Ephesians 6 – Part 5 (vs. 17) – The Equipment, Pt. 3

Eph 6 - Part 5 ( vs 17), Books of the Bible

The Equipment, (continued)

 Vs. 17

Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

In this verse we have the last two, fifth, and sixth,pieces of armament from God that allow us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil;” the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We will begin with the “helmet of salvation.”

In the NASB translation, “helmet of salvation” is capitalized to indicate that it is a quote from the OT. In this case, it is from Isa 59:17, which also speaks about the “breastplate of righteousness,” as we have noted previously.

Isa 59:17, “He (the Lord) put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”

The humanity of our Lord put on the armor of God, so that He could go to the Cross to defeat Satan, sin, and death, thereby providing salvation for the entire world. For those who believe in His saving work, they too can put on the armor of God including the knowledge of their own personal salvation through Christ and all that entails, as we will note below.

We begin with the exegesis of this verse. The first word is “and,” which is the Coordinating Adjunctive use of the Conjunction KAI that can be translated, “and, even, or also,” Here, it emphatically links the helmet and sword with the other piece of armament provided by God in the “Full Armor of God.” We translate it “also.”

Take,” is the Verb DECHOMAI, δέχομαι in the Aorist, Middle Deponent, Imperative, 2nd Person, Plural, for “you all take.” It can mean, “take, receive, accept, approve, etc.”

  • In vs. 11, we had “put on,” ENDUO, “dress, clothe oneself, put on,” for the full armor of God.
  • In vs. 13, we had, “take up,” ANALAMBANO, “take up, take on board,” for the full armor of God.
  • In vs. 14, we had, “put on,” ENDUO once again, for the Breastplate of Righteousness.
  • In vs. 16, we had, “taking up” ANALAMBANO once again, for the Shield of Faith.
  • In vs. 17, we have, “take” DECHOMAI a synonym of ANALAMBANO that can mean to “take or receive.” If we had a passive construction, we would translate it “receive,” but we have a Middle Deponent with an Active sense, so we translate it, “take.”

DECHOMAI is used extensively in the NT and Greek literature. It essentially means “to receive, to accept”; from that there are many shades of meaning. In our passage it means, “to take hold of or seize” the Helmet of Salvation.

The Constative Aorist tense is used to view the entirety of the action of taking the helmet of salvation and putting it on for combat inside the Angelic Conflict. Under the constative principle, we have the helmet of salvation which includes the 40+ things we receive at the moment of our salvation. We are to use them, and all that is associated with salvation, to protect our souls from the attacks of Satan’s cosmic system.

The Middle Deponent voice has an active meaning. The believer takes the helmet for himself.

The Imperative mood is for yet another command to take the armor of God. This is a command to believers only, as they, and only they, have already received salvation and only the believer can wield salvation.

This command comes after a string of Participles used regarding the first four pieces of armor that emphasized the command in vs. 13, to, “take up the whole armor of God.” Now that we are concluding the original command, the Imperative is brought back in.

The first thing the believer is commanded to take is, “the helmet,” HO PERIKEPHALAIA, περικεφαλαία, which is a Noun in the direct object Accusative case that means, “protective armor covering the head or a helmet.” It is only used here and in 1 Thes 5:8, regarding the same armament.

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

“Hope,” is the Greek word ELIPIS that means, “hope or expectation.” In 1 Thes 5, we have added emphasis to the helmet of salvation. We are to be confident in our salvation and have a great expectation of what it means, both in time and eternity. We will discuss this further below.

The Greek word for “helmet,” PERIKEPHALAIA, is made up from the Preposition PERI, “around or about,” and the root word KEPHALE that means, “head or authority.” So, we see a sense of authority, leadership, or rulership wrapped around the head, i.e., associated with this helmet.

As you know, the head is the most fragile and the most important part of the body. It is the place where your soul resides and you do your thinking. The head controls the entire body. The head is the leader or ruler of your body and soul, just as Jesus Christ is the head of His body, the Church, Eph 5:23.

In our verse, we see that our head needs protection. It needs a form of a helmet to protect it from the schemes of the devil. In reality, the protection for our head is Jesus Christ and His Word, summed up in the word “salvation,” as we will see below.

In the ancient world the PERIKEPHALAIA, was generally a bronze or iron cap with leather attachments, or of leather strengthened with metallic plates, 1 Sam 17:5, 38; 2 Chron 26:14, and had a long flap to cover the cheeks and ears. It generally offered some protection to the neck, cheeks, and chin. On marches, it was slung on a strap. But when the enemy was near, it was put on. Therefore, “putting on the helmet” marked the beginning of battle. Because we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict, and the main skirmish of this warfare is the control of your soul, the head must absolutely be protected, so that sin and Satan do not control it.

The most ornamental part of ancient armor, yet hardly less important than the breastplate or the shield, was the helmet. This means that the helmet in particular, was adorned or decorated. This is analogous to adorning our souls with Bible Doctrine, the Word of God, and in particular, the Doctrine of Salvation. Without the Word of God being resident within your soul, you will be a casualty on the battle field of the Angelic Conflict. The unbeliever is already a casualty positionally, because they are without Christ and without His Word in their soul, but can be saved at any time. Likewise, the believer in reversionism or without Bible Doctrine in his soul, is easily defeated and a causality experientially, and can rebound and recover at any time.

Therefore, the helmet is used figuratively to express the idea of “protection” or “safety” in its only two occurrences in the NT, as we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict. The helmet represents the opportunity for a certain hope, (confident expectation), with no chance of disappointment, Rom 5:5.

Rom 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

The strength of the soldier’s helmet was based on the strength of the bronze, iron, or leather it was made from. The believer’s strength of the helmet is “of salvation,” HO SOTERIOS, σωτήριος, which is an Adjective in the substantive Genitive singular that means, “delivering, saving, salvation, etc.” It was used to denote the act of “saving, delivering, or preserving,” but here, it means the salvation itself. In ancient Greek, it was use “in the sense of an acutely dynamic act in which gods or men snatch others by force from serious peril, and denotes “deliverance” from judicial condemnation.” (Theological Dictionary of the NT). In the NT, it is always used for spiritual salvation.

Its root word is the Verb SOZO that means, “save, keep safe, preserve, rescue, make well, etc.” It is used in Luke 2:30; 3:6; Acts 28:28; Titus 2:11.

The righteous man Simeon said regarding the infant Jesus in Luke 2:29-32, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

John the Baptist, quoting Isa 40:3-5, preached in Luke 3:4-6, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make ready the way of the lord, make his paths straight. 5every ravine will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low; the crooked will become straight, and the rough roads smooth; 6and all flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

Paul preached in Acts 28:28, “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” 

Paul also wrote in Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”

We have noted the cognate nouns SOTERIA, σωτηρία; SOTER, σωτῆρ; in Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23. It is used about fifty times in the NT, and refers to the estate of one who has been made whole.

Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Eph 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Eph 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

And in our passage, Paul notes that we are to take this helmet of salvation and put it on to fight the evil temptations of Satan and his cosmic system, especially those that tempt you to not trust in the salvation God has given to you.

The book of Psalms uses the word “salvation” more than any other; over 60 times. Isaiah is second, with over 25 usages. The other books use it only a handful of times.

In addition, in the LXX, (Septuagint), it is used as a substantive to refer to the “peace / thank offering,” Lev 3:1-16, which the translators of the Septuagint understood it as a “salvation offering.”

In Eph 6:17, the context tells us that these saints were already “saved,” in the sense that they were justified. The salvation spoken of here must therefore be salvation from the power of sin in this present life, salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his cosmic system. To have salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his schemes, the believer must remember his salvation founded in Christ.

