Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 6:10 - 6:13

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 6:10 - 6:13

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The Christian's spiritual Armor and Its Use.

The enemies:

v. 10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

v. 11. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

v. 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.

v. 13. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.

This closing admonition of the letter to the Ephesians has rightly been called the Lord's great call to arms. The apostle here summarizes and concentrates everything that he still would like to write to the brethren: Finally, as for the rest, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of His strength. No matter what else may come to their attention and engage their consideration, his readers should be strengthened, should be given the ability, the power, to wage battle for the Lord. Such strengthening is possible only in the Lord, in fellowship with His mighty power and strength. It is true, of course, that a regenerate person has the new spiritual life in his heart; but it is equally true that this life, unless renewed and supported by Christ day by day, will soon be lost. It is necessary that the Christian remain in intimate communion with Christ in His Word and Sacrament, otherwise he will soon join the ranks of such as are unqualified for the great warfare which is the lot of the Christians. This consciousness the Christians must impress upon themselves unceasingly, lest they become guilty of the self-confidence of Peter and deny their Savior.

But it is not enough for soldiers to summon all their strength for the encounter and to remain in constant touch with their general, they must also have the right armor: Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The Christians must be careful to be supplied with the panoply, with the full armor, which is provided by God the complete battle equipment, which alone will enable us to meet the hosts of our spiritual foes. A Christian must be encased in the armor of God from his head to his feet, in order not to offer a single gap which may give the enemy an opening for successful attack. But as the warriors of God, provided with His full armor, we are able to withstand the crafty assaults of the devil. The old Evil Foe has many and various methods by which he hopes to overcome us, both stratagem and open at tack, false doctrine and sinful life; it is impossible to foretell from day to day just where and how he will make his next assault. Constant, untiring vigilance is demanded by our Christian calling.

How necessary this is the apostle shows in his description of the mass of the enemies: For not is our wrestling against blood and flesh, but against the principalities, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness. We Christians have no mere men to battle with, whom we might be able to overcome with external, physical weapons. But our wrestling, our hand-to-hand encounter, is with forces of evil that are present in all the enemies of the Word and the Church, powers of spirits. There are rulers, chiefs, and heads of the battalions of evil spirits; there are demonic authorities; there are the world-ruling powers of the evil angels with Satan, the prince of this world, at their head; there are entire hosts, large forces, bands, armies of spirits, all spirits of wickedness and malice. The devils are world rulers of darkness, they rule through the darkness of sin. In sin Satan has established his kingdom in this world, he has succeeded in leading men away from God, the Father of Light, into the rule of darkness and sin, where the knowledge of God cannot enlighten them. St. Paul calls all the enemies spirits of wickedness in high places, for they belong to the supernatural, transcendental world. For that very reason, because the evil spirits as spirits cannot be attacked with physical weapons, they are stronger and more dangerous than the visible creatures.

No wonder that the apostle repeats and amplifies his urgent call: Wherefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having overcome, to stand (as victors). To meet this mighty array of spiritual forces is beyond the power of any mere man, but with the full armor of God in our possession and every piece in its proper place, we can go forth into battle. This last world period is an evil day, an evil time; there is no peace, no armistice; only in yonder life will there be perfect peace and quietness for the children of God. But not for a moment dare we falter: we must overcome, we must conquer our enemies; in the power of the Lord we must remain victors on the field of battle. No matter how numerous and powerful our enemies, no matter how hard and hot the battle, "for us fights the Valiant One, whom God Himself elected"; we have the almighty God and His power on our side, and so the final victory must be ours.