EPHESIANS: LIVING IN ALIGNMENT WITH OUR HIGH CALLING
Part II: Walking Worthy Of Our High Calling In Christ, Ephesians 4:1-6:20
F. Relying On God's Provisions To Withstand Satan
A. Having written extensively in Ephesians 1:1-3:21 about the high calling we believers in Christ have in our Lord, clarifying the great extent to which God's grace in Christ has been administered in our behalf, Paul applied that truth to the Christian walk in Ephesians 4:1-6:20.
B. In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul addressed a ninth realm of walking worthy of our calling -- relying on God to withstand Satan. Since the Evil One is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and he controls it (1 John 5:19) ESV, and since today's world is troubled and lawless, we view this passage for insight and edification:
II. Relying On God's Provisions To Withstand Satan, Ephesians 6:10-20.
A. In writing of the believer's route to gaining victory over Satan, Paul emphasized the need for us to rely on the spiritual resources of God instead of relying on ourselves, Ephesians 6:10-12. Indeed, Scripture never directs believers to fight Satan in their own strength, but that God fights Satan for them, Romans 16:20a.
B. We thus focus on God's provisions for our withstanding Satan's opposition in our lives in Ephesians 6:10-20:
1. Paul directed believers in Christ to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might, Eph. 6:10 ESV.
2. To that end, we Christians are to put on the whole spiritual armor of God that we might be able to stand against the schemes of the Devil, Ephesians 6:11.
3. Paul then gave the reason for this action of seeking to put on God's armor, Ephesians 6:12-13:
a. Satan is a fallen cherub, a former mighty angel whose intelligence and power far outweigh our own (cf. Ezekiel 28:14), so his schemes are beyond our human ability to handle!
b. Indeed, when we believers "wrestle," what in the context involves struggles in marriage (Eph. 5:22-33), family (Eph. 6:1-4) the workplace (Eph. 6:5-9) or ministry (Eph. 6:18-20), our struggles are not against mere human parties, but against many demonic beings behind the issues even in the heavenlies, Eph. 6:12.
c. Thus, we must take unto ourselves the entire armor of God that we might withstand the Evil One in his evil time of attack, and having done all, to keep our stand without wavering, Ephesians 6:13.
4. Accordingly, Paul named the various pieces of God's spiritual armor, explaining their uses, Eph. 6:14-18:
a. First, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by putting on the belt of truth, that is, maintaining our personal "integrity and faithfulness" in all situations, Ephesians 6:14b; Bible Know. Com., N. T., p. 643.
b. Second, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by putting on the breastplate of righteousness, that is, by living righteously [in dependence upon the Holy Spirit], Ephesians 6:14c; Ibid. [with Romans 8:3-4]
c. Third, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by putting on the shoes of the readiness of the Gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15a NIV, ESV); Ibid. Satan is opposed to the Gospel's proclamation (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), so his attacks may occur just before he knows that a witnessing opportunity arises for that he might blunt our effectiveness, so we should always be prepared to give the Gospel if facing a Satanic attack!
d. Fourth, in addition to all this ("above all" KJV), we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by grasping the shield of faith, where "of faith" is a genitive of content to indicate a resolute faith in the Lord that extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the Evil One, Ephesians 6:16 NIV; Ibid., p. 643-644.
e. Fifth, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by putting on the helmet of salvation, and the context implies the word "salvation" here is actually practical "deliverance" in one's Christian walk, that is, one's hope of God's deliverance from spiritual defeat while facing Satanic attack, Ephesians 6:17a; Ibid., p. 644.
f. Sixth, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by grasping the sword of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God or Scripture, the only spiritually offensive weapon we have, Ephesians 6:17b; Ibid.; 1 John 2:14b.
g. Seventh, we believers must withstand Satan (v. 14a) by always praying in every way for all believers, watching for Satanic movements against all the people of God with all perseverance, Ephesians 6:18 ESV.
C. Paul shifted from his call to prayer in withstanding Satan to ask for intercessory prayer on his own behalf that he might open his mouth boldly to give the Gospel, for which he was an ambassador in bonds, Eph. 6:19-20.
Lesson: In view of our vulnerability to sure spiritual defeat when functioning in our own human strength, God has provided all the spiritual provisions we need as itemized in Ephesians 6:10-18 that we must use to overcome Satan.
Application: May we then utilize the Lord's spiritual armor that we might gain victory over Satan.