Amplified: Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Therefore you must wear the whole armour of God that you may be able to resist evil in its day of power, and that even when you have fought to a standstill you may still stand your ground. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: On this account, take to yourself, at once and once for all, the complete armor of God in order that you may be able to resist in the day, the pernicious day, and having achieved all things, to stand. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: because of this take ye up the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to resist in the day of the evil, and all things having done -- to stand.
EPHESIANS 6:10-18 BY WAYNE BARBER
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON THE FALLEN FLESH
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON RESISTING THE ROARING LION
VERSE BY VERSE EXPOSITION ON THE BATTLE IN OUR MIND
THE METAPHOR OF THE CHRISTIAN SOLDIER
THE AMALEKITES: A PICTURE OF PERSISTENT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
THEREFORE, TAKE UP THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD: dia touto analabete (2PAAM) ten panoplian tou theou: (Ep 6:11-17; 2Cor 10:4)
Therefore (1223) (dia) (remember to always query this term of conclusion which occurs over 1000x in the NAS - Always ask at least what is the author concluding which will force you to re-read the previous context. You will find that this discipline of questioning the text will slow you down and facilitate meditation. In in this case serves as a marker of of something constituting cause thus indicating a reason -- on account of, because of, for the sake of .
Fight, though thy foes increase; fight, till the dawn of peace;
Take up (353) (analambano from ana = up + lambano = take) means literally to take up, to assume. Depending on the context analambano can mean to cause to go up, to lift up and carry away as in the Ascension of Christ (Acts 1:2, 11, 22), to take up in order to carry (Acts 7:43, Eph 6:13, 16), to pick up (someone to take along on a journey - 2Ti 4:11-note), to take aboard a ship (Acts 20:13, 14).
Paul like a military general to his troops commands the believers to take up their armor. The aorist imperative conveys a sense of urgency and demands that one take decisive action. Do this now! Don't delay! So when the battle is the most fierce, the soldier of Christ may still be able to hold his or her position even against the most determined attacks.
Wuest adds that analambano means to...
Analambano is used 69 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen. 24:61; 45:19, 27; 46:5f; 48:1; 50:13; Exod. 4:20; 10:13, 19; 12:32, 34; 19:4; 28:12; Num. 14:1; 23:7, 18; 24:3, 15, 20f, 23; Deut. 1:41; 32:11; 2 Ki. 2:9ff; 2 Chr. 25:28; Est. 5:1; Job 13:14; 17:9; 21:12; 22:22; 27:21; 36:3; 40:10; Ps. 50:16; 72:3; 78:70; 139:9; 146:9; 147:6; Isa. 40:24; 46:4; 63:9; Jer. 4:6; 7:29; 13:20; 46:3; Lam. 3:41; 5:13; Ezek. 2:2; 3:12, 14; 8:3; 10:19; 11:1, 24; 12:6f; 16:61; 43:5; Dan. 2:5; 4:34; Hos. 11:3; Amos 5:26; 7:15; Zech. 5:9)
TDNT notes that analambano in the LXX has such senses as
Analambano is used 13 times in the NT...
Ray Stedman illustrates the importance of full armor in warfare...
Full armor (3833)(panoplia from pás = all, every + hoplon = weapon, originally any tool or implement for preparing a thing, became used in the plural for weapons of warfare) is literally wholly armed and refers to the complete set of instruments used in offensive and defensive war. The literal meaning referred to the full preparation of a foot soldier for offense and defense - the complete suit of armor. Certainly Paul could claim knowledge of the Roman soldier’s armor, being chained to one for some three years.
Don't miss the qualifying phrase "of God". It is His armor, not ours. He provides the full armor, but believers must recognize the battle and implement God’s sufficient provision by faith and obedience. Trust and obey...there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey!
Vincent commenting on full armor writes that there is...
God has supplied the complete armor, but He expects the Christian to put it on. We need the divine equipment in its completeness, without the lack of any single part. God has not sent us out into battle without everything we need at our disposal. However, there is no armor for the back -- we are expected to face our foe!
