I don’t know if you have heard, but there is a war going on. It’s real and it’s happening all around us, each and every day. It happened this morning when you and your spouse chose to belittle and hurt each other with your words. It happened when you fell prey to pornography once again. It happened when the your difficult circumstance began to eat away at your faith in God. It happened when your anger turned into unforgiveness, and your unforgiveness gave way to hatred. It happened when you convinced yourself that despite your habitual immoral secrets, your external religious piety has secured your salvation in Christ.
We are in a war my friend. And because of this war there is a divine call to arms; the call to fight is increasingly becoming more and more prevalent in our day. Our world is increasingly godless. There are ideologies, secular world-views, worldly philosophies, that are completely at odds—completely hostile—to the Kingdom of God. We are at war my friends, and it is vitally important that we stand up and fight, lest we be taken hostage by the evil one.
What am I talking about? Paul calls it a spiritual war, and we as Christins are in combat every day for the truth of Jesus Christ! As Warren Wiersbe has said, “sooner or later every believer discovers that the Christian life is a battleground, not a playground.”
In Ephesians 6:10-20 Paul addresses this spiritual war more so than any other place in the entire Biblical text. Rhetorically, Paul is using what is called a “Perarato.” It is a climax of a first century letter. A sort of rally cry for the Ephesians to take all that he has said and put it into action!
Thankfully, we are not left to figure this out alone. God through the words of scripture has equipped us to prepare for this battle—he has given us a battle plan for this spiritual war. In this passage I want to help you see what Paul says about this spiritual war and what our battle strategy is by asking four questions. We will address the first question here and the other three in subsequent posts.
Who is our Commander and Chief?
First, who is our commander and Chief? Who is the one that leads us into battle and gives us the resources to stand our ground against the enemy? It is, thankfully, no human commander. It is no Pastor or church leader offering the strength we need in battle. No, Paul says our commander and chief is “the Lord!” Oh what peace, comfort, and assurance in knowing Christ is our leader! Because he leads we can be assured of some wonderful truths:
The battle is already won!
First, because of Jesus the battle is technically already won! Earlier in the letter of Ephesians Paul has said that Jesus brought us peace through the blood of the cross (Eph 2:11-17). It is a wonderful thing to know that while the battle rages on we know the battle is already won in Christ!
Pastor Tony Evans remarked once that he was unable to attend a professional football game in which his son played in. However, he was able to record the game and watch it at his convenience. Before he tuned in to see the game he had missed, he had received news that his son’s team had won the game. So, as he watched the game unfold the anxiety of not knowing the outcome was absent. Yes, when the opposing team would recover a fumble, intercept a pass, or get ahead on the scoreboard, it brought some discomfort, but he was not shaken by the situation. He knew that in the end his son’s team would be victorious.
Similarly, we know that Christ has won and will ultimately win the battle for our souls. He will ultimatley defeat our foe bringing everlasting life to those who belong to Him!
Christ is over all
Secondly, our Commander and chief is over all things! While the enemy is seeking to attack us from all sides, our commander has full reign and power over him. Notice what Paul has already said in regards to this in chapter one:
that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to comeEphesians 1:20-21
What have we to fear then if our savior is totally and completely over all?
We have been seated in the heavenly places and have been brought from darkness into light!
Thirdly, we as Christ’ ambassadors, his soldiers, his workers of the kingdom, have been seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Paul in chapter 2 verses 5 and 6 says of us, “by grace you have been saved, and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Not only is Jesus reigning with all authority and power in the heavenly places, we too have been seated with him there! Thus, we have nothing to fear in regards to our enemy’s attack on us. He can’t touch us while we sit in the heavenly places, covered by the grace, forgiveness, and redemption found in Christ Jesus!
We have been given the power to overcome the battle!
Finally, we have been given the power to overcome any difficulty the enemy may bring our way. Paul says in Ephesians 6:10, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Elsewhere Paul says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).”
It is vitally important for all Christians to confess daily that in our own strength we will always be exposed and vulnerable to Satan and his attacks. Only through the power of Christ can we stand toe to toe against the evil one. How do we attain this power you may wonder? How can we tap into the strength of Christ and his might to overcome any temptation Satan may use against us? This is the very question Paul answers in the next portion of this marvelous passage, and the one I’ll seek to articulate in the following post. Until then—keep your head up and find your power in Christ fellow Christian!