In our message, STANDING FOR GOD (Eph. 6:10-13), we started to look at the Lord’s “Final” words for us in the book of Ephesians.
Because Christians have been “delivered from the power of darkness… into the kingdom of… His love” by grace through faith, we inherit not only all the love of God but also all the hate of the devil (Col. 1:13-14; Eph. 2:1-9, etc.). We are therefore commanded to “be strong in the Lord and the power of His might” (Eph. 1:17-23; 3:6-21; 6:10, etc.). The wording here in Ephesians 6:10 is passive in the Greek meaning we are to let God strengthen us in His might- much like we do not fill ourselves with His Spirit but permit Him to fill us (e.g. Eph. 5:18). God continues, “Put on” (or ‘clothe yourselves’ -NET) with “the whole armor of God” (Eph. 4:22-32; 6:11a, etc.). We see here again, walking with God is not automatic for a Christian, and as His “dear children” we are called to imitate/mimic our heavenly Father daily by seeking to follow Him (Eph. 5:1-7; Mark 8:34; Col. 3:10, 12-14; Rom. 12:1-2; 13:14, etc.).
Putting on “the whole armor of God” is commanded here with urgency so we can “STAND against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 5:15-16; 6:11b). We have an enemy of our souls, and this is the second time God has specifically called him out by name in the book of Ephesians (i.e. Eph. 4:27). In our passage today “devil” means accuser (Rev. 12:7-11), but the Bible shows us the enemy of our souls has many names. In the original creation, before “iniquity was found in [him],” this “anointed cherub” was called “Lucifer, son of the morning” (Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:14-15; 2 Thes. 2:7, etc.). Elsewhere he is known as “Satan” which means adversary (Zech. 3:2; Matt. 4:10, etc.). He is the adversary of God and also all people, whether they realize it or not. Other names for him include “the tempter,” “murderer,” and “liar” (Matt. 4:3; John 8:44; 1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 12:9, etc.), but perhaps he is best known simply as the deceiver because he continues to “blind” lost people from their need of Jesus and cast doubt through his schemes (i.e. “wiles”) even for Christians on the truth of the Bible (Eph. 6:11; Ps. 11:3; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 5:6-7; Gal. 6:7; 2 Cor. 11:15, etc.). Scripture shows us this was the first thing Satan said to humanity in the garden (i.e. “Has God indeed said…?”) which plunged the human race and the entire universe into sin and death at the catastrophic event known as “the Fall” (Gen. 3). It was through this deception that Satan also became “the god of this age” or as Jesus terms it, “the ruler of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4; John 14:30; 16:11, etc.). Jesus defeated him and all the demons who fell with him at the cross (Rev. 12:4; Phil. 2:9-11; Eph. 1:10, 17-21; Col. 2:13-15, etc.), but, as “the prince of the power of the air,” the Bible shows us the devil still (through the fall of man) exercises “sway” or power and control over “the whole world” today until Jesus comes back and establishes His kingdom (Eph. 2:2; 1 John 5:19; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 11:15; 20:1-3, etc.).
But the devil, as a limited creature, cannot exercise his dominion alone. Scripture shows us he also works through “principalities… powers… the rulers of the darkness of this age [that is, this world, and]… spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 4:12b; Mark 3:23-24, etc.). While much could be said about these demonic authorities who hold “sway” over the ‘world system,’ it is most important for believers to know as God’s “ambassadors” in this dark world that our Lord is sovereign and in control over all things (Dan. 10:13; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Eph. 1:11; 6:19-20; Rom. 8:28; Gen. 6:1-2; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Jude 6; Rev. 20:1-3, 10; Col. 1:16-18, etc.). Equally important to realize from this verse is that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Eph. 4:12a). That is, our real battle is not with lost people, but with the demonic beings working through them (Eph. 4:12b; Heb. 2:16; Rom. 5:8; John 3:16, etc.). We want all people to hear and believe the gospel so they can be saved (1 Tim. 2:1-5; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31; Heb. 2:1-9; Ps. 8; 2 Cor. 6:2-4; 1 Pet. 1:12, etc.). The lake of fire was prepared NOT for humans but for fallen angels (Matt. 25:41; Heb. 2:14-16, etc.), but sadly, people who reject God’s free gift of eternal life will also perish there “forever and ever” (John 3:17-18; Rev. 20:10-15, etc.).
In view of the fact that we are in a great battle as God’s “soldiers” and “ambassadors” in a dark world, the Lord commands us again to “take up the whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:13a; 2 Tim. 2:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:20-21; John 3:19, 12:46, etc.). This is so we “may be able to… STAND in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND” (Eph. 6:13b). All Christians are saved by grace, but to stand, we need to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might- purposeful about our walk with Him (Eph. 2:8-9; 5:15-18; 1 John 1:9; 2:28; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 3:13-15, etc.).