Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spiritual Warfare A,B,C - Approaching Spiritual Warfare

Ephesians 6:10 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."

The subject of spiritual warfare is of perennial interest among Christians. Understanding Christian spiritual warfare is vital in breaking Christian people out of a civilian mindset and into the clear reality of needing to be soldiers of the cross. Spiritual warfare also eases somewhat the disillusionment the we feel between living for God in this world and the opposition from the world.  We realize it is not abnormal to experience opposition for being a Christian. I would like to attempt a brief summary of this vast subject of spiritual warfare from the standpoint of Ephesians 6:10-13 for the purpose of spelling out what I call the "A,B,C's of spiritual warfare". Today's post will deal with the first of these, namely the approach to spiritual warfare.

The approach to spiritual warfare - Spirit and the Word
Ephesians 6:10 gives us two and only two ways in which one can approach spiritual warfare in the Christian life. The first is what we looked at in detail yesterday, namely the Spirit-filled life. The second approach is closely related to being filled with the Holy Spirit, namely being filled with the scriptures or maintaining one's exposure to the Word of God.

Ephesians 6:10a states - "Finally, be strong in the Lord...". The underlined words indicate an imperative command that is coined in the passive sense of dependency upon someone. To "be strong in the Lord" refers to depending upon the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. With the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand and discern, which are marks of the strength needed when fighting the good fight of faith. (Ephesians 1:17) Ephesians 3:16 proves that the source of such strength comes from the Spirit: "that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man." 

This strengthening of the Spirit comes to the degree we are filled with or influenced by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Moreover, the Spirit's strength is enjoyed and experienced as we position ourselves in a posture of prayer (Ephesians 6:18). 

But now we notice the second phrase of Ephesians 6:10 - namely: "and in the strength of His might." This second phrase identifies the second  closely related approach to spiritual warfare, the Word of God. 

So how do we know that "the strength of his might" is most likely referencing the scriptures? First, the word of God itself is the offensive weapon of the otherwise defensive armaments in the spiritual armor of Ephesians 6:14-18. Second, Hebrews 4:12 ties together this concept of God's might and spiritual warfare - "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Then thirdly, 2 Corinthians 6:7 alludes to carrying forth spiritual weaponry in the right hand and the left, which in context includes the word of God.  

This then is the two-fold approach to spiritual warfare: namely being filled with the Holy Spirit and being in His Word. 

More tomorrow....

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