ruler of the world, the devil and his evil forces of darkness and their formidable influence. He knows, the Lord God and His mighty power gives us the strength to stand against the forces of darkness arrayed against us. Paul helps us picture how by urging us to put on the whole armor of God. We put on this armor by partaking of the Spirit and walking in what God made us when we responded to the God’s call, “the divine invitation to embrace salvation in the kingdom of God” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon).
Put on God’s whole armor, stand tall in the Messiah and pray
Finally, let the Lord and His mighty power make you strong. Put on God’s whole armor, and you will be able to stand against the devil’s tricky ways. You’re not fighting against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and lords of this dark world, against the evil spirits that are above. This is why you should take God’s whole armor; then you can resist when things are at their worst and having done everything, you can hold your ground. Stand, then, with truth as a belt fastened around your waist, with righteousness covering you as a breastplate, and with shoes on your feet, ready to bring the good news of peace. Besides all these, take faith as the shield with which you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take salvation as your helmet, and the Spirit’s sword, which is God’s Word.
Pray at all times in the Spirit, using every kind of prayer. Be alert and keep at it continually as you pray for all the holy people. For me too, that when I start to talk I’ll be told what to say and will boldly tell the hidden truth of the good news. (for which I’m an ambassador in chains) just as boldly as I must tell it. Ephesians 6:10-20
Standing against the devils tricky ways
We are fighting against the schemes of the devil in a spiritual war waged by kingdom of darkness. The devil is a deceiver. he and his minions use ingrained fear to deceive those who rebel against God into thinking all kinds of harmful thoughts. Cunningly, the devil works on natural inclinations to cause the unsaved to slip, flounder, and fall prey to his rule. Such thoughts appeal to evil lusts and establish their ways of the world, their values and their worldview. Fear of death is the primary tool the devil uses for his dominion of the world. Pagans are tyrannized by the fear of death.
We, who trust in Messiah Jesus, have no fear of death. Jesus broke that power over us. “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage (Heb 2:14-15 RSV).
The devil rules the world but can’t rule over saints. We “once followed the ways of this present world and the ruler whose power is in the air, the spirit who is now working in the people who disobey” (Eph 2:3). Now, we give “thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:12-14).
You’re fighting against rulers of darkness
You’re not fighting against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and lords of this dark world, against the evil spirits that are above. Ephesians 6:13
God’s power is far, far greater than theirs. Paul prayed to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ that the eyes of our hearts would be opened to “the vast resources of His power working in us who believe., It is the same mighty power with which He worked in Christ, raised Him from the dead, and made Him sit at His right in heaven, above all rulers, authorities, powers, lords, and any name that can be mentioned, not only in this world but also in the next. And He put everything under His feet, and gave Him as the Head of everything to the church, which is His body, having all that is in Him who fills everything in every way” (Eph1:15-23).
God’s whole armor empowers us to hold our ground
The power of the forces of darkness is formidable. “This is why you should take God’s whole armor; then you can resist when things are at their worst and having done everything, you can hold your ground” (Eph 4:13).
The gospel of the kingdom prepares us for real life, which includes righteousness, peace and joy in the midst of suffering, hurts, wounds, heartache and death. So, we put on God’s whole armor and take up the spiritual shield, helmet, and the Spirit’s sword. So, when things are at their worst and having done everything, you can hold your ground.
Stand, then, “with truth as a belt fastened around your waist.”
The truth helps us stand against the devil’s tricky ways. The truth is, “In Him/Christ, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph 1:13).
One of the main reasons many Christians don’t stand and hold their ground is because the message of truth is only partially being proclaimed. Instead, many pastors major on the most popular church message—mans’ watered down easy version of the gospel. By listening to popular messages, one easily gets the idea no one is required to clean up, forsake former ways of living, and put on the new self.
“But that is not what you learned from Christ’s teachings. You have certainly heard his message and have been taught his ways. The truth is in Jesus. You were taught to change the way you were living. The person you used to be will ruin you through desires that deceive you. However, you were taught to have a new attitude. You were also taught to become a new person created to be like God, truly righteous and holy” (Eph 4:20-24 GW).
Stand, then, “with righteousness covering you as a breastplate.”
