||Solution to the conflict||Applies to:|
|Rom. 7:7-25||The old nature & the new nature||Believe the Gospel and be sealed||A quickened soul that is not sealed|
|Gal. 5:16-25||The flesh & the Spirit||Give the Spirit its proper place||A Christian that is in a bad state|
|Eph. 6:10-20||A Christian & the Devil||Put on the whole armor of God||A Christian that is in a good state|
The Conflict we will Face (6:10-20)
Understand that it is a spiritual battle. To be clear, the conflict that we are engaged in as Christians is not a physical fight. Paul tells us that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, etc.” (2 Cor. 10:4). The inheritance is spiritual, the fight is spiritual, and so the armor is spiritual as well.
Things We Need to do before We Can “Stand” in Battle (vv.10-13)
The Armor of God: Preparation for the Battle (vv.14-18)
The loins were traditionally considered to be the seat of a person's strength. In modern terminology, we might refer to it as our "core". We will be strong in battle if we are wearing the girdle of truth. The loins also represent the inner affections and movements of the heart (Psalm 51:6). In Biblical times, men wore long robes that needed to be girded for physical activity, or they would prevent movement. The girdle also securely fastens the garment to one's body. An example is the young man who had a "linen cloth cast about his naked body" (Mark 14:51). His garment easily came off in public and he was naked. To be girded with the girdle of truth means having the power of truth applied to everything that takes place in our affections. We could summarize it briefly as follows: the girdle of truth is the constant application of the truth of God to one's self. It is the first piece of the armor because if we get this wrong, we get everything wrong. It comes first in the same way the Parable of the Sower comes first in Matt. 13. When we read the Word, do we let its power affect us? Do we let it judge us? This is not knowing doctrine, but truth practically applied. God’s Word needs to have its full application in our lives. Much of what God tells us in His Word are unseen truths, but they need to be applied or we are not properly girded. If we are not properly girded, our garments will be dragging in the mire of this world, our thoughts will be wandering. But when we put on the girdle of truth, then our heart is in the right place, ready for service. An example of this is Achan, who did not have on the girdle of truth, and therefore his affections went out after the accursed thing.
The breastplate of righteousness is practical righteousness with God. Are we right with God on the inside? Having the breastplate on will do two things: (1) ensure we have a good conscience, and (2) ensure that the ministry is not blamed. Unless a man has a good conscience, he will be a coward, and afraid of being detected. If we are inconsistent Satan will be sure to bring it up, and we will be ineffective soldiers. Imagine a preacher (we don’t have to imagine) who preaches about separation from the world, but is not walking in practical righteousness. The world will say “He is no better than us” and immediately Satan has a victory, and the ministry is nullified. An upright walk before God will ward off the attacks of Satan to “blame the ministry” (see 2 Cor. 6:3).
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we carry the spirit and character of Christ through this world, which knows nothing of peace. The shoes of peace are the spirit of Christ in our life seen by others as we walk through the world. Also, it is hard to be vigilant when your feet are not protected. Neglecting the shoes of peace will make us more likely to be swayed by every wind of doctrine. There is a clear allusion to Isa. 52:7, which says, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace.” Clearly, that scripture refers to the messengers of the Gospel of the kingdom who go out with news that the King has returned! So precious to the hiding remnant will those tidings be that the very feet of the runners will be to them a beautiful sight. In the same way, the daily walk of believers should be characterized by a remarkable steadiness that will be seen by others in this world. It is the stabilizing influence of the Gospel. The emphasis in this verse is on the word "peace" not on the word "gospel".
Once the heart is right, then we are told about the shield of faith, by which we can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. The shield of faith is an attitude of complete confidence in God. It is the first line of defense. Read Psalm 91:1-5. God is greater than Satan in both power and wisdom. Satan may launch his darts, but they cannot penetrate the shield of faith. The "darts" may involve doubts and accusations which Satan uses to assault the believer. We need to remember that all the power of Satan is broken. Christ has gone through death to “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil”. This is why we are not told to overcome the devil – because Christ already has – but instead we are to “resist” him, and he will flee from us. When resisted, Satan meets Christ in us and runs away. If we fight Satan with human determination, we will give in to his demands. We do not need to stand in the power of our own might, but simply look to Christ who said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Faith says, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Note that the shield extinguishes Satan’s darts. At the moment of attack, we may not be able to exercise the sword of the Spirit, but the shield of faith immediately takes away the urgent threat to our person.
The helmet of salvation is the enjoyment of our full salvation; the intelligence of what has already been done for us. We know Christ has defeated Satan, therefore we know the outcome of the battle. We need to constantly go back to the foundation, the finished work of Christ. Our salvation includes the future salvation of the believer, which is the Lord’s Coming for His saints. We get that in 1 Thessalonians 5:8; "and for an helmet, the hope of salvation", where we notice that the word "hope" is used. A helmet covers the soldier's head, which is a critical area to keep protected. The head of course represents our mind and our thoughts. One of the most dangerous weapons known to man is the idea. Consider how the Germans used the ideas of Vladimir Lenin to bring down the Russian Empire, and take Russia out of World War I. The impact of those ideas, planted in the minds of the Russian working class, were far more effective than any amount of military force. In a similar way, Satan would like to deter us through spiritual and philosophical ideas that run contrary to the Word of God. How careful we need to be with our thoughts! Keeping the work of Christ and our full salvation before us will be like a helmet for our mind, to block out those influences that are designed by our enemy to derail us from the pathway.
Now we can fight, having put on and taken the preceding five pieces of armor, being sheltered and shielded. We dare not fight until we are sheltered and shielded. We now take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God always to be exercised in a spirit of dependence. It is the first and only offensive weapon. The Word of God is "powerful" and "sharp" (Heb. 4:12). The Word alone can reach the heart and conscience. How wonderful that the believer can "hold forth the word of life" (Phil 2:16), not presenting our own thoughts and opinions, but what God has said.
No matter how active a soldier is, it will do no good if he hasn’t been communicating with the Commander and Chief. Remember the Captain of the Lord’s Host? The battle is His, and can only be won “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”. We need complete dependence… the whole package: (1) the Word of God and (2) prayer. Prayer is mentioned in connection with the whole armor, but especially the Sword of the Spirit. These two things are found running together through Scripture: the Word of God and prayer. Much of the battle is fought out beforehand in God's presence by prayer. Prayer is not exactly a piece of the armor, but the spirit or attitude in which we are to stand in battle.There are four all’s in this verse that we need to take note of:
- All seasons. Prayer should be done at all times; when things are going well, and when there are challenges.
- All prayer and supplication. Prayer is generally connected with requests made for daily needs, while supplications are more earnest. To supplicate is to earnestly beg the Lord for something. It is an expression of dependence and confidence.
- All perseverance. We are to pray tenaciously. The expression “watching thereunto” has the thought of expecting the prayer to be answered (1 Kings 18:43, James 5:17).
- All saints. Our prayers should not be limited to those who we know or are in fellowship with. We need to pray for the whole body of Christ.