|THEREFORE TAKE UP THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD: dia touto analabete (2PAAM) ten panoplian tou theou:
"Therefore" in view of the fact that our enemy is not flesh and blood but consists of supernatural forces, we need God's supernatural empowerment. Paul says that because we face such a formidable foe, we must avail ourselves of God’s provision lest the enemy destroy our Christian witness and ministry.
"Wherefore," the foes being so formidable in power, operation, and nature, what need is there not to be fully protected with this complete and divine suit of mail? (Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians )
C. S. Lewis wrote that
"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or magician with the same delight:" (The Screwtape Letters. p. 3. New York: Macmillan, 1961)
Dearly beloved, never leave your home spiritually "undressed" and never underestimate the strategy, schemes and strength of our enemy.
"Take up" (3538) (analambano from ana = up + lambano = take) is used 8x in the NT (Mk; Acts 8x; Eph 2x; 1Ti; 2Ti) and literally means to take up a thing in order to carry or use it.
Analambano is used of Jesus' being taken up into heaven (Mark 16:19, Acts 1:2,11, 22, 1Ti 1:16), of being taken on board ship (Acts 20, 13,14), and of Timothy picking up Mark to bring him to Paul (2Ti 4:11).
Analambano was a military technical term describing the last preparation and final step before the actual battle begins! It pictures taking up one's armor and putting it on in anticipation of the coming battle.
Analambano is used in this military sense in the Septuagint translation of Deuteronomy 1:41 where Moses declares
“Then you answered and said to me, ‘We have sinned against the Lord; we will indeed go up and fight, just as the Lord our God commanded us.’ And every man of you girded on (Hebrew = to gird oneself or put on a belt; Lxx = analambano = take up) his weapons of war and regarded it as easy to go up into the hill country."
Take up is aorist tense which calls for an immediate action and often conveys a sense of urgency. The idea is "Do this now" and "do it effectively". The "active" voice indicates that the subject (the believer) is to carry out this action. Active voice emphasizes the human responsibility that is necessary, even though the armor is God's. The armor is available, but each believer must “take it up” in order to be ready. We would be neglectful to do otherwise, for the battle is real, and we are Satan’s targets. The imperative mood is a command. In short, Paul like a Roman general whose troops were about to engage in mortal hand to hand combat delivers his orders that if obeyed assure victory.
Kenneth Wuest explains that
"the Christian is to take up and put on all the armor of God as a once-for-all act and keep that armor on during the entire course of his life, not relaxing the discipline necessary for the constant use of such protection." (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Why "once-for-all"? Think about why this might be so. Do the rulers and powers, etc ever call a truce? take a rest from their relentless attack? Of course not. How tragic then that so many believers become lax & "slip out of the full armor", forgetting the truth that our "adversary, the devil, (continuously) prowls around (present tense) like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Note that the command or charge also carries with it a promise - the promise being that if we will really put on the full armor of God, we will stand and be victorious.
Paul's point is that every believer has God's His provision, but His strength must appropriated through our willingness to obey.
Jameison, et al writes that Paul says…
not “make,” God has done that: you have only to “take up” and put it on. The Ephesians were familiar with the idea of the gods giving armor to mythical heroes: thus Paul’s allusion would be appropriate." (A commentary, critical and explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments)
Historian Edward Gibbon (See below to read his original quote) relates how the relaxation of discipline and the disuse of exercise rendered the Roman Legionnaire soldiers less willing and less able to support the fatigue associated with active service. They began to complain of the weight of the armor and obtained permission to lay aside their cuirasses (breastplates) & helmets! How many believers "complain of the weight of their armor" and end up laying aside vital components of their spiritual dress?
Kent Hughes draws this parallel with "Christian soldiers" stating that…
"the prevailing materialistic, mechanistic thinking of our age leaves no room for the supernatural, or indeed anything without a physical cause. Sadly, many Christians are so influenced by this thinking that even though they give conscious voice to their belief in Satan and spiritual warfare, their lives show no evidence of this reality. They actually live in unconscious disbelief. For such persons, this passage (Eph 6:10-18) provides a much-needed antidote."