This Greek word gives us our English word, panoply, which refers to a full suit of armor; ceremonial attire; something forming a protective covering; a magnificent or impressive array; display of all appropriate appurtenances.
TDNT writes that...
Puritan Thomas Brooks alluded to the full armor when he wrote that...
SO THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RESIST: hina dunethete (2PAPS) antistenai (AAN): (Eph 5:6,16; Ecclesiastes 12:1; Amos 6:3; Luke 8:13; Revelation 3:10)
So that (2443) (hina) introduces a purpose clause, the reason we are to take up the full armor is now explained. Whenever you encounter a "so that," pause to ponder the purpose.
Will be able (1410) (dunamai [word study] - see study of related word dunamis) means to have power by virtue of inherent ability and resources. Note the passive voice which indicates that this is an internal enablement provided by an outside source, the Spirit of God. The tense is aorist so Paul is saying that we will be enabled to effectively resist.
Notice that Paul uses dunamai three times in this short treatise on spiritual warfare and each time it is in the passive voice indicating an external source of enablement to which the believer must be willing to yield and receive from the Holy Spirit! (Ep 6:11, 13, 16-See notes Ep 6:11, 13; 16) In other words, attitudes such as self confidence, self sufficiency and self assurance, etc, have to be cast off like filthy garments of unrighteousness if we are to receive the necessary divine empowerment God graciously makes available.
Evil (4190) (poneros from pónos = labor, sorrow, pain) refers to evil and means active evil in opposition to good. When Satan is referred to as the "Evil One", the NT writers chose poneros rather than kakos, this latter word basically denoting a lack of something (it is not as it ought to be and thus is bad) but also used to refer evil in a moral sense.
Day (2250) (hemera) is literally the time space between dawn and dark or the whole 24 hours. In the present context, day refers more to a point or period of time.
Wuest writes that...
The definite article before “day,” marks it out as a particular day, probably, as Expositors says, “the day of violent temptation and assault, whenever that may come to us during the present time.” (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Resist (436) (anthistemi from anti = against + histemi = stand) means literally to stand or set against. It means to arrange in battle against and so pictures a face to face confrontation. It means to set one's self against, to stand firm against someone else's onset, to oppose (place opposite or against), to resist by actively opposing pressure or power, to withstand (oppose with firm determination). It involves not only a psychological attitude but also a corresponding behavior. It was used to refer to an army arranging in battle against the enemy force and so to array against.
Anthistemi suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, holding your ground. As a medical student I learned that antihistamines (derived from "anthistemi") block or antagonize histamine, and in the same way anthistemi tells us that with the authority and spiritual weapons granted to us we can stand against all evil forces. Note carefully that Paul does not say for us to hunt down or to actively pursue our spiritual enemies (don't worry...they will find us!), but to remain steadfast and immovable girded in the full armor of God in the face of persistent attack.
Wuest writes that anthistemi means
"means “to withstand, to be firm against someone else’s onset” rather than “to strive against that one.” The Christian would do well to remember that he cannot fight the devil. The latter was originally the most powerful and wise angel God created. He still retains much of that power and wisdom as a glance down the pages of history and a look about one today will easily show. While the Christian cannot take the offensive against Satan, yet he can stand his ground in the face of his attacks. Cowardice never wins against Satan, only courage." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
Grant Richison makes the important observation that anthistemi...
"is a term of defense, not offense. The Christian must build fortifications against the Devil. The Christian is at war. We should establish bulwarks of faith against our enemy. We resist by obeying the commands of verse eight. We would do well to remember that we cannot fight the Devil in ourselves." (Richison, G: Today's Word)
The Net Bible note states that
"the term anthistemi carries the idea of resisting or opposing something or someone. In Eph 6:13, when used in combination with stēnai ("stand firm") and in a context of battle imagery, it seems to have the idea of resisting, standing firm, and being able to stand your ground." (The NET Bible Notes. Biblical Studies Press)
A Roman centurion, according to Polybius, had to be the kind of man who could be relied upon to resist or stand fast and not give way, even when hard-pressed. So too for the Christian soldier who is called to resist the devil, to forsake the world, and to deny the lusts of the flesh. As discussed elsewhere in these notes, the alert believer must constantly remember that Satan’s desire is to tempt believers to doubt, to deny, to disregard, and to disobey God. So strengthened by the Spirit and clothed with God's full armor, resist him!