Satan wants to attack your mind, your thinking, the way you think, the same way he defeated Eve in the Garden, Gen 3; 2 Cor 11:1-3.

2 Cor 11:3, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

The helmet refers to the mind controlled by God. It is too bad that many Christians have the idea that the intellect is not important, when in reality, it plays a vital role in Christian growth, service, and victory. When God controls the mind, Satan cannot lead the believer astray. The Christian who studies his Bible and learns the meaning of Bible doctrines is not going to be led astray very easily.

Therefore, we need to be “taught in Him as the truth is in Jesus,” Eph 4:21. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18. Wherever Paul ministered, he taught the new believers the truths of the Word of God, and this helmet protected them from Satan’s lies and deceptions.

What ultimately protects believers is that God has already rescued us from bondage to the prince of the power of the air and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms, Cf. Eph 2:1-10. Thinking of our salvation in terms of a fait accompli, we gain confidence in our everyday walk in Christ. Christ, in providing salvation, has already defeated Satan, sin, and death. Then, by giving us this salvation, we have been given the victory over Satan, sin, and death. By appropriating this salvation as our helmet, we have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle, and every confidence that we can win the tactical battles within our soul. When we put on the helmet of salvation, we cannot lose the tactical battle for our thinking, we cannot sin, 1 John 3:1-11.

What adorns and protects the Christian, which enables him to hold up his head with confidence and joy, is the fact that he is saved. He is one of the redeemed, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. If we were still under condemnation, if still estranged from God, a foreigner, and alien, without God and without Christ, we could have no courage to enter into this conflict. Yet, it is because we are a fellow citizen of the saints, a child of God, a partaker of the salvation of the Gospel, that we can face even the most potent enemies (temptations) with confidence, knowing that we will become more than a conqueror “through Him that loved us,” Rom 8:37.

As such, we are to put on the hope that we have in Christ. To resist the Devil, we must be assured of our eternal salvation. We need to go to God daily and be reminded of the great object of our faith: Christ. Our hope is in Him. If you are trusting in Him, then do not listen to the Devil’s lies. Say to the evil one, “I have been saved from sin’s penalty, I am being saved from sin’s power, and I will one day be saved from sin’s presence.” Say to him, “I am alive with Christ, redeemed, forgiven, reconciled, raised with Christ, and seated with Christ.” Put your helmet on, and do not let the evil one get to your head.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

The putting on of the helmet means trusting in your given salvation, and as a result committing yourself fully to the commencing struggle against the sinister powers which seek to prevent salvation.

The general doctrine of salvation includes the following lesser doctrines: substitution, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, conviction, calling, election, predestination, sovereignty, free will, grace, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification.

Salvation refers to the estate of one who has been made whole, which is both an active process and its resultant effect, both a verb (save) and a noun (salvation). Therefore, salvation is past, present, and future. The one who is in Christ has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved. Salvation has reference to the believer’s past, present, and future. The Biblical images we see for salvation describe what God has done, is doing, and will do on behalf of men and women who suffer from the misery, mortality, and meaninglessness of the human condition inside Satan’s cosmic system.

  • The Past Tense: When we hear the word “salvation,” this is the aspect that immediately comes to mind and sometimes is the only aspect, except maybe for the last aspect – the future tense. “Past tense” salvation is the one you received at the moment that you believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This salvation is the release of the guilty from the penalty of sin, which was wholly accomplished for all in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. This salvation occurs at the time when anyone believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Luke 7:50; 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15; 2 Tim 1:9. That Jesus accomplished salvation is a past fact: His death delivered us once and for all from the penalty and power of sin, John 19:30; Rom 5:8; Titus 3:5-7; Heb 5:9; 9:12. Justification, redemption, reconciliation, etc., are faits accomplis.
  • The Present Tense: This is the most neglected aspect of salvation in the Bible. Because most Christians think they are saved in the Past, and will be with God forever in the future, they do not think about this aspect of salvation as being very important, or they take it for granted, or they neglect it altogether.

This salvation is an ongoing and progressive present experience that differs from our past salvation or conversion at the moment we believed in Jesus Christ. Those who have died with Jesus have also been raised with Him, and so share his life and his Spirit. The believer’s walk in salvation is living the life of being saved; living the life of salvation.

Though salvation is a past fact, it must not be “neglected” in the present, Heb 2:3, but rather be “held fast,” 1 Cor 15:2, and humbly “worked out,” Phil 2:12.

Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard.”

1 Cor 15:2, “By which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”

Phil 2:12-13, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

That is why Christians are sometimes described in the NT as “those who are being saved,” Acts 2:47; 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15. This means that their “past salvation” has released them from the power of sin, and salvation is being accomplished now in those who exercise faith, John 17:17; Rom 6:14; 8:2; Gal 5:16; Phil 2:12-13.

We have been freed from sin and the hold Satan had over us, from the moment we believed that Jesus was our Savior. Now, we need to walk in that freedom. Not a freedom to sin, but a freedom not to sin. Yet, our present salvation is much more than not sinning, although without that we would not be able to have a present salvation. Freedom from sinning means freedom to know and walk with God presently! It means to live by His great plan and desire for your life. To walk in our present salvation is to glorify Him, as we keep His mandates for our lives out of love for Him, as we love and serve one another, Rom 6:5-14; 1 John 2:1-6; 5:1-5, 12-13; 1 Peter 2:2.

2 Cor 2:15, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

1 John 5:12, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

The “present tense” Salvation is the message of Titus 2:11-14.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

  • The Future Tense: This is the second commonly thought about aspect of salvation; our translation to eternal glory. This future salvation releases the believer from the very presence of sin when he is translated to heaven upon his death or the Rapture of the Church, Rom 13:11; Eph 2:5-7; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 3:1-2.

Rom 13:11, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”

1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The full meaning of salvation will be known to us only at the last day, when the renewing process is complete and God throws off this body of sin we are currently living in and He provides a new, eternal, resurrection body of perfection, 1 Cor 15:20-58; Phil 1:6.

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (Past) will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

Both the OT and the NT express hope for a new heaven, a new earth, and a New Jerusalem, Isa 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1-4. The prophets anticipate a second exodus which will bring about a greater deliverance than that from Egypt and usher in the kingdom of God, Isa 51:9-11; Hosea 2:16-23. The NT envisioned a second coming of Christ, Heb 9:28; Rev 22.

Heb 9:28, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

Therefore, salvation is also a future hope that one will be spared from the Divine wrath, 1 Thes 5:8-9; cf. Rom 5:9-10.

1 Thes 5:8-11, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”

Rom 5:9-11, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, (Present Tense Salvation), we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Future Tense Salvation). 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, (Past Tense Salvation), we shall be saved by His life, (Future Tense Salvation). 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Present Tense Salvation), through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Present Tense Salvation).”

The eternal life associated with the kingdom of God is simultaneously present in Christ and future with regard to its glorious manifestation, John 3:16; 5:25; 11:25-26; 14:18-20; 17:24-26. The full privileges that belong to God’s adopted children, the inheritance guaranteed by one’s possession of the Holy Spirit, is “reserved in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:4-5; cf. Eph 1:13-14.

1 Peter 1:4-5, “To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

By far the most common NT use of salvation has to do with salvation from sin, Mat 1:21, “And you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” To be precise, one is saved from:

  • The penalty of sin, Luke 7:48, 50.
  • The power of sin, Rom 6:12-14.
  • The practice of sin as a way of life, 1 John 3:9-10; 5:18.

