Wednesday, 16 November 2016
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13
Paul now uses war terminology to explain the wrestling he mentioned in verse 12. Though a wrestler will drop everything that hinders in order to have his hands free as he enters into a match, this is not the type of wrestling that Paul was speaking of. Instead, he is speaking of a warrior going into battle. In such a conflict, he will be fully adorned with both offensive and defensive gear. This is “the whole armor” that he needs to effectively fight with, and also to protect himself.
In the case of our spiritual battle, we are to “take up the whole armor of God.” There are implements which Paul will next begin to describe which are both offensive and defensive in nature. If we fail to use all of them (meaning “the whole armor of God”) we will either leave ourselves open to attack, or we will be unable to go on the offensive. Either way, we will not be effective and well-trained soldiers who are properly prepared for the battle we are asked to engage in.
According to his words, the intent of this “whole armor of God” is “that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.” The Greek word for “withstand” is one which should be fully evaluated. HELPS Word Studies defines it as:
- To “take a complete stand against, i.e. a ‘180 degree, contrary position’; (figuratively) to establish one’s position publicly by conspicuously ‘holding one’s ground,’ i.e. refusing to be moved (‘pushed back’).”
- To… “forcefully declare one’s personal conviction (where they unswervingly stand); to keep one’s possession; ardently withstand, without giving up (letting go).”
- It “was a military term in classical Greek … meaning ‘to strongly resist an opponent’ (‘take a firm stand against’).”
As can be seen, to “withstand” carries the connotation of both standing firm in one’s position, and also actively declaring (as if on the offensive) one’s personal convictions. One can do neither of these unless they are properly trained in the word of God. But if that is the case, then that person will “withstand in the evil day.”
This is not speaking of any specific day (such as “the Day of the Lord”), but rather it is speaking of each and every day that one may face the evil onslaught of the devil and his forces. For the Christian, every day may be “the evil day,” or it may come only occasionally. However, if Paul is writing to all Christians, as he is, then all can expect the evil day to come. We must be prepared for it so that when it arrives, we will be able to handle it.
He finishes with, “and having done all, to stand.” In other words, we will have been able to stand because we engaged in the battle with all of the necessary implements we needed in order to be effective in our warfare. We employed our defensive implements as well as our offensive ones. We were able to stay off the incoming attacks, and we were able to go after the enemy and slay him.
In the coming verses, Paul will name five implements that we can use in order to be effective in this battle. They can be compared to the “five smooth stones” that David picked up in 1 Samuel 17:40 in order to slay the giant Goliath. David was prepared for the battle, and he prevailed. If we follow through with Paul’s advice, we too will prevail in the battle against the spiritual forces of wickedness which surround us and come against us. In the end, we will stand. Paul speaks in similar terms in 1 Corinthians 15:58 –
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Life application: We are to declare our personal convictions boldly, and we are not to cave on them. Oh! That Christians would be willing to solidify their personal convictions from a biblical standpoint, and then to actively proclaim them. We are admonished to do so, but in today’s world, we have become too peevish about “offending” others to do what we are instructed to do. Offense schmoffense! Who cares about offense when the sacred duty of upholding the word of God is ours to defend and proclaim. Christian! grow a spine and hold fast to this sacred treasure which has been placed in your care.
Lord God Almighty, Your word tells us that we are in a spiritual battle, but a real battle nonetheless. In this war, we are to take with us implements which are both offensive and defensive in nature, and we are to engage the enemy. It is a battle which specifically revolves around what is moral and just. But Your people today are worried about “offending” others. We have become peevish and unwilling to defend what Your word calls morally right and wrong. Offense schmoffense! If something is an abomination to You, then it is to be so to us as well. May we not be wimps in the face of moral perversion, but rather advocates of Your word – willing to put aside “tolerance” and offend a little if need be. Whose side are we on anyway! May Your people proclaim Your word unashamedly. Amen.