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 may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6: 10-13
The first portion of the above passage begins with the word “Finally”. This word is generally used at the end of a paper or an essay as a concluding point to a particular message. In order to find out Paul’s earlier points prior to describing the armor of God, we need to look at the previous chapters.
Paul begins the book of Ephesians, by laying a solid foundation to establish the believers in the faith. He prays for that we would continue to have revelation in our understanding about the finished work of Jesus on the cross. This is an important aspect of Christian faith. We are bombarded with much information about the Lord and the Bible. Our homes are full of various versions of the Bible, and we become content in receiving information rather than praying that God would give us revelation.
Starting in chapter 4, Paul begins to exhort us that in the light of Jesus’ work on the cross, we are called to live a life representing the family of God. Below are some of the highlights from chapter 4:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with long suffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
The Lord has called us to be in unity and to be one as the family of God. We were all orphans in a crooked and dark world and imprisoned by our own lusts and desires. We used to live in self-preservation, but now the Lord desires to teach us to a life committed to Him.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Ephesians 4:11-13
The Lord places different functions in the body of Christ to help His family to grow up in God. As God’s people we should value those that the Lord places in our lives for our spiritual growth and development. We are called to grow up and to live in peace and unity with other believers.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ. Ephesians 4:30-32
Paul is telling the believers that we need to be mindful of how we live and what we speak. We do not want to grieve the Holy Spirit by being mean, clamorous, or hardened towards others. Instead, as children of God, we are called to kindness, tenderness, and forgiveness.
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), Ephesians 5:8-9
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Ephesians 5:22-23
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, Ephesians 5:25
In the above verses from chapter 5, Paul teaches the believers to walk in love, in light, and in wisdom. Then he begins to touch people’s personal lives by instructing married couples how to love and respect one another. In chapter 6, he also addresses the relationship of the parents with their children and the masters with their servants.
The above scriptures show us that there is much growth needed in the areas of attitude and relationships to prevent us from strife, conflicts, and unnecessary battles. As we gain greater revelation and understanding of God’s heart through the cross, it should motivate us to put to work the above scriptures in our lives. When we commit ourselves to making a lifestyle from the above scriptures (not just visit them from time-to-time), we will develop a victorious life. In addition, much of the conflicts around us will substantially diminish or dissolve.
After practicing all of the above powerful scriptures as a lifestyle, Paul uses the word “finally” to tell us that in conclusion we need to put on the armor of God. This will be the subject of my next devotional.