Many times in his writings the Apostle Paul used military imagery in describing spiritual things. One reason for this was that in many parts of the Roman Empire, the presence of the military was out in full force. Paul used illustrations and terms that the people were accustomed to.
In Ephesians 6:10-17 he wrote about “taking up the whole armor of God.”. What did he mean? Paul was using the imagery of the different parts of the Roman soldier’s armor to illustrate some very important ways that a Christian can be equipped for service to the Lord Jesus.
Most of the armor is of a defensive nature and some offensive. The Roman government provided their armies with everything they would need to do battle. They were equipped for service to Caesar. How much more should the child of the King be equipped for service to the Lord.
Paul took the different parts of the soldier’s armor and made spiritual application. In Ephesians 6:10 he says “be strong in the Lord…”. Paul reminds us that our battle is not against an enemy we can see on the battlefield, but on a spiritual one, that is, Satan, himself. If we will let Him, the Lord will equip us door this battle. One important aspect we must understand up front is that we cannot win the battle in our own strength, but can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, win the battle. It is as the Word of God says, “greater is He. Who is in you than he who is the world.”
Verses 14-17 speak of defensive weapons by which we can protect ourselves in this battle. It is in the later part of verse 17 that we are introduced to the offensive weapon, the “sword of the spirit which is the Word of God.”
The Word of God is powerful! Paul told us in 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 that the Word is inspired of God. It is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
If we are willing to not only read God’s Word but to study it, mediate upon it, and tell others about it, we will “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,” – we will be able to help and encourage other believers as we serve in the Lord’s army.
The hymn writer, Sabine Baring-Gould penned these famous words, “Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before; Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe, forward into battle, see His banners go.” Let’s go forward lifting up the Name of the Lord Jesus before a lost and dying world, reaching the lost with the Gospel and strengthening the saved!