Hughes goes on to caution us that
"It is possible to move from practical disbelief in the Devil and his minions to a preoccupation with them — like the New Yorker cartoon which pictured a man pointing toward his car’s transmission saying, “I think there is a demon in my bell housing.” We’ve probably all felt that way at times, but if we attribute every problem to demons we are in trouble! At the same time Paul’s worldview, the Biblical worldview, is that we are in a spiritual battle with evil in which there is no truce… ". (Hughes, R. K. Ephesians: The mystery of the body of Christ. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books. 1990)
Edward Gibbon in his famous work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (click here) has the following interesting not on the deterioration of discipline in the Roman soldier writing that…
"The relaxation of discipline, and the disuse of exercise, rendered the soldiers less able, and less willing, to support the fatigues of the service; they complained of the weight of the armor, which they seldom wore; and they successively obtained the permission of laying aside both their cuirasses (breastplates) and their helmets. The heavy weapons of their ancestors, the short sword (machaira), and the formidable pilum (javelin), which had subdued the world, insensibly dropped from their feeble hands. As the use of the shield is incompatible with that of the bow, they reluctantly marched into the field; condemned to suffer either the pain of wounds, or the ignominy of flight, and always disposed to prefer the more shameful alternative. The cavalry of the Goths, the Huns, and the Alani, had felt the benefits, and adopted the use, of defensive armor; and, as they excelled in the management of missile weapons, they easily overwhelmed the naked and trembling legions, whose heads and breasts were exposed, without defence, to the arrows of the Barbarians. The loss of armies, the destruction of cities, and the dishonor of the Roman name, ineffectually solicited the successors of Gratian to restore the helmets and the cuirasses of the infantry. The enervated soldiers abandoned their own and the public defence; and their pusillanimous (lacking courage and resolution : marked by contemptible timidity: cowardly) indolence (inclination to laziness; sloth; disinclination to action or labor) may be considered as the immediate cause of the downfall of the empire."
How important then is discipline to the Christian soldier in the arena of spiritual warfare? Surely it cannot be underestimated lest we too like the slothful Roman legionnaires suffer ignominious defeat at the hands of our relentless "barbarian" adversaries.
THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD: ten panoplian tou theou:
Paul’s repetition of the “full armor” of God is a reminder that we need the whole package; every piece is necessary. "full armor" is the Greek word "panoplia" (pas = all + hopla = weapons or tools). Among the Greeks the panoplia was the complete equipment used by heavily armed infantry.
Don't forget the most critical aspect of the armor, "of God"!
We cannot forge our own armor. Our own resolutions, like home-made weapons, will be sure to betray some weakness. The Christian armor consists of God-given graces. "Christian" in Pilgrim's Progress had his armor given him at the house "Beautiful" and we must do likewise. Even a steel breastplate is no protection against a cup of poison and in like manner, the character of our defenses must be spiritual and holy, like the character of God, in order that we may be able to withstand such spiritual foes as Paul has just enumerated.
Click here for some parallel thoughts by Spurgeon that relate to our "full armor".
John MacArthur writes "Don’t concentrate on what the devil is doing, but on what you’re to be doing. It doesn’t matter that you know precisely when and how Satan is mapping every subtle scheme. We can’t do that anyway. The only thing that does matter is that you put your armor on. If you do, you will be ready for battle." (MacArthur, J.. How to meet the enemy. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. 1992)
In Classic Greek the "full armor" was descriptive of a "heavy armed soldier" (Vincent).
There is an interesting illustration of the "full armor" from Greek mythology. It is reported by the Greek poets that the mother of Achilles the Grecian captain was warned by the oracle and dipped her son, as a child, into the River Lethe, thus providing an impenetrable armor for protection during the Trojan War. Paris, Achilles’ archenemy, knowing of this fact, realized the only place he could attack his foe would be the heel, that by which his mother held him while immersing her son in the river. Ultimately, Paris attacked and shot Achilles in the heel and killed him. For the believer, there is "full armor" to protect us from Satan’s attacks. We must put on each piece with prayer and God has promised to protect us, even down to our Achilles’ heel. We are assailable in every part of our nature. It is useless to be only half-armed, for the subtle tempter is sure to aim his dart at the most vulnerable spot. Where we think ourselves most secure we are likely to be most open to attack. It will not be sufficient to be sound on all points but one.