Yet, it is impossible to understand salvation apart from some notion of that from which one is saved, whether external physical threats or internal spiritual ones. In these, God saves first of all from doom and disaster, from natural and national catastrophes, and from enemies or energies. He “saves” us both in the spiritual and the physical realm. The Biblical language for salvation depicts the transition from need to fulfillment and from problem to solution.

That is why the “Helmet of Salvation” is given to us, to protect us from the problems of everyday living inside of Satan’s cosmic system. For example:

  • The psalmist asks to be saved from defeat by enemy nations, Psa 44:1-8.
  • Jesus’ disciples asked to be saved from the waves that threatened to swamp their boat, Mat 8:25.
  • One may be saved from disease and physical defects, Mark 5:28, 34, (“well” = SOZO); James 5:15, (“restore” = SOZO).
  • Many of the psalms contain “songs of deliverance” that attribute salvation to God alone, e.g., Psa 18; 30; 31; 34; 46; 91; 105; 106; 118; 136.
  • The Bible speaks about salvation from spiritual dangers: Jesus’ exorcisms are signs that he has the power to release people from demonic possession and from the dominion of Satan, Mark 3:23-27; Luke 8:36.
  • Equally important is deliverance from the wrath of God that falls upon sinners, Rom 5:9-10, and from the day of God’s judgment, Rom 2:5; 1 Thes 2:16.

Rom 5:9-10, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

The noun “salvation,” pertains to the positive effects of God’s saving action. In general, one is saved from bondage and brought to a state of well-being or blessedness.

Three images in particular tend to dominate the Bible’s depiction of well-being:

1. Salvation is a liberation, freedom from bondage.

a.) The God of Israel is a Savior God, because He is a God who delivers, Ex 20:2.

b.) Jesus was sent “to set free those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18.

c.) Paul states that “for freedom Christ has set us free,” Gal 5:1, and explains that Christians have been liberated from the requirements of the law in order to be free to love and to serve, Gal 5:13-14.

Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

Gal 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”

2. The blessedness of salvation is depicted in terms of health, wholeness, and soundness. Mark 2:17, describes Jesus as a “physician.” Jesus’ ministry was to make people well. In His ministry, the physical and spiritual aspects of healing miracles are linked together: When Jesus heals, there are transforming physical and spiritual effects. Jesus’ healings are signs both of His saving power and of the nature of salvation.

3. The third image of the well-being that defines salvation, peace, or shalom, is found primarily in prophetic literature. The community of the saved is pictured by the prophets as living in a peaceful and just society in which people will live together in peace and harmony and “nation shall not lift up sword against nation,” Isa 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Zech 2:6-12.

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Eph 6 - Part 5 ( vs 17), - 10Books of the BibleThe Story of Salvation

The Bible is essentially the story of the one creature to bear God’s image (human being), with sin as the basic complication, Christ as the central character, and salvation as the unifying plot. The Bible tells of an initial condition which is disturbed (the Fall), of the consequences of this complication (sin, death), of what is done to overcome these conflicts (the Cross) and of the resolution of the problem (resurrection and Pentecost), a conclusion that improves upon the original situation.

It is a mystery story, for it was not clear, before Christ, just how God could save the ungodly, Mark 4:11; Eph 1:9. The logic and scope of salvation develop as the story progresses. The first hint of salvation follows the account of the Fall, when God says to the serpent, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” Gen 3:15, though neither the identity of the Savior nor the means for reversing the Fall becomes clear until the NT. Nevertheless, “bruise his heel” already alludes to the cost of salvation, to the Cross of salvation and to the Christ of salvation.

Next, it concerns God’s dealings with the children of Abraham (that is, Israel), in the middle the focus turns to Jesus and His followers, and toward the end, the story embraces the Gentiles and the whole created order. The Biblical story pictures not only the act and effect of salvation, but its culmination as well, namely, the wedding celebration of the Lamb of God and His bride, the Church, Rev 19:6-9.

Between the beginning and the end of the story, the plot unfolds in the history of Israel and culminates in the passion of Jesus Christ, when salvation is accomplished once for all, and in the life of the Church, where salvation is celebrated and proclaimed. The Bible ends with Edenic imagery, the tree of life, and with the Savior’s promise to complete the saving work He has already accomplished: “Yes, I am coming quickly,” Rev 22:20.

The story of salvation has two main parts. The first recounts Israel’s history: The saving act, (exodus), and the resultant effect, (life in the Promised Land). The OT recounts a story of deliverance from captivity and oppression that culminates in Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. The second part describes a new exodus, Jesus’ death or “exodus” from this life, Luke 9:31, and its effect, (life in the promised Spirit). The NT tells the story of how a new deliverance, a release from the bondage of sin, was made possible by Christ’s departure from this life, Rom 6:9; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20, and by the “red sea” of blood that flowed from His Cross. Christ’s life, poured out on the Cross, is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Rom 1:16.

For this, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the partaking of the bread and wine, in remembrance and thanksgiving of Him and His efficacious work in death, resurrection, and ascension, 1 Cor 11:23-26.

Next, we note that there are about 115 passages that condition salvation on “believing” alone, and around 35 on “faith.” Unfortunately, man has added certain things to this one and only condition, for example; believe and repent, believe and be baptized, believe and confess sin, believe and confess Christ publicly, believe and promise a better manner of life, believe and pray for salvation, believer and do good works, etc.

“Faith,” as you know, is a non-meritorious act on the part of the believer. Faith is the only system of perception which is totally devoid of any human merit. Only the object has merit, and in salvation the object of faith is our Lord Jesus Christ. How much faith does it take to be saved? Just a little bit more than no faith at all.

The salvation work of Christ on the Cross excludes anything being added to faith. No works of any kind are allowed. Salvation is by grace through faith, “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast,” Eph 2:9. Two OT passages indicate that “salvation belongs to and is from the LORD,” Psa 3:8; Jonah 2:9. Any system which tends to combine human responsibility with this Divine undertaking is wrong. Eph 2:8-10 relates good works to salvation produced by grace as an effect thereof, and not a cause.

Grace is all that God is free to do for unsaved mankind on the basis of the saving work of Christ on the Cross. Grace is extended to all members of the human race as unbelievers, living under spiritual death in total depravity and total helplessness regarding past salvation. Therefore, as a matter of grace, past salvation is entirely the work of God. If past salvation is totally the grace and work of God, then so is present and future salvation. As such, our salvation, in all its Biblical forms, is directly related to the work of all three members of the Trinity.

  1. It is the work of the Father in His plan of salvation, who sent the Son to carry it out. The plan of salvation reflects the purpose of the will of God the Father, who has sent the Son to carry it out, Eph 1:3-10, and His judging our sins, past, present, and future.
  2. It is the work of the Son in being judged for our sins, past, present, and future.
  3. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace, past, present, and future.

This is why the way of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ, and faith alone with no works added to it. Works will be the result of our faith and salvation, but salvation is never the result of works.

In so providing salvation by grace, mankind can have salvation from sin, salvation or deliverance out of the world, salvation from the flesh, and salvation in relation to heaven. And because of Satan’s opposition to salvation, we have been provided the “Helmet of Salvation,” to stand firm against his opposition.

There is no salvation offered under grace which stops short of being eternal in its character. This is due to the fact that it proves to be altogether a work of God, and His purpose and power never fail, Phil 1:6.

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began (Past) a good work in you will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

We are eternally secure because of our past salvation, Heb 5:9; 2 Tim 2:10; Eph 1:13; cf. 4:30.

We will be eternally rewarded because of our present salvation, 1 Cor 3:10-15; Rev 2-3.

We will be eternally blessed with an inheritance at our future salvation, Heb 9:15.

Another important image of well-being or blessedness related to our salvation is unique to the NT; our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Here one might speak of “salvation in,” for there are several images and many passages that picture salvation as a matter of being related to the Savior, as the believer is “in union” with Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.”

Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation Eph 2:21-22, “In whom the whole structure is joined together … in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Cf. 1 Peter 2:4-5.

Col 2:7, “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

Not only are the saved in Christ, but Christ is also in those who are saved, Gal 2:20. Cf. John 14:20; Eph 3:17; 1 John 4:16.

Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

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Eph 6 - Part 5 ( vs 17), - 10Books of the BibleThe Meaning of Salvation

The benefits of your union with Christ are described in various ways. We can group the Bible’s many images into three distinct categories: new situation, new self, new steps. As we have seen and will see below, salvation in the Bible is a three-dimensional phenomenon, (Past, Present, Future; New Situation, New Self, New Steps; involving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In this section, we are going to note the categories of new situation, new self, and new steps.

New Situation: – Salvation as objective change.

To be saved means that your legal status has changed, that you have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of your union with Jesus Christ. Four leading images depict the new situation brought about by God’s saving work.

1. The first is the image of “redemption,” that reminds us of the marketplace, the place where things are bought and sold. The first time “redemption” is used in the Bible is found in Ex 21:30. In that usage, someone who owned an ox that gored another was liable to be put to death for manslaughter. Yet, if a “ransom” was paid, that individual’s life would be spared, “given back to him.” The word for “redemption” here is PIDHYON, פִּדְיֹן‎ that means “redemption or ransom money.” Redemption signifies a transaction where some item is exchanged for payment. Its root PADHAH means to “redeem, ransom, or deliver.” It is only used here and in Psa 49:8, where the psalmist laments that the price of redemption of life, to escape death, is more than a mortal can pay.

Psa 49:8, “For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.”

The Lord, YHWH, was understood to be Israel’s redeemer, Deut 13:5; Isa 49:26.

Deut 13:5, “… the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery…”

Isa 49:26, “… And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Jesus also used the imagery of redemption to explain the nature of His ministry and death, Mark 10:45.

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Luke uses the term redemption as a general term for salvation, Luke 1:68; 2:38; 21:28; 24:21. 

Luke 1:68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.”

Paul used the imagery of redemption in, Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Col 1:14; Gal 4:5, and declares that the price of our redemption was the blood of Jesus Christ, representing the Divine life that is now in us, Eph 1:7; cf. Heb 9:12-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

And, we are reminded in 1 Cor 6:20, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Therefore, our “New Situation,” tells us that we have been redeemed from the slave market of sin, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, so that now we have a new life “In Christ.”

2. The second imagery is that of “justification,” an image drawn from the court of law. To be justified is to be declared innocent by the presiding judge. As Isaiah states in Isa 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Here too, to be saved is to enter into a new situation, namely, the state of being acquitted that follows the legal verdict of “not guilty.” Paul makes it clear that sinners are declared righteous not on the basis of their own merits or achievements, (works), but rather on the basis of their standing “in Christ,” Rom 8:1; cf. Rom 3:21-31; Gal 3:11; Eph 2:8-9.

Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Rom 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”

Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Only used in the NT in Rom 4:25; 5:18, “justification,” DIKAIOSIS, δικαίωσις that means, “acquittal or justification,” like redemption, depends on the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, Rom 4:25, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

Rom 5:7-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Rom 5:16, “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.” 

Rom 5:18, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” 

1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Therefore, the “New Situation” denoted by justification is that sinners who are “In Christ” have been formally pardoned from the guilt of sin and now live a new life in Christ.

3. The third image is that of “adoption,” HUIOTHESIA, υἱοθεσία from HUIOS, “son” and TITHEMI, “to “place,” it means, “to place a son” or incorporation into the family. In the believer’s case, it is placement or incorporation into the Royal Family of God. Therefore, to teach the Church Age believer about His position “In Christ,” Paul draws an analogy to the custom of “adoption” practiced by the Roman aristocracy.

Roman adoption officially designated someone as an heir, whether or not that person was related by blood. The Caesars usually adopted successors who were not their sons. Often, however a father would adopt his own son, granting him the full privileges and responsibilities of the family name.

The ceremony of adoption also marked the boy’s transition into adulthood, traditionally at age fourteen. Paul depicts Israel as an immature son in Gal 3:23, and the Church as an adult son and heir in Gal 3:25-26. At a dramatic moment in the Roman ceremony of adoption, the new heir is clothed with the magnificent “toga virilis,” the garment of manhood, Gal 3:27.

Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Christians wear the spiritual equivalent of the “toga virilis” from the moment of salvation, when the Baptism of the Spirit occurs, Eph 1:13.

The significance of our adoption into the family of God is that the Church Age believer has been removed from the cosmic system as a child of the devil, and has been placed as an adult son into the Royal Family of God, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head, Col 1:13-14. Adoption means that the Church Age believer is spiritual aristocracy now and is intimately related to all three members of the Trinity.

Col 1:13-14, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Through the merits of Christ, Church Age believers are adopted as adult sons of God and joint heirs with Christ at the first instant of faith in Him, Rom 8:15-17; Eph 1:5.

Eph 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

Although a spiritual infant in experience, every Church Age believer is a spiritual adult in position. He is granted the full privileges and responsibilities of an adult son of God because he is in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 8:23; 9:4; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; cf. Ex 4:22; Isa 1:2; 56:5; Hosea 1:10; 11:1.

Gal 4:5-6, “So that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””

The process of adoption is linked to the work of the Holy Spirit, whom Paul calls the “Spirit of adoption.” The body of the saved are members of God’s kingdom and God’s family alike. The believer is not a child of God by nature; the image of adoption emphasizes the graciousness of salvation. Adoption pictures union with Christ in terms of enjoying all the privileges that come with one’s status as a legal child of God, as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Rom 8:15-17; cf. Eph 1:13-14; James 2:5.

Eph 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Gal 4:7, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Sonship / adoption thus relates to the present and also to the future consummation of adoption and the inheritance of eternal life. At the resurrection of the Church, also called the Rapture of the Church, the believer will obtain the full manifestation of his sonship, called the “redemption of the body,” Rom 8:23; 1 Thes 4:14-17; Eph 1:14; Phil 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2.

Therefore, our “New Situation” speaks of our adoption into the family of God, as sons and daughters, because of our union with God the Son, Jesus Christ, with all of its privileges and blessings of an eternal inheritance.

4. Finally, Paul depicts the “New Situation” of the saved with an image drawn from the domain of personal relationships, “reconciliation.” The doctrine of Reconciliation first speaks to the removal of the barrier between God and mankind that kept us from having a personal relationship with God. Yet, through the salvation work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, that barrier called sin was removed, providing peace between God and man, and giving man the opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with God.

“Reconciliation,” is the Greek noun KATALLAGE, καταλλαγή, that also means “restoration to favor,” which is a picture that assumes a previous estrangement that has been overcome or healed. In ancient Greek it meant, “the restoration of the original understanding between people after hostility or displeasure.”  This original understanding is the state in which God created man that was interrupted by sin in the Garden of Eden.

The root word KATALLAGE denotes action initiated and completed by God in restoring man to right relationship with Him through Christ. Redeemed man is the recipient of God’s reconciliation, Rom 5:11; 11:15; 2 Cor 5:19.

Likewise, the Greek verb KATALLASSO means, “to change someone from a state of hostility into a state of tranquility and peace, from enmity to reconciliation.”

All people are by nature enemies of God because of sin, Rom 5:10; Col 1:21.

Rom 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved (delivered) by His life.”

Col 1:21-22, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

God is similarly alienated from human beings because of his righteous anger, Rom 1:18. Yet, it was the death of Jesus Christ that overcame sin and averts the Divine wrath, 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 2:16.