Remember also that in spiritual warfare, there is no middle ground and no neutrality (Satan, unlike Hitler, recognizes no "spiritual Switzerland"). To stand with the Lord is to stand against everything sinful and worldly that formerly was appealing, corrupting, and enslaving.
Matthew Henry writes that
"We must not yield to the devil’s allurements and assaults, but oppose them. Satan is said to stand up against us, 1 Chr. 21:1. If he stand up against us, we must stand against him; set up, and keep up, an interest in opposition to the devil. Satan is the wicked one, and his kingdom is the kingdom of sin: to stand against Satan is to strive against sin. That you may be able to withstand in the evil day, in the day of temptation, or of any sore affliction." (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible) (Bolding added)
Believers are not to fight with one another but stand against their true enemy. Believers also need to guard against an unhealthy, arrogant attitude which says "we're going to whip the devil!"
Paul's call to resist could be paraphrased "hold your ground". The idea of not giving ground in spiritual battle certainly has its counterpart in literal warfare where the opposing sides are dug in, hunkered down and striving not to give an inch. This same idea of not giving ground was alluded to in Ephesians 4 where Paul wrote...
BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity (topos - see discussion below). (In these two passages, Paul, like a commanding general in the fierceness of battle, barks out 4 commands all in the present imperative and three of these commands are with the negative, a Greek construction which forbids the continuance of an action which was already going on!) (Ep 4:26, 27-notes)
Paul commands the Ephesian believers to stop sinning (getting angry for the wrong reason, wrong time, wrong attitude, etc), to stop letting the sun go down on their anger and to stop giving the devil an opportunity. Remember that opportunity (topos) was used in Greek to refer to a territory, land, a defined place, an area (“District,” “town,” “dwelling-place”). In short topos can refer to an area of any size depending on the context. As used figuratively here topos refers to a place, opportunity or occasion. Paul is saying for these believers to stop giving the devil a foothold or base for operations which parallels his instruction here in Ephesians 6:13 to hold their ground and not give an inch of territory to the devil or his minions! Don't make a "spot" for the devil to come sit in your life or between you and another individual, especially your mate! He specializes in driving a wedge between husband and wife (cf Genesis 3:1, 12, 13) and anger is one of his primary vehicles. It is interesting that topos is used in another passage on anger...
Even the best motivated anger can sour, and we are therefore to put it aside at the end of the day. Taken to bed, it is likely to give the devil an opportunity to use it for his purposes. Saying this all another way "hold your ground"!
Anthistemi is used 45 times in the Septuagint (LXX). After Moses died Jehovah Himself spoke to Moses' successor, Joshua, encouraging him with the declaration that
"No man will be able to stand before (LXX = anthistemi = stand against) you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." (Joshua 1:5)
God made the following promise to Israel is she was obedient to Moses...
"The LORD will cause your enemies who rise up against (LXX = anthistemi = stand against) you to be defeated before you; they shall come out against you one way and shall flee before you seven ways." (Dt 28:7)
So strengthened in the Lord, "take up the full armor of God" so that when the battle is at its fiercest, you as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, will be able to hold your line against even the most determined enemy assault. In so doing you will find that when the assault passes, it will be found that not an inch of territory has been yielded to the enemy.
Resist means to defend oneself against the devil not to attack him. On the other hand to cower before the devil is to invite sure defeat. Clothed with the garment of a righteous lifestyle and strengthened in the inner man by the Spirit ensures effective resistance to diabolical attacks and procures his flight. On the other hand the believer is instructed (commanded) to flee from various evils...
