Ephesians 6:10-14 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. 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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore.”
THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
Loren Larson – The book of Ephesians is often referred to as the “queen of the epistles.” Perhaps this is because of its content, which deals with exhortation and encouragement relative to the believer’s relationship with Christ. It does contain reproof and correction, as is true of all Scripture, but the primary purpose of Paul’s letter was to build up the believer in the knowledge of the bounty and blessings established for him in Christ Jesus.
The book itself is divided into two major divisions. The first division contains doctrine and tells the believer what he or she needs to believe. The second half of the epistle is fundamentally practical. Once the Christian “knows” something, that knowledge goes to waste if it is not carried out in everyday practice and living. Chapters 1 through 3 are, therefore, doctrinal. Chapters 4 through 6 are predominantly practical application. Also, within these two major divisions, there are three subsections (as I see it) that correspond with the words sit, walk, and stand. I am not the first author to use this designation, but I feel very strongly that these are the book’s proper divisions. The word sit is the dominating idea covering Chapters 1 through 3. The word walk maintains the theme from the start of Chapter 4, Verse1, until Chapter 6, Verse 9. The word stand is the motif of Chapter 6, Verse10, to the close of the book. We will come to learn that before a believer can truly be victorious in spiritual warfare, he must learn how to sit, how to walk, and how to stand.
The word sit speaks of the Christian who is resting in Christ’s finished work. We draw this word from Ephesians 2:6, where the Bible says, “And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”
When one sits, it is indicative of rest, even as Christ who was crucified, was buried, experienced resurrection, ascended to the right hand of God, and sat down. There is no more work that needs to be done relative to God’s redemption plan. The author of our salvation, Jesus Christ, finished the work on Calvary and sits now at the Father’s right hand in a place of glorification and preeminence.
The believer enters into Christ’s finished work and is granted the benefits that only faith in that finished work can bring. Time and space do not allow me to list all the benefits of the Cross here, but we must come to understand that all of these benefits are granted to the believer on the basis of faith and grace. The believer places his or her faith in Christ and Him crucified and based on that alone, he begins instantly to receive benefits. We must learn to rest in this truth.
Jesus said, “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Hebrews 4:11 declares that the believer is to “labour therefore to enter into that rest.” Our labor is the work of faith. God’s response to properly placed faith is to extend grace to the one whose faith is in His Son alone. Therefore, we are to rest and consistently rely upon the process of grace and faith.
RESTING IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
The believer does not labor, work for, or earn God’s righteousness. It is freely imputed whenever the believing sinner places his or her faith in the finished work of the Cross. Paul taught that man could not be justified by what he did when he wrote in Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” and again in Romans 4:5, where he stated, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
The believer will never rise positionally above the imputed righteousness of Christ. His condition should rise by applying the correct biblical process of sanctification to his life, but he will never attain to a higher position of righteousness than the one he has been freely given one second after his initial salvation experience. Therefore, the believer is to rest or sit in the knowledge that God sees us as righteous as long as our faith remains pure in Christ and the Cross as the sole means of salvation and sanctification.
RESTING IN HIS PROTECTION
Not only does the believer rest in the process of grace and faith, and not only does the believer rest in the imputed righteousness of Christ, he is also to rest in the knowledge that his life is protected by God the Father as a result of his being put into Christ Jesus at salvation.
There is a hedge of protection around every believer, and Satan does not have the authority to cross that hedge unless given permission by God Himself. Colossians 3:3 says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” To be “hid” implies both concealment and safety—both invisibility and security. In other words, the believer is completely protected.
The very word translated as the word saved, as written in Ephesians 2:8, indicates that every believer is to be saved, delivered, and protected. As well, it is sometimes translated as healed. So, when the believer takes on Jesus Christ as Saviour by grace through faith, he is promised to experience salvation, deliverance, protection, and healing.
Isn’t it time that you learn how to sit and rest in the finished work of Christ? It is imperative that we understand this concept before we enter into true spiritual warfare.
The word walk is the main thesis that begins in Ephesians 4:1 and continues until chapter 6:9. In Ephesians 4:1, the Bible states that the believer is to walk worthy of his vocation. What is the vocation or calling of the believer? While we have many different roles and functions to fulfill, we have but one common responsibility, which is laid upon every believer—we are to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Every Christian is to become Christ like, to have the mind of Christ, and to walk and exhibit divine attributes that come from the working of the Spirit. We are all responsible to exhibit Christ to the world in which we live. That is our first and foremost vocation! That is our highest and most urgent responsibility!
So the command to walk worthy indicates that the believer ought to be working towards this principle goal with the same intensity that God approached bringing salvation to mankind. In other words, God gave His best to bring us salvation. Are we doing our best to appropriate and walk in what He has provided?
The believer must not just act right or try to copy the actions of Jesus. We are not called upon to imitate Christ; we are called to learn how to let the very life of Christ flow though us. Only then can we be truly exhibiting Christ. This life flow of our Saviour is only possible when we learn the secret of sanctifying grace. This grace is the active power of the Holy Spirit, which molds us into Christ’s image and produces the true “fruit” of the Spirit.
