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The Soldier-Believer

by Peter Wade

A war is in progress and the believer is right on the firing line. This is the vivid picture brought to our notice by detailed figures of speech in Ephesians 6:10-17. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (verse 10).
       The word “finally” in verse ten tells us that first we ought to see where this section fits in the Word; and to understand it you need to understand the first two sections of Ephesians.
    Chapters one through three show the believer’s relationship to the Father and details what we are in Christ Jesus. Chapters 4:1 through 6:9 show the believer’s relationship to the world and details how we are to walk. This last section shows the believer’s relationship to the enemy, Satan.
    These three aspects will overlap, so we cannot say that for the first year of my Christian life I am going to sit with Christ in heavenly places, and the second year I am going to walk in Christ, and then the third year I will stand against the enemy. It will not work that way; but the longer we spend understanding what we are in Christ the more abundant and more accurate will be our walk, and with greater effectiveness we will resist the enemy.
     Many believers want to do battle before they can even walk, before they even know what they are in Christ Jesus. If they will only read and re-read Ephesians they will find out they are sons of God with power and will walk as children of God.

Stand your ground

The key word to this last section is the word “stand.” Verse 11, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand…” Verse 13, “… and having done all, to stand.” Verse 14, “Stand therefore…”
    In verse 11 we read, “Put on [be clothed with] the whole armour of God.” Nothing but the whole armour suffices for the believer and God has made the provision for you to have and to manifest the whole armour of God. Do not be content with a stick when He has every weapon that you need in His armory.
    Verse 11 continues, “… that ye may be able to stand against [all] the wiles of the devil.” The word “stand” used here refers not to the physical act of standing as compared to sitting, but has the meaning of standing one’s ground. It is a military term; standing one’s ground against the onslaught and attack of the enemy. As we would say today, “They held their position on hill 205”; they stood their ground. We can stand because we have been clothed with the whole armour of God. “Put on the whole armour of God, that [for this particular purpose] ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
    The word “wiles” is an interesting word. The English word “method” is transliterated from this same Greek word. The wiles of the devil are the different plans and schemes used to deceive, trap and enslave the unwary believer. The Father provided complete armour because He knew that we would be in a constant battle with the enemy. As we “put on the whole armour” we stand our ground against every cunning device of the devil.

Why we need to stand

In verse 12 the Father explains in detail the reason why we have to stand against the wiles of the devil. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” We do not wrestle against people or physical things, “… but, [in contrast with physical things, we have our fight against spiritual things] against principalities [the top brass in Satan’s realm], against powers [authorities], against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [on high].” It is a spiritual fight and that is why we need to be endued with spiritual weapons, the whole armour from God.
    Verse 13, “Wherefore [because of the fact that our fight is spiritual and not physical] take unto you the whole armour of God…” Here the statement of verse eleven is repeated for emphasis, for the Father wants us to stop and think about it. “… take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand…” The word “withstand” is to resist; not fight, but resist. “… and having done all [that is necessary to resist], to stand [hold your ground against the onslaught].”

How to stand

Verse 14, “Stand therefore…” Now we are going to be told how to stand, how to hold our ground against the onslaught of the enemy. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth…” You will never fail when truth is on your side. Not facts but truth, absolute truth, which has come by revelation from God. “… and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Do you know you are righteous now? Yes, you are seated in Christ in heavenly places and know what belongs to you. So you stand in the knowledge that you are righteous — the ability to stand before God without any sense of condemnation and stand before Satan without weakness or fear. Since I have the righteousness of God in Christ then I can do that. I know who I am and I know what I have as a Son of God with power .
    Verse 15 continues listing the armour, “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” It is always important for an army to have the correct footwear. I read about a man who walked all the way from California to New York City, a distance of about 3,000 miles. Upon his arrival in the big city, the newsmen asked him what was the hardest part of his trip. Was it climbing over the Rocky Mountains? Was it walking through the hot desert or crossing swollen rivers? Was it avoiding the heavy traffic in the cities? When the man answered “No ” to all these, he was asked just what was the hardest part of his trip. He replied, “It was the sand in my shoes!” Footwear is important. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
    “Above all…” Notice these words carefully, for now the most important part of your armour is being detailed. “Above all, taking the shield of faith [believing], wherewith ye shall [absolutely] be able to quench all [note “all”] the fiery darts of the wicked.” This is not an encouragement to fight, but an exhortation to use the shield of believing in the right place at the right time, The word “shall” is absolute, showing the shield of believing as a perfect piece of armour; it will never let you down as long as you use it. When the devil is shooting fiery darts at you,take your stand, resist the attack of the enemy with the shield of believing.
    Verse 17, “And take the helmet of salvation…” Just put it on; it is not a weapon with which to fight. The helmet protects the head and the mind. The mind is important to the believer. We renew our mind to what The Word says and make the mind our master and not our slave. The renewed mind is vital to our stand against the enemy. The Word says, “… we are more than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37), and only as we renew our mind to this truth do we take our stand against Satan.
    “And take … the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God.” We are not told to fight, but to stand. Why? Because we know who we are and what belongs to us; we know that we are sons of God with power. When the enemy comes against us, we just take our stand. Our sword is used for defense, for protection against the onslaught of the enemy. It is not activity that is being called for; you and I are to merely take our place and hold our ground as a son of God with power.
    There are a number of other Scriptures that use the same illustration of the believer as a soldier. Some of these are Philippians 2:25; Philemon 2; II Timothy 2:3-4; James 4:7; I Peter 5:9 and II Corinthians 10:4-5.
    Having recognized that a war is in progress, let us “Put on the whole armour” and take a determined stand against the enemy.

These truths are explored in more detail in “There Is A War On”, chapter 12 of the book Exciting Ephesians by Peter Wade.

Copyright © 1997 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated,is from the New International Version (NIV), Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. This article appears on the site: https://www.peterwade.com/.

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