Notice that every use of flee in these passages is in the present imperative and thus is a command to continuously flee. The believer is never instructed to flee from the Devil but to resist him!
Constable - "Whereas God commands us to forsake the world and deny the lusts of the flesh we should resist the devil. Satan’s desire is to get the Christian to doubt, to deny, to disregard, and to disobey what God has said." (Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible)
In a parallel passage James also uses verb anthistemi calling on believers to...
Warren Wiersbe makes a great point (related to both the previous passages) writing that...
Peter uses anthistemi calling on believers to
Despite the devil's deceptions, accusations, power, hatred and ferocity, we can successfully resist because God commands us to do so and His commands always include His enablement. Be aware that although the devil is a defeated foe, he is also a persistent foe (prowls in 1Peter 5:8 is = continually on the prowl!). For example, Luke records that
A word of caution is in order in regard to standing and resisting the devil. A believer should never "discuss" things with the Devil or his minions. Eve made this mistake, and paid for it dearly. Take your stand on the Word of Truth and then you will be able to withstand his attacks that come as lying deceptions.
In his first epistle John has several passages that reinforce the truth that the believer can resist the devil
IN THE EVIL DAY: en te hemera te ponera:
King Solomon, apparently a little older and wiser, warned...
Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them. (Eccl 9:12)
Paul had already given believers instructions on how we were to live in the evil day. We are to be...
When is the evil day? Although there is not complete agreement on the meaning of this term, the evil day surely began one day in the garden of Eden when the "Evil One" (Eph 6:16-note) tempted Adam and Eve and
"through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned" (Ro 5:12-note).
And so the "evil day" began the moment sin entered the world. And since God gives no deferments or exemptions from "military service", His people are at war and will continue to be at war until He returns and takes charge of earth. Therefore each day in a believer's life is potentially an evil day in which we face an evil enemy.
Any day when the evil one comes upon us in force is the evil day. Every day of temptation is an evil day in this sense for the Christian. The phrase "the evil day" at least implies that not all days are evil. Some days as we have all experienced are worse than others. There are seasons in our lives when pressures are more intense, and when problems, trials, and temptations seem to gang up on us all at once. Surely these would classify as evil days. This phrase probably does not signify a literal twenty-four-hour day, for it could be a day, a week, or even years in length. But by the mercy and grace of God, thankfully not all of life is a relentless, excruciating trial. So while every day is not an evil day, we have to agree with God's Word when it tells us that, in general, life is an unrelenting struggle. The struggle varies in intensity from time to time, but it extends from the cradle to the grave.
MacDonald adds that
the evil day probably refers to any time when the enemy comes against us like a flood. Satanic opposition seems to occur in waves, advancing and receding. Even after our Lord’s temptation in the wilderness, the devil left Him for a season (Lk 4:13). (MacDonald, W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
How is this evil characterized? Paul says it is "evil" which is Greek poneros which means "malignant" evil that is actively opposed to and corrupting of that which is good. Thus poneros is actively harmful or hurtful. The root word for poneros interestingly conveys the ideas of toil or hard work, implying accompanying pain and distress and signifies the most tense or strenuous effort, e.g., of the soldier in battle, or the exertions of messengers or manual workers.
Bratcher explains that
Here the evil day is the day of combat with the spiritual forces; it is not the last day, the final battle between the forces of God and the forces of evil, but the day, any day, when the Christian has to go into combat against the forces of evil. Beare thinks the word may reflect the language of astrology, which would claim to tell a person when that person’s “evil day” would be. In a number of languages one cannot speak of the evil day, for the day itself is not evil but only the events which take place on such a day are destructive and bad. Therefore the evil day may be rendered as “the day of bad events” or “the day when evil strikes” (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series)
Expositor's explains evil day this way...