Kent Hughes comments that…
"Those who have traveled through J R Tolkien’s most imaginative Middle Earth perhaps remember that Bilbo Baggins passed on to his successor, Frodo, a finely wrought coat of delicately woven mail which was secretly made under the mountains by dwarves and was virtually impenetrable, thus saving their Hobbit skins on several occasions. But here with Paul, in the context of ultimate spiritual reality, we are offered real armor wrought on the anvils of Heaven which will protect us in real war if we will but wear it. In this study we are going to examine the first two items on the list: the soldier’s belt and his breastplate." (Hughes, R. K. Ephesians: Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books)
HOW DO WE "PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR"? One of the most important ways is to hide God's Word in our heart (Ps119:9-11) as if our very life depended upon it… because our spiritual life does! As you read the dramatic illustration below ask yourself if you have really acknowledged the reality of daily spiritual warfare or whether you have drifted into apathy and lethargy, and are no longer disciplining yourself for godliness (1Tim4:7-8).
From Our Daily Bread:
"Toward the close of World War II, Allied forces were mopping up against remaining Nazi resistance. One particular unit was assigned a crucial mission in Berlin. Each soldier had to memorize a map detailing all of Berlin's important military sites -- and they had to do it in a single night! In just a few hours, each soldier in the unit had committed the map to memory. The mission was a success. Several years later, the Army conducted an experiment to see if that original feat could be duplicated. They offered a similar unit an extra week's furlough--an attractive incentive--if they could carry out a comparable mission without a hitch. But the second unit could not match the success of the first. What made the difference? The lives of the men were not at stake. Surviving in battle was a greater motivation than a week's vacation. Christians are engaged in spiritual warfare (Eph 6:10-18). Our road map, our plan of strategy against Satan's military strongholds, is the Bible. The more we read it, the more of it we memorize, and the more thoroughly we know it, the more effective we will be for God. We must approach God's Word as if our lives depended on it--because they do. That's real motivation! "--HWR
Thy Word is like an armory,
Where soldiers may repair,
And find, for life's long battle-day,
All needful weapons there. --Hodder
If your life depended on knowing the Bible, how long would you last?
SO THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO RESIST:hina dunethete (2PAPS) antistenai (AAN) :
"Resist" (436) (anthistemi from anti = against + histemi = stand) is used 15 times in the NT (Matthew; Luke; Acts 2x; Romans 2x;Galatians; Ephesians;2 Timothy 2x; James; 1 Peter) and in the NAS is translated cope, 1; has opposed, 1; oppose, 1; opposed, 4; opposing, 1; resist, 5; resists, 2. The KJV also translates anthistemi as "withstand".
Anthistemi 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.
“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. Effective resistance in faith to satanic attacks procures his flight. Scripture teaches us to flee from various evils ("Flee immorality.… " 1Cor6:18; "flee from idolatry" 1Cor10:14; "flee from these things [love of money], you man of God" 1Ti6:11; "flee from youthful lusts" 2Ti2:22). The believer however is never instructed to flee from the Devil but to stand against him!
Grant Richison writes 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 verb suggests vigorously opposing, bravely resisting, standing face-to-face against an adversary, holding your ground. Just as an antihistamines (derived from "anthistemi") block or antagonize histamine, 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 & immovable girded in the full armor of God in the face of persistent attack.
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)
Note that in spiritual warfare there is no middle ground, no neutrality. To stand with the Lord is to stand against everything sinful and worldly that formerly was appealing, corrupting, and enslaving.
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.
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)
Believers are not to fight with one another but stand against their true enemy.
The Life Application Bible comments that
"The armor is available, but the believer-soldier must “take it up” in order to be ready. We would be neglectful to do otherwise, for the battle is real, and we are Satan’s targets. Only with the armor will believers be able to withstand, a word describing standing against great opposition; indeed, it would be impossible to stand on our strength alone. Christian soldiers must be able to hold their ground and not flee or surrender under Satan’s attacks." (Barton, B. B. & Comfort, P. W. Life Application Bible commentary. page 131. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers)
Believers need to guard themselves from an unhealthy and arrogant "we're going to whip the devil" attitude. We go about our business serving the Lord, and we stand fast against his every attempt to deter us.
Paul's instruction could be paraphrased so that you might be empowered to "hold your ground". This idea of not giving ground in spiritual battle certainly has its counterpart in physical battles where the opposing sides are dug in, hunkered down and not giving an inch. To take this analogy back into the realm of spiritual battle consider Paul's earlier exhortation in this same letter to be angry but "do not sin" and a point so important that you should "not let the sun go down on your anger and do not give (Gk construction = forbids the continuance of this action which was already going on) the devil an opportunity (Gk topos literally territory, land)." (Eph4:26-27) In other words, be careful in the area of your emotions and stop giving the devil a foothold, which equates with giving him an opportunity or the occasion for acting! 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"!