2 Cor 5:19, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Eph 2:16, “And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

“The reconciled” is the expression of the transformation of the relationship of enmity between God and man, which has been brought about by the new Adam, Jesus Christ, cf. Rom 5:12ff. Through personal faith in Jesus Christ, the barriers between man and God are removed and we are entered into right relationship with God and Jesus Christ, Rom 5:8-11; 2 Cor 5:17-19.

Rom 5:8-11, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

2 Cor 5:17-19, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Peace is a synonym for reconciliation, since being reconciled to God through faith in Christ establishes peace between God and the believer. Peace is not only a synonym for reconciliation, but is the only way to completely understand what God did for us and that there was nothing we could do for salvation. Peace means that we have His righteousness and His life, Col 1:19‑22.

“The revealed truth of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took on Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took on Himself the heredity of sin that no man can even touch. God made His own Son “to be sin” that He might make the sinner into a saint. It is revealed throughout the Bible that our Lord took on Himself the sin of the world through identification with us, not through sympathy for us. He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in His own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us …” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.)

Our Lord commands us to also have a heart of reconciliation towards our fellow man in the image of our reconciliation to Him, Mat 5:24, “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Thanks to this reconciling work, one who is “In Christ,” enjoys restored relations with God and, like Abraham, may be called, “the friend of God,” James 2:23.

New Self: – Salvation as inner change.

Next, we have the “New Self.” This means that to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.

2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

This means that we have a new subjective condition, a new self, to go along with new objective status of our new situation, noted above. It means that because of our new situation being “In Christ,” we are to live for Christ.

One of the most striking images of this inner transformation is Jesus’ metaphor of rebirth, being “born again,” John 3:3-7; cf. 1 Peter 1:23.

1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

The need for this inner renewal was perceived by the psalmist in Psa 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

As a macrocosm to the spiritual life of the Church Age believers, the prophets foresaw a time of national renewal and spiritual cleansing for Israel, Ezek 36:25-28, when God would make a new covenant by writing His law on people’s hearts, Jer 31:31; Heb 10:16.

Ezek 36:25-27, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Paul exhorts all believers to walk in the newness of this rebirth we have received, as Jesus’ resurrection is a sign that the new life has already begun. Because believers share in Christ’s resurrection, Paul can refer to the “new man,” which is the reborn spiritual nature inside of the believer that provides for his personal relationship and walk with Jesus Christ, Rom 6:4; 8:1; Eph 2:10, Col 2:6.

Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

John also exhorts the believer to walk in the newness of life, 1 John 1:7.

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

God calls upon men and women who are “In Christ” to put off their old natures and be renewed in the spirit of their minds, Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.

Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  

Eph 4:22-24, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Col 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

The “New Self” designates a new power and a new orientation to life, which is described as a renewal of God’s image in humanity, defined by Christ. To be born anew means, to join in the new humanity of the Second Adam, to be made more Christ-like through the renewal of one’s inner nature by the Holy Spirit, John 1:13; Titus 3:5.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Therefore, as part of our salvation past, present, and future, being “In Christ,” having been made a new creation, a new spiritual species, we are to walk in that new nature consistently, allowing God’s transforming work to occur within our souls through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine through the power and filling of God the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:23-24, “And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

New Steps: – Salvation as behavioral change.

The company of the saved, as a result of their union with Christ, rebirth, and gift of Christ’s Spirit are expected to live differently.

Not only the natures but the actions and interpersonal relations of the saved are transformed, Gal 5:22-25. 1 John also provides special emphasis on the moral and spiritual implications of our rebirth.

Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 

1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

James’ epistle demonstrates that as a result of salvation by faith, a new way of life should emerge that is filled with Divine Good Production, good works, which are the evidence of faith, James 2:24f. Therefore, salvation received in faith is expressed in good works performed in faith, rendering that believer a “vessel of honor,” 2 Tim 2:21-22.

Christ gave himself for the Church not only to change our legal standing before God, but also “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word … that she would be holy and without blemish,” Eph 5:25-27; cf. Col 1:22; Heb 9:14.

Col 1:22, “Yet, He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The body of the saved give evidence of their new natures by walking according to the Spirit, and in particular by the quality of their love for one another, 1 John 4:7.

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Therefore, the meaning of Salvation to the believer is that they have a “New Situation,” an objective change to their legal status before God. What signifies this new status is that they have been redeemed, justified, adopted, and reconciled by God through the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross and the resultant ministry of the Holy Spirit. With that, believers have a “New Self,” an inner change that means to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal. This is first accomplished by the regeneration of your human spirit at the moment of your conversion, and then the continued renewal of your mind by the intake and application of God’s Word through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. That then leads to the “New Steps,” or behavioral change we are to undergo as a result of our salvation with the result of producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit. Believers are expected to live differently in this world because of the Christ-like nature that is developed within. This is the demonstration of our salvation to God and to a lost and dying world.

Summary.

Taken together, the biblical imagery for salvation makes up a three-dimensional description: Salvation is an objectively new situation, a new self, and a new way of life that is past fact, present experience, and future hope, and partakes of the economy of the gift of God’s own triune life; Father, Son, and Spirit, to those who do not deserve it. To be among the body of the saved is to be united with Him who is, “the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6. It is to enjoy a New Situation, (the truth of our life in Christ), a New Self, (the life of the Spirit of Christ in us), and a New Way of life, (the way of righteousness defined by Christ). With all this said, the Bible’s controlling image of salvation is neither of a process nor of a promise, but of a person, Psa 27:1a, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” 2 Cor 9:15, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

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Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

Finally, in vs. 17, we have, “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“The order of this verse, with the helmet being received before the sword, makes good sense, because the soldier who is being depicted already grasps the shield with his left hand. If he had taken the sword first, there would be no hand free to receive and put on the helmet.” (Word Biblical Commentary.)

This section begins with the Adjunctive Conjunction KAI, “and,” to link the “sword of the Spirit” with “helmet of salvation,” and the entire “armor of God.” It also repeats the “take” command in the Middle Deponent voice, from the beginning of this verse.

The Sword” is HO MACHAIRA. It is the Accusative, Singular, Direct Object MACHAIRA, μάχαιρα that means, “a small sword or large knife.” It is different than the RHOMPHAIA, which was a large broad sword, used in Luke 2:35; Rev 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21.

The word MACHAIRA is used about 30 times in the NT. It is related to MACHE that means, “a fight,” and MACHOMAI, “to fight.” It is where we get the English word “machete” from. It was originally used in ancient Greek for a large knife used for sacrificing animals, as well as cutting up meat, the occupational purposes of tanning, and even gardening. Later, it came to denote a weapon, particularly a small sword or dagger.

Its use in the NT always denotes a sword either literally or figuratively, with the exception of Heb 4:12, when used for the Priest’s butchering knife. The word “sword” is first used in the Bible in Gen 3:24, when God stationed a cherubim angel outside of the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword, so that Adam and Eve could not renter the Garden. The purpose was to separate sinful man from the Tree of Life, so that sin would not reign forever. The first mention of “sword” in the NT is in Mat 10:34, when our Lord proclaimed He “did not come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword.” He came to bring salvation through the Gospel of Peace that would separate believing man from unbelieving man. Therefore, the imagery of the “sword” is that of separation, the separation of righteousness from Sin.

In its figurative use, it denotes power and authority of governing officials. It is used for the sword of justice in relation to the executioner in Acts 12:2; Rom 8:35; Heb 11:34, 37, and bearing the sword, meant one had authority and power to bring justice, Rom 13:4, hence, equivalent to having the power of life and death. That reminds us of the power and authority the Word of God provides us over Satan and his governing authorities of this world. Cf. Eph 6:11-12.