"The day of evil" is neither a particular juncture like approaching death or the last great satanic outbreak at the end of the age nor the whole of the present age (Ep 5:16). It is "when things are at their worst" (NEB)—because of "the devil's schemes" (Ep 611). (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
"By this expression ("evil day") he rouses them from security, bids them prepare themselves for hard, painful, and dangerous conflicts, and, at the same time, animates them with the hope of victory; for amidst the greatest dangers they will be safe."
The day is evil, and the enemy is evil, but
“if God be for us, who can be against us?” (Ro 8:31-note)
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From Our Daily Bread - In an article for Youth Ministries magazine, a 14-year veteran of the Navy SEALS describes the color-code system they use to indicate levels of combat readiness. Each stage has a parallel in spiritual warfare.
The soldier is relaxed and daydreaming, unaware of his surroundings. A Christian in this condition is easy prey for Satan.
The soldier is relaxed physically but alert mentally. A believer at this level may sense trouble coming, but he's not ready to confront it.
The soldier is physically prepared, mentally alert, and ready to fight. A believer at this stage has on the full armor of God.
As in condition orange, the soldier is ready to fight. The difference is experience. A battle-seasoned Christian knows quickly what to do because of his experience and familiarity with Scripture.
Wherever we as followers of Christ happen to be--at work, in the mall, on a business trip, even among fellow believers--we need to know about Satan's methods and be prepared to resist. He always seems to attack at our most vulnerable moments. But if we stay alert and armed, we can fend off his most powerful attacks. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Thinking It Over - Which color code describes your spiritual condition?
AND HAVING DONE EVERYTHING, TO STAND FIRM: kai apanta katergasamenoi (AMPMPN) stenai. (AAN): (Malachi 3:2; Luke 21:36; Colossians 4:12; Revelation 6:17)
When Martin Luther was placed on trial for his views before the council in the German city of Worms, amid high drama he reportedly affirmed,
Having done (2716) (katergazomai [word study] from katá = intensifies meaning of verb + ergazomai = work or engage in an activity involving considerable expenditure of effort) means to work out fully and thoroughly, to accomplish or achieve an end, to finish or carry something to its conclusion. To work so as to bring something to fulfillment or successful completion and implies doing something with thoroughness. It means to do that from which something results. This verb always means to complete the effort and the work begun.
Puritan writer William Gurnall says that...
Having done all includes both dressing oneself in God’s armor and resisting Satan. Having done everything that is required. Having done all these, be ready, for the Devil will attack again and again. Vincent adds having done "everything that the crisis demands" We are not called to do merely as well as our neighbors; nor even to do well on the whole, but to do ALL (Greek = pas, meaning all without exception!) — to leave nothing undone that can contribute to the success of the spiritual battle and then we shall be able to stand firm.
Katergazomai was used by the Romans to describe "working a mine" or "working a field" and in each case there were benefits that followed such diligence. The mine would yield precious metals...and the field would yield fruit and crops.
William Barclay says that katergazomai
TDNT writes that katergazomai is...
Expositor's explains that...
When the emergency is over for the time being, it will be found that not an inch of territory has been yielded. Christians will "have done everything" not only in preparing for the conflict but also in pursuing it. The verb has to do with achievements either in war or in the games. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Everything (537) (pas) in context refers to everything which the crisis demands.
Bratcher and Nida explain that...
In this context it would seem that the writer is talking about a constant series of battles with the enemy, not the final, eschatological, once and for all battle; in this view, the participial phrase would mean that after fighting each battle to the end the Christian warrior will still be on his feet, ready for the next battle. (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series )
Stand - In Inductive Bible Study, a "key word" is one which functions like a key to unlock the truths in a passage and is often determined to be "key" by repetition but not all words that are repeated are "key". In these passages on spiritual warfare clearly "stand" (Greek = histemi) is a key word as it occurs three times (Ep 6:11, 13, 14- notes Ep 6:11; 13; 14). In addition and even the word "resist" (anthistemi) here in Ephesians 6:13 is derived from the Greek word for "stand" (histemi).