USES OF ANTHISTEMI
The following uses of anthistemi give you as sense of the meaning of this word in the NT.
In His sermon on the Mount Jesus said that if you are injured by another person
"do not resist (anthistemi) (this does not criminal offenses or acts of military aggression) him who is evil ; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also ( calling for a full surrender of all personal rights)." (Mt5:39)
In discussing the difficult times of the end of the age, Jesus instructed His disciples to
"make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist (anthistemi) or refute." (Lk 21:14-15)
In the book of Acts we encounter the soon-to-be martyr Stephen described variously as "full of the Spirit and of wisdom" (Acts 6:3), "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:5) and "full of grace and power" (Acts 6:8), in each description the picture of "full" being that of control, for what "fills" you will control you! And so we see a godly example of how to be prepared for and to face spiritual opposition, which in Stephen's case soon arose among the Jews who began to argue with Stephen
"and yet they were unable to cope (stand up against - anthistemi) with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking." (Acts 6:10).
Stephen was enabled to resist because he was filled with and empowered by the Spirit. He was strong in the Lord and the strength of His might! Later in Acts we see another example of spiritual warfare for
"Elymas the magician (for thus his name is translated) was opposing (anthistemi - imperfect tense - over and over again) them (Barnabas and Saul), seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith." (Ac 13:8)
In Romans Paul in discussing the profound topic of God's sovereignty in salvation asks the rhetorical question
"You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists (anthistemi) His will?” (Ro 9:19 read Ro9-11 for context)
Paul explains that since all government is God-ordained, disobedience is rebellion against God writing that
"he who resists authority has opposed (anthistemi) the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed (anthistemi) will receive condemnation upon themselves." (Ro13:2)
When Peter began to withdraw from the Gentiles out of fear of the Judaizers (party of the circumcision) Paul writes
"I opposed (refusing to yield - anthistemi) him to his face, because he stood condemned." (Gal2:11).
Paul warned Timothy of spiritual warfare writing that
"just as Jannes and Jambres opposed (anthistemi) Moses, so these men also oppose (anthistemi) the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected (useless) as regards the faith." (2Ti 3:8)
Paul warned Timothy to
"Be on guard against (Alexander the coppersmith - who did Paul much harm)… for he vigorously opposed (anthistemi) our teaching." (2 Ti 4:15)
Finally, the last two uses of anthistemi in the NT (Js4:7, 1Pe5:9) are also in the context of spiritual warfare and are discussed below.
Submit (aorist imperative = sense of urgency = "Do this now!") therefore to God. resist (aorist imperative) the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
James says that to be successful in spiritual warfare we must first submit (hupotasso = put yourself under; click for word study) to God (parallels Paul's instruction to put on the full armor) and then we can effectively resist the devil.
Notice that by definition, to submit to God, your new Lord, is to resist the devil, your old lord.
As we stand firm “against the schemes of the devil”, we also pray the petition “deliver us from evil” (Mt6:13). The biblical assurance we receive is that “he will flee from” us
Now remember the "context" for in James 4:6 he has just taught that
"GOD IS OPPOSED (present tense = continuously arrays himself against) TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES (present tense = continuously gives) GRACE TO THE HUMBLE"
Who are the "humble"? In context the "humble" are those who are willing to bow low and to "submit" to God, to take in His word, to obey His word, and to live out His word and experience His Spirit's empowering grace to stand against the evil one. To resist the devil without submitting to God is conducting warfare in your strength not His and is a sure formula for futility and defeat.
