DAY 5: Why does Paul insist in Ephesians 6:10–17 that Christians must be prepared for spiritual battle?
The true believer described in chapters 1–3, who lives the Spirit-controlled life described in 4:1–6:9, can be sure to encounter spiritual warfare. So Paul closed his letter with warnings about upcoming battles and instructions about victorious living. The Lord provides His saints with sufficient armor to combat and defeat the adversary.Ephesians 6:10–13 briefly sets forth the basic truths regarding the believer’s necessary spiritual preparation as well as truths about the enemy, the battle, and the victory. Verses 14–17 specify the six most necessary pieces of spiritual armor with which God equips His children to resist and overcome Satan’s assaults. The spiritual equipment parallels the standard military equipment worn by soldiers in Paul’s day:
1. Belt of truth—The soldier wore a tunic of loose-fitting clothing. Since ancient combat was largely hand-to-hand, the tunic was a potential hindrance and danger. The belt cinched up the loose material. The belt that pulls together all the spiritual loose ends is “truth” or, better, “truthfulness.”
2. Breastplate of righteousness—A tough, sleeveless piece of leather or heavy material covered the soldier’s full torso, protecting his heart and other vital organs. Because righteousness, or holiness, is such a distinctive characteristic of God Himself, it is easy to understand why it is the Christian’s chief protection against Satan and his schemes.
3. Boots of the gospel—Roman soldiers wore boots with nails in them to grip the ground in combat. The gospel of peace pertains to the good news that through Christ believers are at peace with God, and He is on their side (Rom. 5:6–10).
4. Shield of faith—This Greek word usually refers to the large shield that protected the soldier’s entire body. The believer’s continual trust in God’s Word and promise is “above all” absolutely necessary to protect him or her from temptations to every sort of sin.
5. Helmet of salvation—The helmet protected the head, always a major target in battle. This passage is speaking to those who are already saved; therefore, it does not refer to attaining salvation. Rather, since Satan seeks to destroy a believer’s assurance of salvation with his weapons of doubt and discouragement, the believer must be as conscious of his or her confident status in Christ as he or she would be aware of a helmet on the head.
6. Sword of the Spirit—A sword was the soldier’s only weapon. In the same way, God’s Word is the only weapon that a believer needs, infinitely more powerful than any of Satan’s devices.
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,www.thomasnelson.com.