Practical Truth in Ephesians (2)
The Spiritual Armour (Eph. 6:14-18)
No 1 "Be strong in the Lord" (Eph.6:10)
No 3 "and having done all, to
stand " (Eph. 6:13)
In the doctrinal section we learn of the great and wonderful spiritual blessings
that are ours in Christ. By faith we enjoy them now, but the full
realization is future. Now, we have the earnest, or foretaste, a pledge of the
blessing to be enjoyed later.
We read of the will of the Father, who chose us and adopted us into the family
with an inheritance in view. The work of the Son is set out, the redemption
through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of our sins
according to the riches of His grace. The witness of the Spirit includes the
sealing with that Holy Spirit of promise, and in the Authorized Version we have
the phrase "after that ye believed". Ephesians 1:13,14 reads in the N.I.V., "And
you also were included in Christ when ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of
your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the
promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the
redemption of those who are God's possession-to the praise of His glory". No
wonder the apostle Paul exclaims in verse 3, "Blessed
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who hath blessed us with all
spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ".
Satan is in opposition to God's plan. We believe that Satan is a defeated enemy,
but the war is not yet over. We are subjected to attacks by the enemy, and we
are unable to withstand the wiles of the devil in our own strength. We must rely
on the power, the mighty power, that is given to us, and remember what Christ
has already done. So the apostle Paul writes in Romans:
"In all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor powers . . . shall be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom.8:37-39).
The extent of the victory of Christ is wider than we often think. He is victor
over death and the grave, and that is indeed wonderful for it leads us to think
of the resurrection power, but in the passage quoted above we see also a long
list of those things which cannot separate us from the love of God. In
Colossians 2:15 we see another viewpoint, the victory of Christ over
principalities and powers:
"And having spoiled the principalities and powers, He
made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it" (A.V.).
"And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of
them, triumphing over them by the cross" (N.I.V.).
Let us now look at the spiritual armour. We must
emphasise that the armour is `spiritual'.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:4;
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but
mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds".
In Romans 13:12 he refers to the "armour of light"
and in 2 Corinthians 6:7, the "armour of righteousness".
On page 414 of In Heavenly
Places, Charles Welch sets out the sixfold armour of Ephesians
4:14-18 in the form of a structure, which we quote:
THE GIRDLE Truth or faithfulness
THE SHOES Gospel of peace
A THE SHIELD Faith or
B THE HELMET
THE SWORD The Word of God
In connection with the girdle, we observe that Charles Welch writes "Truth or
faithfulness", and we may ask why he adds faithfulness. The Greek word
aletheia is translated "truth", but
Charles Welch points out that the LXX translates "faithfulness" by
aletheia, and quotes as an example Isaiah 11:5:
"Faithfulness (shall be) the girdle of his reins".
It is interesting to note that there is a link with the sixfold armour in other
"For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a
helmet of salvation upon his head" (Isa.59:17).
"How beautiful . . . are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that
publisheth peace" (Isa.52:7).
Truth is absolutely vital to the Christian. There is a link between
truth and faithfulness. The follower of Christ must be
sincere, speak the truth and defend the truth at all times. If there
is any doubt in the heart, the enemy will use that uncertainty to undermine
faith, and ultimately the Christian may be deceived. Satan used this method to
sow the seed of doubt when he spoke to Eve in the garden of Eden. So she was
persuaded to eat the forbidden fruit and she disobeyed.
In view of the importance of truth in the life of the Christian, it may be
helpful if we look at all the references to truth in this epistle. We found that
in Ephesians 4:24 the Authorized Version reads "and
that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true
holiness". The margin has a note which reads "the holiness of truth",
and it appears that this gives the literal translation. We therefore include
this in our list, and so there are seven references to "truth" which we find
form a pattern, which we give below:
Truth in Ephesians
A 1:13 Heard the word of truth
B 4:15 GROW UP
Speaking the truth in love
4:21 PUT OFF Taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus
4:24 PUT ON Righteousness and the holiness of truth
4:25 PUT AWAY Speak every man truth
B 5:9 FRUIT
Goodness and righteousness and truth
6:14 Loins girt about with truth
It will be seen that in the context of truth, we have the doctrine chapter one
(which we need to hold faithfully), followed by instructions which affect not
only our faith, but our daily life. We must be sincere, truthful, in our
dealings in business and in our social life, as we speak to our `neighbour'.
There are references to "grow up into Him in all things which is the Head, even
Christ", also to the "fruit of the Spirit", or as translated in the N.I.V. "the
fruit of the light", which follows the injuction of 5:8 to "walk as children of
light". There are the practical injuctions of putting off the old man, putting
on the new man, and putting away lying, so that we speak truth with our
neighbour. This is practical truth for today.
We find there are eight references to faith in Ephesians which might be in the
form of an introversion, like the structure of the references to Truth. We will
however just list the eight references, and leave the reader to test and seek
for the structure himself:
Faith in Ephesians
1:15 Heard of your faith
2:8 By grace are ye saved through faith
3:12 Access . . . by the faith of Him
3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith
4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism
4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith
6:16 The shield of faith
6:23 Peace . . love with faith
In connection with the "shield of faith" in 6:16, Charles Welch puts forward the
question, is this a reference to our faith, or the Lord's faithfulness? He then
draws attention to Psalm 91, as follows:
"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His
wings shah thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shaft not
be afraid for terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the
pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at
The next pair in the structure of The Sixfold Armour, under B.B,
is the Breastplate-righteousness, and The Helmet of salvation. Charles Welch
links these as `heart' and `head'. From a doctrinal aspect, salvation is
essential. We were by nature without Christ, having no hope, and without God in
the world. But it is by faith we are saved. In his book Letters From Prison,
page 111, Stuart Allen suggests that the breastplate righteousness does refer in
the first place to imputed righteousness, that it also has practical
implications. It refers to righteousness in action.
Stuart Allen also points out that the head stands for thinking and planning so
the helmet of salvation has doctrinal and practical implications.
The third pair in the structure, C. C, relating to the feet
and hands is "The Shoes-gospel of peace" and "The Sword-The Word of God".
There are four references to gospel in Ephesians, 1:13, 3:6, 6:15, and 6:19
and eight references to peace, bearing in mind that in the Greek "peace" occurs
twice in 2:17. We venture to set out these passages in a structure:
Peace in Ephesians
A 1:2 Grace and peace
B 2:14 He is our
2:15 Of twain, one new man, so making peace
2:17 Peace-those far off
2:17 Peace-them that were nigh
4:3 Endeavour to keep unity-bond of peace
B 6:15 Preparation of
gospel of peace
A 6:23 Peace and love with faith
The practical aspect of peace is shown in this structure. The need to keep the
unity of the Spirit is so important, and yet how difficult this can be. We
should be ready to declare the good news of peace, and witness to our faith at
The Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, is our only offensive weapon.
All the others are defensive. As we read of the temptation endured by our Lord,
we see how He used the Scriptures to great effect. In order that we should be
ready to use the sword, we need to read and study the Scripture continually. Let
us remember Colossians 3:16:
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all
wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord".
G. T. FOSTER