Stand on truth -- The Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s. If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.... We are more than conquerors through Him...For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast. (1Sa 17:47; Ro 8:31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37-notes; 1Cor 15:57, 58; 1Jn 5:4, 5)
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
Stand firm (2476) (histemi) means literally to support oneself on the feet in an erect position. It means to take up or maintain a specified position or posture. In context it conveys the idea of digging in (the Roman sandals had spikes for this purpose). To "stand" was used as a military term for holding on to a position.
Stand firm on the truth, the sound doctrines which Paul wrote about earlier in Ephesians -- e.g., the believer's access to the same source of power that brought about Christ's resurrection (Ep 1:19-note), Christ's position far above all demonic powers (Ep 1:21-note), Christ's indisputable Headship over all things (Ep 1:22, 23-notes), and our inseparable union with Christ (Ep 2:5, 6-see notes Ep 2:5; 2:6) to mention just a few of the truths Paul had taught the Ephesian saints about their position and power in Christ. It follows that because it is so vital for saints to know who we are in Christ before we can stand firm, any teaching on spiritual warfare which restricts itself to Ephesians 6:10-18 will at best provide only a partial view of truth on this crucial topic.
From a practical standpoint one stands firm by living the obedient, Scripture–dominated, Spirit–empowered life - the Spirit in such a state is not quenched or grieved and strengthens the obedient believer to stand firm. The greatest weapon we have in warfare is not what we say to the devil but how we live the ''Christ life''. Obedience, surrender, submission to God and His Word of Truth -- this is the believer's greatest "weapon" in spiritual warfare. It's not binding but it's bowing, saying ''yes'' to Jesus and enabled by His Spirit committing to do His Word...at the moment He says do it...then at that moment of loving obedience to your Lord you have become a veritable "fortress" against the devil.
Believers are to face the enemy, not converse with him or turns their backs on him. The moment we face up to him that is the first step to victory. Victory is not something we have to win, but is something that has already been won for us at Calvary (Col 2:15-note). Believers do not fight as much for victory as from victory.
We must live in light of the fact that just as much as "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for our life," so it is true that "Satan hates you and has a terrible plan for our life"! The reality is that believers have an enemy who wishes nothing but evil for us and who does not rest or grow weary in seeking to accomplish his nefarious objective.
Using the metaphor of a battle, in the military sense to stand firm meant to hold a watch post or to stand and hold a critical position on a battlefield while under attack! The intent of Paul's exhortation is not unlike that of our Lord to the embattled church at Thyatira, whom He commanded, “hold fast until I come” (Rev 2:25-note). Each of us as believers need to be strengthened in the inner man, letting our mind be affected by the truth, and letting the Spirit of Christ motivate us (Ezekiel 36:27, Php 2:12-note) and live His life through us. Stand firm by being in His word, obeying His word, repenting quickly and returning to your first Love. In spiritual warfare, if you are disobedient you are deceived and a deceived person doesn't even know it! Furthermore when you are deceived you are a prime target for defeat! That is how good the Deceiver is. Remember his territory is the darkness, this present world system (see below), and even though believers have been transferred out of darkness and into God's marvelous light, we can still choose to place ourselves under his domain by willing disobedience.
John Piper has an insightful comment on this present "world system" writing that...
"We must cultivate the mindset of exiles. What this does mainly is sober us up and wake us up so that we don't drift with the world and take for granted that the way the world thinks and acts is the best way. We don't assume that what is on TV is helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the priorities of advertisers is helpful to the soul; we don't assume that the strategies and values of business and industry are helpful to the soul. We don't assume that any of this glorifies God. We stop and we think and we consult the Wisdom of our own country, heaven, and we don't assume that the conventional wisdom of this age is God's wisdom. We get our bearings from God in his word. When you see yourself as an alien and an exile with your citizenship in heaven, and God as your only Sovereign, you stop drifting with the current of the day. You ponder what is good for the soul and what honors God in everything: food, cars, videos, bathing suits, birth control, driving speeds, bed times, financial savings, education for the children, unreached peoples, famine, refugee camps, sports, death, and everything else. Aliens get their cue from God and not the world." (The War Against the Soul and the Glory of God -- Desiring God)
Guzik makes a wise comment noting that...