Kent Hughes commenting on "grace" in Js4:6 says
"The “gravity of grace” works like the earth’s water system, which always flows from the highest to the lowest. Just as the waters of Niagara roll over the fall and plunge down to make a river below, and just as that river flows ever down to the even lower ranges of its course, then glides to still more low-lying areas where it brings life and growth, so it is with God’s grace. Grace’s gravity carries it to the lowly in heart, where it brings life and blessing. Grace goes to the humble… The unbowed soul standing proudly before God receives no benefit from God’s falling grace. It may descend upon him, but it does not penetrate, and drips away like rain from a statue. But the soul lying humbly before God is immersed—and even swims—in a sea of grace. So while there is always “more grace,” it is reserved for the lowly—the humble… The last words of Richard Baxter provide a perfect prayer: “Lord, what thou wilt, where thou wilt, and when thou wilt.” Some of us need to pray this right now, and if we do, grace will flood our souls. Will you do it?" (Hughes, R. K. James : Faith that works. Preaching the Word. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
1 Peter 5:8-9 (Click for exposition) Peter writes…
Be of sober spirit (aorist imperative = urgency = Do it now), be on the alert (aorist imperative). Your adversary (Greek = opponent in a lawsuit) the devil (diabolos - one who comes between), prowls around, like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm (military term pictures that which is solid, immovable) in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
Kenneth Wuest comments that
"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… the Christian is to stand firm against the onset of the devil, not in himself, but in the exercise of a faith that depends upon the strengthening and protecting power of God." (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
Anthistemi is used 45 times in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew. After Moses died Jehovah Himself spoke to Moses' successor, Joshua, encouraging him with the declaration that
"No man will be able to stand before (stand against - anthistemi) 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 (anthistemi) 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 "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 empowered 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.
Remember that ordinary weapons will not do
"for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses." (2 Co 10:4)
IN THE EVIL DAY: en te hemera te ponera:
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" (Eph6:16) tempted man & "through one man sin entered (5627) into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread (5627) to all men, because * all sinned (5627)" (Ro5:12).
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, but “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Ro 8:31)
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.
MacDonald comments 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 (Lu4:13)." (MacDonald, W.. Believer's Bible Commentary: Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
How is this characterized? Paul says it is "evil" which is Greek poneros which means "malignant" evil that is actively opposed to & 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.
"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)
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. --DCE
Thinking It Over
Which color code describes your spiritual condition?
How have you responded recently to temptation?
Are you studying and obeying God's Word?
Spiritual victory comes only
to those who are prepared for battle.
AND HAVING DONE EVERYTHING TO STAND FIRM: kai apanta katergasamenoi (AMPMPN) stenai (AAN):
"Having done" (2716) (katergazomai) means to perform, accomplish, achieve, to do that from which something results, to carry something to its ultimate conclusion.
Having done all includes both dressing oneself in God’s armor and resisting Satan. 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 — to leave nothing undone that can contribute to the success of the spiritual battle and then we shall be able to stand firm. Contrary to what some commentaries say about this verse Paul is not describing a Christian now standing in victory after their conflict, as he clearly continues to describe the contact in the subsequent verses. Standing firm against the enemy without wavering or falling is the goal.
Note that "stand" is a KEY WORD (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 spiritual warfare (6:11,13,14) and even the word "resist" is derived in part from the Greek word for "stand".
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. 12:1–2). 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. Vol. 5, Page 280. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)
To "stand" was used as a military term for holding on to a position. The emphasis on the believer taking a "stand" in part could be related to the repeated use (4x) of the Greek word "pros" translated "against" in (6:12) which stresses the determined hostility confronting the Christian soldier and the need to "stand firm" without falling.
Stand firm on the truth, the sound doctrines which Paul wrote about earlier in Ephesians -- e.g., our inseparable union with Christ (2:5–6), Christ's indisputable Headship over all things (1:22–23), Christ's position far above all demonic powers (1:21),and the believer's access to the same source of power that brought about Christ's resurrection (1:19), to mention just a few of the truths Paul had taught the Ephesian saints about their position and power in Christ.
Because we have 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.
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." (Bolding added. MacArthur, J. F. Ephesians. page 343. Chicago: Moody Press)
MacArthur goes on to add that
"John warned, “Watch (2PPAM) yourselves (Ed note: note who we are to be "watching"! Present tense command calls for a continual vigilance as our flesh & the forces of darkness are relentlessly out to ruin us & disqualify us for a full reward at the Bema seat although they cannot cause us to lose our salvation) that you do not lose (2PAAS) what we have accomplished (1PAMI), but that you may receive a full reward (2PAAS).” (2 John 8). Paul’s one great fear was that, "that possibly after I have preached (AAPMSN) to others, I myself should be (1SAMS) disqualified” (1Cor 9:27). He 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." (Ibid.)
In his excellent devotional "Morning and Evening", Spurgeon encourages those of us who might be being tempted to take a short "furlough" from the war we inherited when we became believers. Spurgeon writes 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 in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, "Excelsior." He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth 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
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
You dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger,
Be never wanting there.”
From Radio Bible Class "Our Daily Bread":
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. --VCG
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.