The final section of the letter to the Ephesians returns to the theme of divine power, introduced in its opening section.
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
2 Things of note about power in the book of Ephesians
Chapter 6:10-20 is what brings the letter to a logical and necessary conclusion.
There are 3 sections that this unit I read falls into:
(1) Verses 10-13 contain an opening statement and the command to take up God’s weaponry against the hostile powers (see 2:2; 4:27).
(2) Verses 14-17 link items of divine armor with virtues of gifts of salvation.
(3) Verses 18-20 return to the theme of prayer.
: So what does the Apostle Paul begin with to conclude this final admonition?
Paul calls us to be strong and fight!
: Too many, give up too quickly!
As believers we must be prepared an actually take up the offensive against all that opposes our victory
: The Apostle Paul once free, now in chains calling the mature to battle!
It is the picture of the general-orator already in chains but shifting from once soldier to future martyr able to disregard the charges and even penalty of his already won battle!
Paul is the picture of being a conquering general while yet a captured but bold prisoner.
In Phil. 1:12-14 he testifies to dealing with imperial guards: “
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear
Paul even uses a metaphorical expression “beasts” for the hardships endured while preaching in Ephesus in 1 Cor. 15:32,
“If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”
Once again I repeat, what does Paul call us to do?
He calls believers to take up the offensive against all that opposes our victory
To be strong and Fight!
2 Corinthians 10:1
“Now I, Paul, myself am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ– who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent am bold toward you. 2 But I beg you that when I am present I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some, who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”
spoke of the invulnerability of a wise man’s soul when fortified by reason and secure virtue: “full of virtues human and divine, [the wise man] can lose nothing…the walls which guard the wise man are safe from both flame and assult, they provide no means of entrance, are lofty, impregnable, godlike.
Cynics referred to their rough garb as armor in the war against the temptations of a soft life, lovers, false opinions, or other forms of cultural imprisonment.
Dion of Prusa
(c. 40 – c. 115), was a
orator, writer, philosopher and historian of the
in the 1st century, argued that the philosopher’s true weapons are words, not beggarly forms of dress.
Paul however, does not give any description of the weapons the he uses, saying only that his weapons, “have divine power to destroy.”
As opposed to the stoics whose enemies are other people or human and earthly Paul speaks about resisting spiritual, quasi-demonic powers that govern the lower world in which we live and must operate.
The philosophical tradition of the sage armed against the passions and false reasoning’s of humankind would not be sufficient in either context for victory.
Strong For the Battle
, “Be strong in the Lord and in the Power of His might.”
Be strong in the Lord
You must have strength, and strength of a spiritual kind, and such strength too as the Lord himself can furnish; and you must have this strength through an indwelling God, the power of his might working in you.
(From Adam Clarke’s Commentary)
(From Barnes’ Notes) (1) to be strong or courageous in his cause; (2) to feel that he is our strength, and to rely on him and his promises.
(From Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament.)
Paul exhorted believers to be strong in the Lord and in the might (
“power that overcomes resistance” as used in Christ’s miracles
) of God’s inherent strength (
“the power [
] of His inherent strength”
] in 1:19).
Hence believers can be strengthened not only by the person of the Lord but also by His resources.
And in the power of His might
] Ephesians 6:11
The form of the Greek imperative put on indicates that
believers are responsible for putting on God’s (not their) full armor
, also in v. 13; all the armor and weapons together were called the
; cf. 2 Cor 6:7)
with all urgency.
The apostle considers every Christian as having a warfare to maintain against numerous, powerful, and subtle foes; and that therefore they would need much strength, much courage, complete armor, and skill to use it. The panoply which is mentioned here refers to the armor of the heavy troops among the Greeks; those who were to sustain the rudest attacks, who were to sap the foundations of walls, storm cities, etc.
The detailed description of the armor may stem from Paul’s being tied to a Roman soldier while in prison awaiting trial (cf. Acts 28:16,20).
Plans and Devices – Eph. 6:11
The wiles of the Devil
Tas methodeias tou diabolou
The methods of the Devil; the different
means, plans, schemes, and machinations which he uses to deceive, entrap, enslave, and ruin the souls of men
A man’s method of sinning is Satan’s method of ruining his soul.
“that we should no longer be children,
to and fro and
with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,” (NKJ)
Battle and Bullies – 6:12
“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.”
For ye wrestle not against flesh and blood
or contention is not with men like ourselves: flesh and blood is a Hebraism for men, or human beings. See the note at Gal 1:16.
(wrestles) implies the athletic exercises in the Olympic and other national games; and
was the place in which the contenders exercised. Here it signifies warfare in general.
. Chief rulers; beings of the first rank and order in their own kingdom.
. Authorities, derived from, and constituted by the above.
The rulers of the darkness of this world
Tous kosmokratoras tou skotous tou aioonos toutou
The rulers of the world; the emperors of the darkness of this state of things.
Ta pneumatika tees poneerias
The spiritual things of wickedness; or, the spiritualities of wickedness; highly refined and sublimed evil; disguised falsehood in the garb of truth; Antinomianism in the guise of religion.
In high places
En tois epouraniois
. In the most sublime stations. But who are these of whom the apostle speaks? Schoettgen contends that the rabbis and Jewish rulers are intended. This he thinks proved by the words
Tou aioonos touto
, of this world, which are often used to designate the Old Testament, and the Jewish system; and the words
en tois epouraniois
, in heavenly places, which are not unfrequently used to signify the time of the NEW TESTAMENT, and the Gospel system.
By the spiritual wickedness in heavenly places, he thinks false teachers, who endeavored to corrupt Christianity, are meant; such as those mentioned by John, 1 John 2:19: They went out from us, but they were not of us, etc. And he thinks the meaning may be extended to all corrupters of Christianity in all succeeding ages. He shows also that the Jews called their own city
sar shel ±owlaam
, the ruler of the world; and proves that David’s words, Ps 2:2, The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, are applied by the apostles, Acts 4:26, to the Jewish rulers,
, who persecuted Peter and John for preaching Christ crucified. But commentators in general are not of this mind, but think that by principalities, etc., we are to understand different orders of evil spirits, who are all employed under the Devil, their great head, to prevent the spread of the Gospel in the world, and to destroy the souls of mankind.
: We are in a battle. A battle that’s already been won. A battle that we are armored for.
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