Letter to the Ephesians: Commentary, Part 11 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Ephesians, Chapter 6:10-20, NKJV:

The Full Armor of God

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the LORD and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you will be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which, you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 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, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints –and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the Gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”

Our strength and real might come from the hand of the LORD. We can never fight the evil of this world in our own strength (1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Tim.2:1). We are to put on the whole armor of God and keep it on, as we are in a continuing fight against the forces of evil led by Satan and his minions (Romans 13:12; 2 Cor. 6:7; 1 Thess. 5:8). Our real enemy is NOT flesh and blood. Tyrants, dictators, and terrorists have come and gone and will face their judgment at the designated time in history (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15). Our real foe, the devil, is well-organized, powerful, and has willing accomplices in this world who are bent on doing his will.

The demonic powers have different rankings and responsibilities and are involved in wretched and malevolent perversions and all types of immoral action and behavior. We cannot and must not confront those powers without the LORD and His salvation and authority. We need the armor of God in order to resist the work of the devil and stand firm against his schemes; to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and take the offensive side in the fight (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9). From the day we become a true child of God, we are at war and do not put down our weapons until He calls us home (2 Cor. 5:6; 1 Thess. 4:13-18).

In his commentary on Ephesians, Dr. John MacArthur lists nine ways that Satan attacks us as followers of Jesus Christ:

1) He impugns God’s character and credibility.

2) He tries to undermine present victory by generating trouble and difficulties.

3) He spreads doctrinal confusion and falsehood.

4) He hinders God’s people from service.

5) He causes divisions.

6) He persuades believers to trust their own resources.

7) He leads believers into hypocrisy.

8) He keeps believers focused on the things of the world (Romans 12:1-2).

9) He keeps us from obeying God’s Word.

What, then, are the weapons of our warfare against the darkness of Satan?

Paul tells the Ephesians that the girding of our waist needs to be with truth, totally committed to the work of Christ, and to be dressed in a way so as not to stumble and fall spiritually.

We are also instructed to wear the breastplate of righteousness, which for a Roman soldier was an armored plate worn against the chest for protection of the vital organs. Symbolically, Christ is our protector and armor against the works of the enemy.

A good soldier will also have his feet shod with the shoes of the gospel of peace, giving him the ability to march in step with the orders of the LORD in presenting the Gospel to everyone with whom they come into contact. The shoes also protect the feet against the hardness of the ground, representative of the difficulties we face in our journey as Christians.

There is also the shield of faith, which protects us from the weapons of the devil. A Roman shield was long enough to protect the entire body in times of battle. Just as the warrior trusts his shield to protect him from harm, so does the believer trust Christ by faith to protect him from the devil’s arsenal (1 Sam. 17:45; 2 Cor. 10:4; Heb. 4:12).

The Word of God is our deadliest weapon. It is a sword that cuts down the enemy as well as cut out infections from a soul festered in the wounds of the world and false teachings.

The helmet of salvation represents the covering that the Lord Jesus places upon us while in this world and is symbolic of His eternal promise to keep us in His care for eternity (John 10:28-30; Hebrews 13:5).

Our duties as Christian soldiers are to keep an attitude of continual prayer, to walk daily in the power of the Spirit, being open and sensitive to His direction, and to be bold in our proclamation of the Gospel, which is Paul’s request to the Ephesians while he is in prison for the sake of the LORD.

This is a sign of the trials we will face while here in this world, but we are also promised that one day the Lord Jesus will return to make all things new and show us that all we went through for His sake was well worth it and to show a sin-infested world that it is the Sovereign Lord God Almighty who has the final word.

This ends the series on Ephesians.