Practical Truth in Ephesians
"and having done all, to stand " (Eph. 6:13)
No 1 "Be strong in the Lord" (Eph.6:10)
The Spiritual Armour (Eph 6:14-18)
We have considered verse 10 of chapter 6 (Be strong), and verses 14-17
which describe the spiritual armour. Now we study the conflict described in
verses 11-13. The fact that there are only three verses does not mean that this
is not important: how profound are the statements contained therein, and we must
add, how real is the foe! Because we cannot see the enemy we may tend to forget
him and ignore his existence. Satan does not always go about like a roaring
lion. He can, and frequently does, work so quietly that we fail to appreciate
what is happening. Possibly, when we wake up to the situation, it is too late to
take effective action.
There are numerous references to Satan in the Scriptures and he is given various
titles. Let us search and see what the Scriptures say about him.
The first time we read of Satan's activity is in Genesis, where we read about
the fall of man. He is not called Satan but the serpent. The A.V. reads "Now the
serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord had made"
(Gen. 3:1). Satan whispers "Hath God said", and so the seed of doubt is sown.
Disobedience followed. This is mentioned in Ephesians:
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2).
Here we find another title, "the prince of the power of the air".
Other titles are given in Revelation 12:9:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent,
called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world".
When our Lord was on the earth He called Satan "the prince of this world", and
the battle with Satan is clear when we read the references:
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the
prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31).
"Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh,
and hath nothing in me" (John 14:30).
"And when He (the Comforter) is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of
righteousness, and of judgment . . . of judgment, because the prince of this
world is judged" (John 16:8,11).
Paul uses another title, the "god of this world", and he warns the
Corinthians that the god of this world deceives and blinds the eyes of those who
will not believe:
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are
lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe
not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God,
should shine unto them" (2 Cor.4:3,4).
As we think of the activity of the Deceiver, may we join with Paul in his prayer
that we may receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
the eyes of our understanding being enlightened (Eph.1:16-18).
Paul describes Satan as an angel of light and Peter in his warning describes
Satan as one who goes around like a roaring lion:
"For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen,
masquerading apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerade;
angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as s~ of
righteousness" (2 Cor.11:13-15 N.I.V.).
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil
prowls around roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing
firm faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are
undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:8,9 N.I.V.).
In 1 Timothy 3:6 there is a warning against pride which was the cause of the
devil's downfall. Christ was very outspoken about the dev he addressed the Jews;
He said they were of their father, the devil. a murderer from the beginning and
he did not abide in the truth. liar and the father of it (John 8:44).
In Hebrews we read that Satan had the power of death, but Jesus shared flesh and
blood, that through death, He might destroy him t the power of death, that is,
the devil (Heb.2:14-18).
We must also include a reference to the parable of the tares. In h 13:24-43 the
devil is described as the enemy who sowed tares in t after the farmer had sown
good seed. Good and bad grew up together and one could not tell which was good
and which was bad. So it is in the world where there are children of the Kingdom
and children of the wicked one. How difficult it is for us to know who is
a child of the evil one! Only at the last day shall the good and bad be
separated. What wisdom we need lest we are led astray by one who pretends to be
a leader but who is n sent by God.
Now we must turn to other aspects. In Ephesians 6:12 (A.V.) we read,
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood . . .",
and it is interesting to look at other translations:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood . . ."
"For we are not contending against flesh and blood. . ." (R.S.V.
Paul frequently writes about contending and he prefers to use the of the
athlete, although he does refer to the soldier. He uses the word
agonizo, which means to agonize or contest publicly (Young's
Analytical Concordance). It occurs in Luke 13:24 and John 18:36. we quote four
references taken from Paul's letters. We should mention that
agonizo is translated "strive" or "fight", and
in one place -labouring fervently":
"And every man that striveth for the mastery is
temperate in all thin they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorn
(1 Cor. 9:25).
"Epaphras . . . always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that stand
perfect and complete in all the will of God" (Co1.4:12).
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life. . ." (1 Tin
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept if (2
Our struggle is with principalities and powers. What do we know about them?
There are about 400 references to angels; over 200 in the O.T. and about 188 in
the N.T. They are heavenly messengers. The number of passages of Scripture that
mention principalities and powers are few. It appears they are the heavenly
aristocracy. Some of them accept the Lordship of Christ but others were in
opposition to Him. Let us collect the references and learn what we can about
these heavenly beings.
||tells us nothing can
separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, not even
principalities and powers.
||speaks of Christ
being seated at His (the Father's) right
hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power.
|| is a most
remarkable verse so we quote it in full. "To the intent that now unto the
principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church
the manifold wisdom of God".
|| "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
|| tells us that all
things were created by Him and for Him (the Son). Principalities and powers
are specifically mentioned.
||says that Christ is
the head of all principality and power.
||"He disarmed the
principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over
them in it"
In the Revised Version of Ephesians 6:12, instead of "the rulers of the
darkness of this world", it reads "the world rulers of this darkness". Stuart
Allen in his book Letters From Prison, page 109, makes very interesting
observations on the activities of the spiritual world. Space does not permit us
to quote his remarks.
We must conclude this article by referring to the "mighty power inworked" and
"the mighty power worked out". The mighty power which was wrought in Christ when
He rose from the dead, is the mighty power "in-worked"; i.e. it is the
resurrection power and is to us-ward who believe (Eph.1:19,20). Another verse
which speaks of the power that works in us is Ephesians 3:20:
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or
think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the
church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen".
The mighty power that "worketh in us" should be balanced by the "mighty power
worked out". The Authorised Version of Ephesians 6:13 does not make this clear.
It reads ". . . that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having
done all, to stand". The phrase is the Greek
katergazomai and should read literally
"having worked out all". It appears also in Philippians 2:12 where we read "work
out your own salvation with fear and trembling".
We are engaged in a great conflict. A great power is ours by faith, the
resurrection power, and it is by God's help that we are enabled to star despite
the pressure we experience. We have the power and we have t spiritual armour.
We are not instructed to attack the enemy or to advance into his territory. We
are just told to stand. If we experience the battle of the evil day, we are to
withstand and having worked out all, to stand.
We may experience many assaults of the enemy, and we need wisdom when we are
under pressure resulting from the "wiles of the devil". Our stand must be to
safeguard the truth committed to us and to hold fast the form of sound words.
May we receive strength so that we may stand firm whenever the truth is being
G. T. FOSTER