In Mat 10:34, Jesus came to bring a sword that divides the believer from the unbeliever.

Mat 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The sword was the basic weapon of the ancient world for close combat. The Roman sword was the greatest of all weapons and it had a number of important aspects that made it extremely effective. First, it was a short lightweight sword, only 18 to 24 inches long. This was in contrast to the four, five, and even six-foot swords used by the barbarians. It could be swung easily and quickly, quicker than the longer swords used by other militaries. It had two sides, both edges were very sharp, as well as having a very sharp point. It also had a good hand guard so that the hand did not slip off. All of these can be used to draw various analogies to wielding the Word of God in the spiritual warfare we are a part of.

In this imagery, we also see that it represents hand to hand combat. As the shield could ward off long range fire, as well as close hand to hand combat, the sword was only used when up close and personal. This tells us of the intimacy of temptations in our soul from within and without. Because of this intimacy, we need an effective weapon to fight with to be victorious. This sword is that weapon.

Next, we have, “of the Spirit.” It is the Ablative Genitive of Source for HO PNEUMA πνεῦμ. It means, God the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. We could translate this, “the Sword from the Spirit.” “Of the Spirit,” cannot be the Genitive of Apposition. The Spirit is not the sword; this would be inconsistent, as the sword is something which the soldier wields, but the Christian cannot control the Spirit. Instead, the Spirit is the one who empowers and enables the believer to function in the spiritual life and He is the one who helps us wield this sword. It is God the Holy Spirit that makes the sword powerful and effective. The Spirit gives the sword its power and penetration, cf. 2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thes 1:5; 2 Peter 1:21.

2 Cor 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Then we have, “which is the Word of God,” HOS EIMI RHEMA THEOS.

Which,” is the Relative Pronoun of HOS that refers back to the “sword of the Spirit,” and sets up its definition that follows.

Is,” is the verb EIMI, εἰμί in the Present, Active, Indicative that means, “to be, exist, live, am, etc.” It is describing the relationship between the “sword” we are to wield by means of the Holy Spirit and the “word of God.” Here it is used as a copula to unite the “sword” with “the Word of God.” The Stative Present indicates the fact that Bible doctrine perpetually exists. The Active Voice: The sword from the Spirit produces the action of the verb, and the “sword” of the Spirit is the “Word of God.” The Indicative Mood is declarative for a dogmatic statement of fact.

The phrase, “The Word of God,” uses the Genitive of Source of RHEMA rather than LOGOS here. RHEMA, ῥῆμα means, “a thing spoken, word, saying, a speech, discourse, etc.” It is used 70 times in the NT and many times its meaning overlaps with LOGOS. It typically means a single text or passage when referring to the Bible, but here, tied with THEOS, it includes the entire Word of God, not just a single text or passage as it normally would. It is what God has spoken, His Word, the Bible. This is what is sharper than any double-edged sword, Heb 4:12. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God found in His Word.

Therefore, “The sword is not the πνεῦμα but the Word of God, characterized as the sword that proceeds from the Spirit and is given by Him.” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.)

Its emphasis here, and in other passages, is on the recall or application of individual texts from the full directory of the entire Bible that we can use when facing the various temptations from our own OSN, or from Satan and his cosmic system, as Jesus did, Mat 4:4; cf. Deut 8:3.

Mat 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word (RHEMA) that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Satan tempted Jesus 3 times in Mat 4:1-13. Each time Jesus used the Word of God to refute him. In that scene we also see that Satan can also quote the Word: “For it is written,” Luke 4:10, but he does not quote it completely. Satan tries to use the Word of God to confuse us, so it is important that we know every word that God has given us.

Someone once said, “You can prove anything by the Bible.” That is true, if you take verses out of context, leave out words, and apply verses that do not really apply. Therefore, the better you know the Word of God, the easier it will be for you to detect Satan’s lies and reject his offers.

Therefore, “the Word of God,” means the doctrines, promises, principles, and precepts of God revealed and taught in the Bible, John 3:34; 8:47; 17:8; Acts 10:37; Rom 10:17; Eph 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25.

RHEMA was also used in Eph 5:26, speaking to the cleansing effect the Word of God, especially the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has over the soul.

Eph 5:26, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

Because of this verse, many commentators believe “the Word of God” in our passage only refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But in true context, it is referring to the entire Bible, everything spoken by God through His prophets and Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as these passages about the armor of God are speaking to the believer post-salvation, we are experientially cleansed from sin and future temptation by the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. In our verse, and Heb 4:12, “sword” is used with the “Word of God” that divides. In Hebrews, its function is to discern the heart, to lay open the secret human intentions and thoughts so that evil can be rooted out. In our verse, it is used similarly to root out and even stop from penetrating the temptations of Satan and his cosmic system that can easily defeat our spiritual walk, through the application of the doctrinal principles and precepts found in the Bible.

No soldier would consider himself to be well armed for battle or prepared to face the enemy, if he did not have a sword, because he knows he will be defeated. Likewise, without the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we will not be able to face the enemy and defeat him. In fact, all the other pieces of the armor depend on the Word of God. For example, how can you have the “Shield of Faith” when you do not know the Word of God? Or how will you guard your heart, mind, and soul with the “Helmet of Salvation,” if you do not know the Word of God. When the enemy attacks your mind, you need the Word of God to defeat him.

The sword given and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be wielded by the Christian is typically thought of as an offensive weapon. Yet, the other pieces of armament are defensive, (helmet, breastplate, shield, girdle, and shoes). That is to say, the main part of our warfare consists in defense, in resistance, and in keeping with what we have, in spite of everybody, men and devils alike, who attempt to take it from us. That is why we are exhorted in Rev 3:11, “…. hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

Nevertheless, the sword, as you know, is also used defensively to protect you from the thrust of the enemy. Just like in ancient times, the sword was the main weapon of warfare; similarly, the Word of God is the primary weapon we are to use to defend and attack the enemy. Therefore, it has a dual effect, to block the attack of the enemy and to thrust a killing blow at him.

As the Roman MACHAIRA was a double-edged sword, we see the dual nature, both offensive and defensive, of the Sword of the Spirit, which in actuality is the Word of God resident within your soul, cf. Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16; 2:12.

Rev 1:16, “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”

Psa 149:6, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” 

The Word of God protects you from the penetrating temptations of Satan’s cosmic system, including your Old Sin Nature, and works to defeat them from continuing their relentless attacks. Therefore, the Word of God serves both for attack and to parry the thrusts of the enemy. Christ used it as such in His temptations with the result of defeating Satan, Mat 4:11.

Mat 4:11 “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

Satan cannot withstand the Sword of the Spirt when it is edged and wielded by faith. As such, the faith that Jesus showed in Mat 4:4, was confirmed, and the Biblical principle of the effect of the Sword of the Spirit, i.e., the Word of God, is: Whenever the devil is resisted he must yield, James 4:7.

James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

To submit is to place or arrange yourself under, as a good soldier places himself under an officer of higher rank. It is a voluntary act of humility to submit to God via the intake and application of His Word. As we noted above, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He provided an example of how believers can triumph. He resisted Satan with Scripture, cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 12.

“That word, lodged in our hearts, brings to us a revelation of duty and a chart of life, because it brings a loving recognition of the character of our Father, and a glad obedience to His will. If that word dwell in us richly, in all wisdom, and if we do not dull the edge of the sword by our own unworthy handling of it, we shall find it pierce to the ‘dividing asunder of joints and marrow,’ and the evil within us will either be cast out from us, or will shrivel itself up, and bury itself deep in dark corners.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture.)