Become new in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, which is created to be like God, righteous and holy in the truth. Ephesians 4:24
Once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, since light produces everything good and righteous and true. Ephesians 5:8-9
Our righteousness is God’s justice in action Romans 3:19-26
Stand, then, “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”
These shoes indicate preparation for war with evil spiritual forces. We are prepared with the gospel of peace. “And He/Christ Jesus “came with the good news of peace to you who were far away and to us who were near, since by one Spirit He enables both to come to the Father” (Eph 2:17).
Stand, then, “take faith as the shield with which you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
For the church, ‘the shield of faith’ means total commitment to and dependence on Jesus Christ (not on homeland defense or some ‘-ism’ or even ‘Christianity’). Personal relationship with the living, liberating Jesus shared in kingdom community is the best defense against ideology. Howard Snyder, Community of the King
You are saved by a gift of grace which you get by faith. You didn’t do it. It is God’s gift. It isn’t because of anything you have done, or you might boast. He has made us what we are, creating us in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God long ago planned for us to live. Ephesians 2:4-10
For this reason I kneel before the “Father” from whom every group in heaven and on earth gets the name of ‘family’ and ask Him, as He is rich in glory, to give you this; that His Spirit will inwardly strengthen you with power, Christ will live in your hearts by faith, and you will be firmly rooted and built up in love. Ephesians 3:14-17.
Stand then, “take salvation as your helmet.”
The helmet of salvation is the headgear that protects our mind, emotions and will. With a renewed mind, we know for sure, we are saved by grace.
God has called us, invited us, to embrace salvation in His kingdom. We can stand sure of our salvation, for when we embraced salvation in the kingdom of God, He made us accepted us in the Beloved/Jesus. See Eph 1:3-7
We can be sure of our salvation, for God has given us the inheritance of the kingdom and sealed, guaranteed, His gracious gift to the heirs of salvation with His Spirit. “In Him/Christ, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph 1:13-14 NASB).
So, we take salvation, which gives us the determination to stand against the worst the devil and his dominions can deliver.
Stand then and take “the Spirit’s sword, which is God’s Word.”
God’s Word here is translated from the Greek word rehma , meaning that which is or has been uttered by the living voice. When Jesus’ was tempted by the devil, He answered, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word/rehma that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4 KJV). True, many of God’s words spoken first through the prophets were later recorded and became part of the written word or holy Scriptures. But here, the emphasis is on a specific word from God as spoken by the Spirit through the mouth of a believer.
An utterance of God supplied directly and immediately by the Spirit becomes the sword which can rout demons. This is one of the surprising facts taught in the Bible. The gift of prophecy, manifested in the power of the Holy Spirit, can reveal the secrets of a man’s heart and humble him before God (1 Cor 14:24,25). A word of wisdom or of knowledge spoken with charismatic force can pierce the resistance of the most hardened sinner and bring deliverance to his captive soul. Even the written word or Bible only becomes effective against the devil when we speak a portion of it against him in the authority of Christ and in the power of the Spirit.
We take up the sword by digging into God’s grace/charis speaking forth a word of God quickened by the Holy Spirit.
Martin Luther wrote “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” the battle hymn of the Reformation, in which we sing “The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.
Pray at all times
After urging the saints in Ephesus to put on the whole armor of God, Paul exhorts “pray for all the holy people. For me too.” Yes, we should pray for all the saints. Thus, God empowers us collectively as we grow up in all ways into Messiah Jesus. This is extremely hard for lone, straggling, individual Christians. We gain encouragement, resolve and strength in numbers. God has made us His people, His saints to work and fight together as the community of the King. It is not just between the Lord and me; it is us gathered together in the Messiah. Therefore, we pray for all the holy people.
You should know what what is happening to me and how I’m getting along. And so Tychicus, our dear fellow Christian and loyal helper to the Lord will tell you everything. I’m sending him to you to let you know about us and to encourage us. Ephesians 6:21-22
Paul’s sealing blessing
Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. Ephesians 6:23-24 KJV
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from An American Translation
Ephesians series 1 Grace and peace to Gods holy ones 2 God has a plan for all who trust in Jesus 3 Our Personal Identity and Purpose 4 Jews and Gentiles made one in Christ 5 Growing up to work in the body of Christ 6 Walking as God’s dear children 7 Godly family and work relationships 8 Let the Lord make you strong