Waging War or Waiting for War?
by Dennis Michelson
In all of the preceding sections Paul has described salvation as being, on the one hand, the product of God's sovereign grace, and on the other hand the promised reward of human effort, the latter being possible from start to finish by the former. These two elements - divine grace and human responsibility - are again most beautifully combined in this closing section of the book. Man must equip himself with the whole armor of God - that is - man alone must put the armor on for himself. Nevertheless, the weapons are called the whole armor of God. It is God who has forged them. It is God who gives the armor but it is man who appropriates the armor.
I. The War Must Be Fought Personally
Ephesians 6:10 - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Apart from Christ believers can accomplish no spiritual good. We are seen like branches severed from the vine. On the other hand, in close fellowship with the Lord we can do everything we need to do. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
II. The War Must Be Fought Intelligently
Ephesians 6:11 - Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
It is true that the purpose of God from eternity will never fail, but it is just as true that in the plan of God from eternity it was decided that victory will be given to those who overcome.
2:7 - He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
A brief review of the wiles (crafty methods) of the devil:
1. He mixes error with just enough truth to make it sound plausible.
2. He quotes (out of context) Scripture.
3. He masquerades as an angel of light (II Cor. 11:14)
4. He "causes" ministers to fashion themselves as the apostles of Christ (II Cor. 11:13)
5. He mimics God (II Thess. 2:1-4, 9)
6. He strengthens people in their belief that he (devil) does not exist.
7. He enters places where he is not "expected" (Matt. 24:15; II Thess. 2:4)
8. Above all else, he promises people that the way to obtain good is by doing evil (Luke 4:6-7)
III. The War Must Be Fought Strenuously
Ephesians 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.
IV. The War Must Be Fought Thoroughly
Ephesians 6:13 - Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Conclusion: Remember that our war is against our enemy the devil - all others are actually victims of the enemy. Sadly, many professing believers spend more time and energy fighting each other and never really focus on the enemy.