In this imagery, we also note that a soldier would spend many years learning to use the sword effectively both offensively and defensively, as it had a double-edged blade and was designed for close-quarter, one and one fighting. For us to defeat the enemy in spiritual warfare, we must study the Word of God diligently; daily in fact, as the Berean’s did, Acts 17:10-11.

The Christian needs only spiritual weapons. The spiritual Sword with which he can defend himself is the Word of God empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, our English word for “sword” is “word” plus an “S,” because it is the Spirit who gives us the Word, empowers and enables it, giving it its sharpness and duality. As such, it is the “SWord” with which the Spirit subdues the impulses to sin and proves its own power and efficacy. It is the Sword of the Spirit, because the Spirit of God gives it and inspires it.

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary.” (Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.)

In addition, the Spirit’s aid is needed for its interpretation.

John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

“A material sword pierces the body, but the Word of God pierces the heart. The more you use a physical sword, the duller it becomes; but using God’s Word only makes it sharper in our lives. A physical sword requires the hand of a soldier, but the sword of the Spirit has its own power, for it is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). A physical sword wounds to hurt and kill, while the sword of the Spirit wounds to heal and give life. But when we use the sword against Satan, we are out to deal him a blow that will cripple him and keep him from hindering God’s work. The Spirit wrote the Word, and the Spirit wields the Word as we take it by faith and use it.” (Bible Exposition Commentary.)

With Bible doctrine in the soul, you are never off-balance and you are consistently putting pressure on Satan. The believer takes the offensive by daily positive volition toward Bible doctrine. The defensive side deflects the thrusts of temptation, while the offensive side defeats the attacker. The best thing the defensive side can do is avoid defeat, and the best thing the offensive side can do is win the tactical victory. The Royal Family was not designed for defeat but for victory.

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

“It is not without reason that the most necessary instruments of warfare, a sword and a shield, are compared to faith, and to the Word of God. In the spiritual combat, these two hold the highest rank. By faith we repel all the attacks of the devil, and by the Word of God the enemy himself is slain. If the Word of God shall have its efficacy upon us through faith, we shall be more than sufficiently armed both for opposing the enemy and for putting him to flight.” (Calvin’s Commentaries).

For us to come out victorious against the enemy, we must put on the whole armor of God. We cannot afford to let any piece of the armor of God be missing as that’s the area the enemy will attack us. God has given us what we need to defeat the enemy. Therefore, if we are defeated by the enemy, it is not because God has not given you the armor to stand and to fight.

“I always enjoy visiting places that have old weapons, especially swords. Sometimes you can see the really big swords in the museums. Some of them weigh more than I do. What many think, as they hold or look on these massive swords, is that they are interesting but practically useless for modern warfare. No one would recommend them to be issued to troops today. How similar this is to their opinion of the Bible. Many people admire the Bible and may put the Bible on display in their homes somewhere (normally a huge Bible), but some of these same people never use the Bible. Why? They deem it like an ancient sword, useless for modern warfare.

This should not surprise us. In the garden the evil one raised doubt and suspicion about God’s word. But do not be deceived. You can trust God’s Word. You need God’s Word. Do not go into battle without a sword. Read it. Meditate on it. Pray it. Proclaim it.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)

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Full Armor of God

Full Armor of God

Summary and Conclusion to The Full Armor of God

In vs. 14, we were first told, once again, to “stand firm,” which means to hold our ground against the assaults of the enemy, Satan and his cosmic system.

Belt of Truth

Belt of Truth

Then we were exhorted to “bind around our loins the truth.”

This truth, ALETHEIA, is speaking to both the person of God, the attribute of veracity of all three members of the Trinity, and secondly, His Word, Bible Doctrine. We are exhorted to know God by means of knowing His Word. When we know His Word, we know Him, and have tremendous power and resources to stand firm against the evil one.

John 18:37, “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’.”

John 1:17, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

Jesus Christ is, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” for salvation because, “no one comes to the Father but through Me,” John 14:6.

John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

Isa 65:16, “Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth.”

Psa 85:10-11, “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”

Psa 25:5, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”

Psa 86:11, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”

Breastplate of Righteousness

Breastplate of Righteousness

Next, we were exhorted to “put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

There we noted that:

  1. God is righteous.
  2. He imputed His righteousness to us at the moment of our conversion, being born again.
  3. His word is righteous.
  4. We are to walk in righteousness by applying His word to our lives.
  5. We are blessed by God’s righteousness through His grace pipeline because of the imputed righteousness in us, especially when we walk in His righteousness.

2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

1 Cor 1:30, “But by His (God the Father’s) doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom (truth) from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Phil 3:9, “That I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Mat 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Feet Shod w/ the Gospel of Peace

Feet Shod w/ the Gospel of Peace

Then we noted in vs. 15, that we are to “shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

“Feet” speaks to our daily walk in Christ; in His righteousness and truth. The key word there was “preparation,” HETOIMASIA that means, “readiness, preparation, or equipment.” In other words, we are to be continually prepared and ready to witness the gospel of peace through our words and our lives, our Christian conduct.

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Psa 119:1, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.”

Psa 119:101-104, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. 102I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, for You Yourself have taught me. 103How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.”

Psa 119:105-106, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances.”

Heb 12:13, “And make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”

Isa 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” cf. Rom 10:15.

Shield of Faith

Shield of Faith

Moving to vs. 16, we were exhorted to “take up the shield of faith.”

This also was the first piece of armament that was given a purpose, “to extinguish all the flamming missiles of the evil one.

The Book of Ephesians has much to say about faith, including:

Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”

Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”

Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, those who have faith in the Lord are commended:

  • We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, (i.e., our entrance into the spiritual life by faith).
  • Faith in Christ gives us boldness and confident access to the Father, (i.e., our prayer life of faith).
  • Christ is at home in the heart of faith, (i.e., our walk in faith).
  • We have One Faith, (i.e., positional unity in the Body of Christ).
  • We are to attain a unity of faith with the brethren, (i.e., experiential unity in the body of Christ).
  • We are protected by the shield of faith, (i.e., the guardianship that is faith).
  • God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul desire us to have faith, (i.e., their hope of faith for us).

Rom 1:17, “For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’.”

Heb 10:38, “But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”

Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

2 Cor 5:6-8a, “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord –7for we walk by faith, not by sight.

1 Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

The shield of faith is necessary to halt the destructive tempations, “flamming missles/arrows,” of Satan from pentrating the soul. The Roman soldier’s shield used in analogy here, was a very large shield. Faith is a very large and important aspect of protection for the spiriutal life.

Helmet of Salvation

Helmet of Salvation

Then we noted in the first half of vs. 17, “take the helmet of salvation.”

This helmet is given to protect our head, the place where we do our thinking. It is designed to protect our thoughts, heart, mind, and soul. When we understand our salvation, we have this protection experientially in time. This knowledge of salvation includes our Past Salvation, the day of our conversion; our Present Salvation, our daily deliverance from sin and evil; and our Future Salvation, the eternal inheritence waiting for us in heaven. Equiped with this knoweldge and assurance, we are able to defend against the tempations of evil thoughts and practices, and remain walking in the righteousness of God.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” 

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (Past) will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

Heb 9:28, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

1 Thes 5:8-11, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”

Rom 5:9-11, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, (Present Tense Salvation), we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Future Tense Salvation). 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, (Past Tense Salvation), we shall be saved by His life, (Future Tense Salvation). 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Present Tense Salvation), through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Present Tense Salvation).”

In this we learned of our:

  1. New Situation; our legal status has changed. We have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of our union with Jesus Christ because of our Redemption, Justification, Adoption, and Reconciliation.
  1. New Self; to be “In Christ,” undergoing inward renewal, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15, to live for Christ, designated by a new power and a new orientation to life.

