What does it mean to stand? It is helpful to recognize that “stand” is to Paul what “abide” is to John, recognizing that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). In view is union with Christ and the outworking of that union. That explains the language of Paul throughout Ephesians that speaks of every blessing of salvation being bound up in Christ and the strength needed being found in Christ.
With Paul in the School of Spiritual Warfare (4 of 5)
This is the fourth installment of a five-part series on spiritual warfare. For further study see my two books on the subject: Warfare Witness: Contending with Spiritual Opposition in Everyday Evangelism (Christian Focus, 224 pages) and What is Spiritual Warfare? (P&R Basics of the Faith Series, 44 pages). Links to the previous installments can be found here, here, and here.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4–5, ESV)
Now at letter’s end, the stream of thought that has wound its way through the epistle to the Ephesians opens up to explicit matters of spiritual warfare. Chapter 6 deals with our enemy, our battle plan, our weapons and our strategies.
Paul reminds us of our enemy. We “do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (6:12). Our attention is directed to a spiritual foe (v. 11) which we fight by standing firm in Christ, who has been given all authority (Eph. 1:21), and by finding our strength in that Lord (v. 10).
Paul goes on to lay out the armor of God for us. While it is true that most of the armor listed is defensive, in no way does that suggest passivity in spiritual warfare.
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