Many Christians have a wrong idea about spiritual warfare. They picture the Christian army as assaulting the kingdom of hell, and on patrol against demons and spiritual enemies. Much of this is based on a misunderstanding of Matthew 16:18: And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. It’s easy to see how a first reading of this passage gives the picture of the church as an assaulting army, bombarding the gates of Hell, and plundering Hell and conquering it. The problem is that this understanding is completely inconsistent with the rest of the Scriptures. Nowhere do we read of the church assaulting or conquering Hell in this way. Instead, we should understand what is meant by the phrase “the gates of Hades.” In the ancient world, the city council, judges, and city leadership gathered together at the gates of the city. It was the place where the city life was planned, organized, strategized. It’s in this sense that Jesus speaks of the gates of Hades. He means that no satanic strategy, no plot from Hell will ultimately succeed against the church. Instead of picturing the army of the church seeking out and attacking some kind of demonic fortress, we are to have the idea that Jesus illustrated in His ministry. Jesus didn’t patrol around, looking for demons to conquer. That would almost be allowing demons to set the agenda for His ministry. Instead, Jesus knew what God the Father wanted Him to do, He set about doing it, and He dealt with satanic opposition when it arose. When satanic opposition raised itself, Jesus stood against it and was not moved.
So the idea is that God has given us a call, a mission, a course to fulfill. Satan will do his best to stop it. When he attacks and intimidates, we are to stand. It is plain that this is Paul’s emphasis in Ephesians 6:11 and 6:13. We love an energetic church that advances the Kingdom of God so vigorously that it shakes the councils of hell, but we don’t let principalities and powers set our agenda. We do the Lord’s work and stand against every hint of spiritual opposition.
God gives the Christian a glorious standing to maintain by faith and spiritual warfare:
· We stand in grace (Ro 5:2-note)
· We stand in the gospel (1Cor 15:1).
· We stand in courage and strength (1Cor 16:13).
· We stand in faith (2Cor 1:24).
· We stand in Christian liberty (Gal 5:1).
· We stand in Christian unity (Php 1:27-note).
· We stand in the Lord (Php 4:1-note).
· We should stand perfect and complete in the will of God (Col 4:12-note).
All in all, there is a lot bound up in that little word, stand.
· It means that we are going to be attacked.
· It means that we must not be frightened.
· It means that we must not droop or slouch, being uncertain or half-hearted in the fight (no self-pity is allowed).
· It means that we are at our position and alert.
· It means that we do not give even a thought to retreat. (Ephesians 6)
John MacArthur writes that
"When Martin Luther stood before the Diet of Worms he was accused of heresy. After being condemned for declaring that men are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, he declared, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. … Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.” Every believer who is faithful to God’s Word cannot do otherwise than stand firm." (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added)
Craig Brian Larson gives the following illustration...
As J. Vernon McGee says
"The Bible speaks of believers as pilgrims. As pilgrims we are to walk through the world. The Bible speaks of us as witnesses, and we are to go to the ends of the earth. As athletes we are to run. We are to run with our eyes fixed upon the Lord Jesus Christ: “… and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith …” (Heb. 12:1-note, He 12:2-note). However, when the Bible speaks of us as fighters, it says we are to stand. Very frankly, I would rather do a great deal of old-fashioned standing than fighting...I have never been enthusiastic about a group of defeated Christians singing, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war.” I think it is more scriptural for the believer to sing, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross.” Just to be able to stand in an evil day is a victory for the believer." (McGee, J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)
In his third short epistle the apostle John warned believers of the need to...
Comment: Note who we are to be "watching"! The present imperative indicates that this is a command calling for continual vigilance as our flesh and the forces of darkness are relentlessly out to ruin us and disqualify us for a full reward at the Bema Seat although our salvation is secure because of our inseparable union with Christ which is based on God's immutable, binding New Covenant
Paul’s one great fear was that,
Comment: This too should be every believer's healthy fear.