2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Eph 4:22-24, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Col 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

  1. New Steps, as a result of our rebirth, union with Christ, and gift of Christ’s Spirit we are expected to live differently, that is behavioral change we are to undergo as a result of our salvation with the result of producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit, because of the Christ-like nature that is developed within. This is the demonstration of our salvation to God and to a lost and dying world.

Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

And last, but certainly not least, we were exhorted in the second half of vs. 17, to, “take … the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”

Here, we saw that the “sword” is from the source of God the Holy Spirit, who empowers and enables us to wield it, and that the sword is the “Word of God,” (RHEMA HO THEOS), Bible Doctrine resident within your soul. This armament is both defensive to stop the personal assault of the evil one, and offensive to set him a flight. James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Cf. Mat 4:11. With the Word of God, we both defend against the inward and outward temptations to sin, and stop them from becoming consistent future temptations that lead us astray. Instead we walk in Christ but the power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit, producing Divine Good.

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things (Bible Doctrine) we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Full Armor of God

Full Armor of God

Therefore, when we put on the whole armor of God, we have guidance and protection from the schemes of Satan and his cosmic system and live the victorious life of Christ.

What about the soldier’s back? Although the breastplate had to be wrapped around the backside, Paul does not make note of any equipment for the backside. It is interesting that in the book “Pilgrim’s Progress,” Bunyan says because the Christian has no armor for his back, the best option is to hold his ground. And when we put on the armor of God, we too can hold our ground against the evil one, as we advance spiritually in our own lives and advance the gospel into the world, (Satan’s cosmic system). But, if we turn our back to the enemy and run away in fear, worry, anxiety; sin, we are most vulnerable. Therefore, when we face our enemy, (temptations in our soul), head on with the armor of God, we are able to hold our ground, defeat the enemy, and win the victory of the battle over our thoughts, mind, heart, and soul, experientially.

As we have noted at the beginning of this study, these virtues connected with the Armor of God have previously been mentioned by Paul in the Book of Ephesians.

  1. Truth, Eph 1:13; 4:15, 21, 24-25; 5:9.
  2. Righteousness, Eph 4:24; 5:9.
  3. The Gospel, Eph 1:13; 3:6; of Peace, Eph 2:14-18; 4:3; 6:19, 23.
  4. Faith, Eph 1:13, 15, 19; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13; 6:23.
  5. Salvation, Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23.
  6. The Word of God, Eph 1:13; 5:26.

Likewise, the OT speaks about “The Armor of God,” as most commentators observe, the clearest allusion made by Eph 6 is to Isa 59:17, where the Lord God Himself puts on His battle garments including righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation. The Lord has a sword in Isa 34:5-6; 66:16, and the coming Christ has righteousness and faithfulness, (EMUNAH, also meaning “truth”), as a belt around his waist, Isa 11:5, and with a mouth like a sharpened sword (CHADH CHEREV), Isa 49:2. Looking at the wider OT, we find that the Lord is often found giving Himself to His people as their shield, Gen 15:1; 20 times in the Psalms, even as their shield and sword together, Deut 33:29.

Gen 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great”.”

Psa 3:3, “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”

Psa 5:12, “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

Psa 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psa 18:30, “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

Psa 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him. “

Psa 33:20, “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.”

Deut 33:29, “Blessed are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, who is the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread upon their high places.”

As such, we see that the “whole armor of God” is a picture of Jesus Christ. And, the important aspect of this armor that we have available to us is that the pieces of equipment are all Christ-like virtues that we are to take on as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For example:

  • He is The Truth, John 14:6,
  • He is our righteousness, 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21.
  • He is our Gospel of peace, Mark 1:1; Eph 2:14.
  • His faithfulness makes possible our faith, Gal 2:20.
  • He is our salvation, Luke 2:30.
  • He is the Word of God, John 1:1, 14.

And because of our union with Jesus Christ from the moment of our conversion, this means that when we believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we received the armor of Christ. Yet, at that time we did not know how to use it. Therefore, God has given us instruction in both the OT and NT regarding how to put it on and use it.

Paul told the Romans what to do with the armor, Rom 13:11-14: wake up, cast off sin, and put on the armor of light. We do this by putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ.” By faith we put on the armor and trust God for the victory by our daily appropriation of it; His Word, the mind of Jesus Christ, cf. 1 Cor 2:16.

1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV), “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Armor of God is Christ the LORD. William Gurnall, who wrote 1700 pages on the armor of God, put the matter very succinctly when he commented: “By armor is meant Christ.” Paul’s whole letter to the Ephesians, as all his letters, has been dominated by Christ. This is in continuity with the OT where we find that the LORD is our salvation and our righteousness, Ex 15:2; Jer 23:6.

Ex 15:2, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”

Jer 23:6, “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness’.”

It is perfectly consistent with Paul’s thought that we should put on Christ and clothe ourselves in him, Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27.

Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves (positionally) with Christ.”

Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ (experientially), and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

As we have seen in our study of these passages, the Roman Soldier analogy tends slightly towards seeing the pieces of armor as passive instruments with the soldier (you and I) as the active fighter. In contrast, if we see the Armor of God as the OT armor of God, (The YHWH / Lord Himself, Christ Jesus the Lord), then it is closer to the mark to see us as the passive ones and God as the active One. He has given and is giving us His armor. He is giving us Himself. He is surrounding us as a hedge, wall of fire, a fortress, and a shield. Yes, we have seen the imperative moods in these passages to “put on” and “take up” and “stand firm.” We do need to walk in the calling we have received, Eph 4:1. But, it is first and foremost something received, a gift, the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives because of God’s greater grace for the Christian.

Therefore, do not turn Ephesians 6 into a series of things for us to do. That is “fig leaf” armor. We need the armor of God. We need to put on Christ and glory in His sovereign grace.

“According to Ephesians 6 believers need to be armed with God’s own righteousness if they are to be protected against the blows and arrows of their spiritual enemies… The position of power and authority with Christ to which they have been raised is greater than that possessed by their mighty supernatural enemies. As they appropriate this salvation more fully and live in the light of their status in Christ, they have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle.” (Peter O’Brien, The Pillar New Testament Commentary.)

When, King David put off his armor and returned to his palace, he was in greater danger than when he was on the battlefield, 2 Sam 11, (Operation Bathsheba). As it notes in vs. 1, “Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, …. But David stayed at Jerusalem.” The point is, we are never out of the reach of Satan’s schemes, so we must always be prepared to stand firm and never be without the whole Armor of God.

Therefore, what has been written and taught from the illustration of the Roman soldier is spiritually true and edifying. Let us rejoice in what Ephesians 6 is clearly saying about the Divine armor that we, the Church, have been given and let us put on Christ. The soldier is to dress, and to stand, and to handle shield and sword against the world-rulers of this darkness and their leader, the Devil himself. And, as we will see in the next section of Eph 6, we, the soldiers, are enabled and commanded to keep in ceaseless communication with The Lord’s own blessed Commander, God the Father; a communication which no siege can interrupt, the wireless connection we have with heaven that we call prayer.

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Click Here for Part 6, (vs. 18-20).  The study includes:

Exegesis of: Ephesians 6:18-20

Exegesis of Ephesians 6:18-20

E. The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles, Eph 6:10-20.

2. God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church, Eph 6:18-20.

  • Prayer Makes the Armor of God Effective for Victory
    Principles on Prayer
  • Intercessory Prayer
    Principles of Intercessory Prayer
  • Your Royal Ambassadorship
    Definition & Description
    Profile of an Ambassador

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