Thursday, 28 August 2015
…by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 2 Corinthians 6:7
In this portion of the on-going list, Paul gives specific gifts of the apostles which were a part of their ministry. The first is, “by the word of truth.” This is a way of saying “that which imparts God’s truth to men.” In their presentation, there was no corruption of the gospel through human systems of philosophy or of works being added to what God had done. Rather, it contains that which is pure and undefiled concerning the plan of salvation and the right division of the word of God.
Next he says “by the power of God.” The apostles were noted for having miraculous gifts which they exercised from time to time. These are recorded in Acts and a study of them shows that they were not always available, but it seems they knew exactly when they were and how to use them exactly as God intended. Further, “the power of God” is probably also speaking of the effect of the gospel on its hearers. People who had never heard of Jesus were converted by a simple explanation of who He is and what He came to do. If nothing else, that is a great example of the power of God working effectively in others!
In his next category, he changes the preposition from en (in or by) to dia (through or “by means of”) – “by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” The endowments they exercised were done so by the means of righteousness. There was nothing false in how they conducted themselves and what they did was for the glory of God and it was in accord with His righteous nature.
The term “on the right and on the left” is intended to show that they were fully prepared for whatever came their way. Just as a Roman soldier was capable of fighting with weapons in either hand, and as they were normally armed with a weapon in one hand and a shield in the other, they were able to fight both offensively and defensively. Likewise, the apostles were so prepared for the spiritual battles they faced. The idea is given a more thorough description in Ephesians 6 where Paul goes on to describe the whole armor of God by which they (and which includes even us today) were prepared for meeting the challenges they faced.
Life application: The apostles were given certain gifts and abilities which no longer exist today, but they were also endowed with gifts and abilities which each of us can exercise. With training and constant use, we can hone our abilities to become effective soldiers in the spiritual battlefield which rages all around us. Read Ephesians 6 today and think on how you can better prepare yourself for the challenges we as Christians are asked to face.
Heavenly Father, You have not left us on a battlefield without the implements to wage the war we face. Instead, You have given us a list of those things we need and which we should always have ready. Help us to be prepared for the spiritual conflict which wars against the souls of men and be with us as we engage in the battle. The devil and his demons are skilled warriors, but with those things You have provided us, and with Your presence among us, we will surely prevail! Thank You for being our Leader in this great conflict. Amen.