“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-20)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.
In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.
- The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
- The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
- The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
- The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
- The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
- The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
- The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
- The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-20)
The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of PREPAREDNESS (6:1-10-20)…
One of the greatest needs for Christians is to prepare beforehand for the spiritual warfare in which they face. The Bible clearly speaks of the need to recognize our enemy, the devil, and properly prepare for his attacks upon us …
1Pe 5:8-9 KJV – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I. The Need For The Armour Of God (vs 10-13)
II. The Identity Of The Armour Of God (vs 14-17)
III. The Empowerment Of The Armour Of God (vs 18)
IV. The Ministry Enabled By The Armour Of God (vs 19-20)
Now Paul turns our attention to the necessity of this armour…
(Eph 6:12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The necessity of this armour is entirely based upon the nature and power of the enemy of the Lord’s people. In this verse, we will see a detailed description of the enemy that is constantly at work to bring down each one of us.
For we wrestle
The nature of the warfare in the life of a Christian is described as “wrestling”. From this term, we can learn several things:
1. It is a “personal war” – it is a one on one struggle. We are personally accountable to prepare for this war properly and to ready ourselves for this battle. Although other men may encourage and help us prepare, ultimately we face our enemy in a very personal, singular way, in which on other man can fight the battle for us. Although Christians entirely find their sufficiency in God, they must choose to follow Christ and to resist the temptation comes before them. (Hebrews 12:4)
2. It is a war of strength – This shows us the need to rely upon the Lord’s enabling. In and of ourselves, we do not come close to possessing the spiritual strength to gain the victory. (Romans 8:37, 1 John 4:4)
3. It is a war of endurance – Unlike many other contests that are won or lost in a single action, wrestling involves gaining victory gradually, as the strength of the opponent wanes. Many times the temptations and battles that take place are extended over a period of time. Victory requires a patient, continued trusting in the Lord by faith. (James 1:2-6, Romans 12:12)
4. It is a war that offers rewards to the victor. In Paul’s day wrestling was one of the chief competitions of the Olympic games. Upon gaining the victory they would be rewarded with a crown. So, too, there is a special crown awaiting the Christian for being faithful, and triumphant, in the spiritual war we face. (Romans 2:6-7, James 1:12, Rev 2:10)
not against flesh and blood,
This warfare is not one the physical level, nor is it reliant upon physical strength…
2Co 10:2-6 KJV –
“But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
but against principalities,
Our warfare IS on a spiritual level, that pits us against several types of spiritual beings…
1. “principality” – those who hold top rank within a group
2. “powers” – those who possesses any authority over others
against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
3. “rulers of the darkness of this world” – those who rule the world and control the sinfulness of this age.
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
4. “spiritual wickedness in high places” – depravity and evil that exists above the earth (in outer space and our atmosphere). The phrase “high places” comes from a term that clearly means “above the sky”. This tells us that spiritual wickedness exists in outer space. This Greek word NEVER describes a position of authority as being a “high place”. It always is used to describe a physical location (ie. a place above the physical sky). I can see no other way to understand this phrase.
It is necessary for me to make a few points about this description of spiritual wickedness:
a. This limits the extent of the influence of wickedness to all of God’s creation. Although Satan desired to be exalted ABOVE the heavens (Isa 14:12-15), he was foiled, cast out of the third heaven (God’s abode) and them limited in influence to the creation of God (outer space, the atmosphere of earth, earth and beneath the earth.
b. Keep in mind, sin has touched all of God’s creation including outer space, our atmosphere, the earth and under the earth. These will all be purified and then remade into the “New Heavens and New Earth” at Christ’s coming (Isa 65:17-25, Rev 21:-22: etc.) This is why spiritual wickedness is not only described as affecting this earth, but “in high places” as well.
c. Please note: to say that spiritual wickedness exists in “high places” does not, necessarily, describe weird sci-fi events pictured in movies about alien visitations etc. There are modern day Bible teachers who claim that this phrase is proof positive of the existence of demonic aliens that live on other planets that are now visiting the earth.
However, on the contrary, it simply is describing the fact that Satan and his demons can be present in outer space as well as earth. An example of this would be that modern day astronauts can still face temptation and demonic influence and oppression while traveling into space. Although Satan is not present everywhere at one time, our sinful flesh, and other demonic spirits also play a role in this temptation and spiritual warfare against the saints. In this sense, there is nowhere in this creation to which man can flee to escape the presence of spiritual wickedness.
These three points are the basic Scriptural understanding of this last title for wickedness given to us by Paul.
(On a personal note. I do not believe in the existence of aliens nor alien visitation on earth. I believe it is very possible for Satan to place these thoughts and remembrances in the minds of the supposed “witnesses” confusing men and turning them from the truths of God to attract them to the false teachings of these beings.)
May we thank the Lord for His gracious supplying of the armour that will give us victory as we battle in His name.
How wonderful it is to know that although we face:
1. “principalities” (those who hold top rank among the wicked powers);
2. “powers” (those who possesses varying levels of authority over wicked powers);
3. “rulers of the darkness of this world” (those who rule the world and control the sinfulness of this age);
4. and “spiritual wickedness in high places” (depravity and evil that exists on earth, in outer space and in our atmosphere).
When we take time to consider the overpowering force that oppose our service to Christ, we can come to a better understanding of the absolute necessity of His armour. We can praise the name of the Lord, for He has given us the victory over all of these through His gracious intervention in our lives. It is through this intervention that He empowers us and protects us through the use of His wonderful spiritual armour.
May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!
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