John MacArthur commenting on these previous passages writes that Paul
was not afraid of losing his salvation but his reward and, even more importantly, his usefulness to the Lord. Countless men and women have faithfully taught Sunday school for years, led many people to Jesus Christ, pastored a church, led Bible studies, ministered to the sick, and done every sort of service in the Lord’s name—only to one day give up, turn their backs on His work, and disappear into the world. The circumstances differ, but the underlying reason is always the same: they took God’s armor off and thereby lost the courage, the power, and the desire to stand firm." (MacArthur, J: Ephesians. Chicago: Moody Press)
In his excellent devotional Morning and Evening, C H Spurgeon encourages those of us who might be being tempted to take a short "furlough" from the war writing that...
Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said,
"Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me."
So, under God, dear brother (and sister) in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, "Excelsior." (Ed note: Excelsior is a word used in the names of hotels and products to indicate superior quality)
He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continues till war's trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.
The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair.
The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory.
"It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare."
Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper,
"Curse God, and die."
Or he will attack your steadfastness:
"What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do."
Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments:
"Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times."
Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end.
John MacArthur gives a personal anecdote illustrating the idea of continuing to stand firm. He writes:
"When I was in Scotland, a man approached me in Frazerborough and asked, “Is your father named Jack MacArthur? I told him yes. He said, “Your father came to Ireland at least thirty years ago with two other men to hold a revival in Belfast and all around Ireland. I went to hear your father speak, and at the meeting I received Jesus Christ and dedicated my life to the ministry. I am a pastor because the Lord used your father to minister to me. Would you tell him that when you see him?” I told him I would. Then he asked, “Where is your father now?” I told him he was ministering like he always had. He asked, “Is he still faithful to the Word?” I said, “Yes, he is still faithful—still standing.” “Good,” he replied. “What happened to the other men?” I said, “I’m sorry to report that one became an apostate and the other died an alcoholic.” Three men went to Ireland and ministered to many people. But thirty years later, when the dust cleared, only one was left standing." (MacArthur, J., Jr. 1992. How to Meet the Enemy. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books)
The greatest joys come in the greatest victories, and the greatest victories come from the greatest battles—when they are fought in the power and with the armor of the Lord. -- John MacArthur
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The most deadly battles are not always the "biggest" as illustrated by the following story...
Bobby Leach, an Englishman, startled the world some years ago by his daring feat of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. He came through the experience miraculously unscratched. Some time later, Leach was walking down the street and slipped on a small orange peel. He was rushed to the hospital with a badly fractured leg. Believers are more frequently brought down by a minor skirmish than by a major battle.
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Do you ever wonder whether the Bible can be trusted? Scottish reformer John Knox confessed that he passed through a dark time when his soul was filled with "anger, wrath, and indignation, which it conceived against God, calling all His promises in doubt." Do you sometimes wonder if God exists? The staunchest of Puritans, Increase Mather, wrote in his diary that he was
"greatly molested with temptations to atheism."
Are you ever so filled with questions that you feel at times like an unbeliever? Martin Luther sadly admitted,
"For more than a week Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy against God."
Don't be surprised if you pass through similar struggles. As followers of Christ, we are in conflict with God's enemy, the devil, the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). We wrestle against him and "the rulers of the darkness of this age" (Eph. 6:12). Two of the pieces of armor God has provided for us when we are attacked by doubt are "truth" and "the shield of faith." They can "quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one" (v14-16). As we saturate our minds with God's Word, our faith will be strengthened. Then we'll be able to stand when doubts assail us. --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The devil is subtle, deceptive, and sly;
He's clever and tricks us to swallow his lie.
But his cunning methods we're sure to discern
By making God's warnings our daily concern. --DJD
The best protection against Satan's lies
is to know God's truth.
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Craig Brian Larson gives the following illustration...
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The hand of God protects our way
When we would do His will;
And if through danger we must go,
We know He's with us still. —D. De Haan
God provides the armor, but we must put it on.