Every command to become something can only be accomplished by grace through faith. Therefore, as the believer places his or her faith in Christ and His finished work, God’s grace (the effectual working of the Holy Spirit) is freely given (this is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus).
So, as we overview the following exhortations to “walk” we must never forget how that is to be carried out. We have to know how to do “the what to do.” We must approach these commandments by and through the help of God’s grace. If we don’t understand this concept, then we are doomed to failure or inconsistency. No fleshly effort will ever be able to consistently carry out the following commands to “walk.”
WALK AS A NEW MAN
In order to walk as a new creation man, the mind of the believer has to be renewed to the acknowledgment and lifelong practice of faith in Christ and the Cross. As our mind, soul, and spirit acquiesce to the need for properly placed faith, we approach each issue of our lives in a new way. We walk as a new man, not trusting in ourselves, or our meager human effort. We “put off” the old man daily by denying self and embracing the provision of grace through faith in the cross.
God’s Spirit—seeing that we are approaching relationship with God in the appropriate way—works in us and through us and enables us to grow more and more into the image of Christ. This is why Ephesians 4:17 warns us not to walk in the vanity or meaninglessness of our own mind. By following this mindset and proper object of faith, we learn to “walk in love”(Ephesians 5:2), “walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8), and we are called to “walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 5:15).
WALK IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
The second section that focuses on the need to “walk” closes out commanding the believer to be continuously filled again and again with the Holy Spirit. This means that all aspects of the Spirit’s work in our lives must continue. It indicates the need for a renewal of the Spirit. Just being saved, where the introduction to the saving and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is first encountered, is not sufficient. Experiencing the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit that is accompanied with the evidence of speaking with other tongues just once is not enough. Every aspect of the Spirit’s work must be renewed again and again. Knowing the truth of how the Spirit works means that we look for many and varied moves of the Spirit in the ongoing everyday course of our lives to help keep us on track, to enable us to continually love Jesus, to encourage us to reach a little higher in regard to righteous living.
Nothing that is done in the life and heart of the Christian is worthwhile unless it stems from the Spirit’s work within us. The Spirit moves and equips us when our faith is directed toward Christ and His work! We need to be “being filled” with the power of the Holy Spirit!
THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
The third section of Ephesians is what we have been building toward. If the believer knows how to sit and is properly versed and active in how to walk then, and only then, might they find the ability to successfully face the powers of darkness which are arrayed against us. Then, and only then, will the believer be truly able to stand.
The concept of standing must be understood in the light of one who is standing to maintain something already established. The word itself means to stand fast against an enemy or against opposition.
The story of David and Goliath comes to mind. To stand does not mean to run down into the valley and defeat the giant. To stand indicates that the battle is already won, that my foot is on the neck of the defeated giant and that his decapitated head is held high in victory in my hand.
To stand means to stay, to remain firm, or to hold one’s position. The believer is not standing in order to gain a victory, he is standing in order to declare and maintain the victory already won. We stand by faith in the face of opposition that is attempting to cause us to doubt that the giant has already been defeated.
By standing in the truth that we know we are equipped spiritually is to withstand. To withstand means to have the power to resist or to overcome. As we face the spiritual forces arrayed against us, we are to sink down into the full armor of God, we are to dress ourselves in the full provision of God, and we are to fight the fight of faith in the protection that the whole armor of God provides.
THE WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE
The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians 10:4 that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal.”
What weapons do we have that help us to stand that are not of human or fleshly origin? Let me suggest that some of our weapons are listed right here in Ephesians 6, verses 14 through 18. These are weapons that we cannot conjure up or manufacture, and they are weapons we are to stand in.
First is the power of truth. If believers know how to live for God by faith in the Cross, then they are standing in the truth.
Second, if they are believing in Christ’s Cross relative to God’s redemption plan, then they are standing in the righteousness of God.
Third, if they continually rely on the Cross, then they will be comforted and led by peace that passes all understanding, which will prepare them to face the enemy without fear.
Fourth, as they hold to truth, righteousness, and peace, they will be shielded from the direct attacks of the enemy by raising the shield of faith.
Fifth, when their minds and thoughts stay centered upon the power available through God’s true salvation plan, then no debilitating doubt about their relationship with God, or the way in which God works, will penetrate their hearts to destroy their faith.
Sixth, the believer has the availability of the Word of God, which has the ability to cut down the enemy’s attack against his faith. Knowing and understanding the Bible is a must if the believer is to accurately and with proper efficiency “swing” the sword of the Spirit.
And the seventh weapon is the ability that we have to access the throne of God by prayer. As we take every need, every desire, and every issue to the Lord, then we learn that He is ever faithful to accommodate all aspects of our lives. As we lift our needs to Him, then He willingly, lovingly, and with all wisdom intervenes perfectly into the issues of our lives. Through the proper use and application of this armor and this heavenly weaponry, believers will find themselves both clothed in the armor of God and standing in the equipping grace of God.
JESUS PAID IT ALL
Jesus has paid the price on Calvary that we might first sit, then walk, and finally stand. He has furnished us with the armor and every weapon that is required to walk victoriously over the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Believe in His precious finished work, and you, too, will find the supernatural ability of the Lord to help you sit, walk, and stand.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe,
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.