SPIRITUAL WARFARE - Part II
Ephesians 6:10-14—“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore.”
In last month’s article we introduced three major divisions in the book of Ephesians. The first division, which we wrote about last month, corresponds to the word sit and is the emphasis of chapters 1-3. It has to do with understanding and accepting Christ’s finished work. When we understand how to “rest in Christ,” then we are ready to proceed to the second term: walk.
The word walk is the main thesis that begins in Ephesians 4:1 and continues until chapter 6:9. In Ephesians 4:1, the Bible states that the believer is to walk worthy of his vocation. What is the vocation or calling of the believer? While we have many different roles and functions to fulfill, we have but one common responsibility, which is laid upon every believer—we are to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Every Christian is to become Christlike, to have the mind of Christ, and to walk and exhibit divine attributes that come from the working of the Spirit. We are all responsible to exhibit Christ to the world in which we live. That is our first and foremost vocation! That is our highest and most urgent responsibility!
So the command to walk worthy indicates that the believer ought to be working towards this principle goal with the same intensity that God approached bringing salvation to mankind. In other words, God gave His best to bring us salvation. Are we doing our best to appropriate and walk in what He has provided?
The believer must not just act right or try to copy the actions of Jesus. We are not called upon to imitate Christ; we are called to learn how to let the very life of Christ flow though us. Only then can we be truly exhibiting Christ. This life flow of our Saviour is only possible when we learn the secret of sanctifying grace. This grace is the active power of the Holy Spirit, which molds us into Christ’s image and produces the true “fruit” of the Spirit.
Every command to become something can only be accomplished by grace through faith. Therefore, as the believer places his or her faith in Christ and His finished work, God’s grace (the effectual working of the Holy Spirit) is freely given (this is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus).
So, as we overview the following exhortations to “walk” we must never forget how that is to be carried out. We have to know how to do “the what to do.” We must approach these commandments by and through the help of God’s grace. If we don’t understand this concept, then we are doomed to failure or inconsistency. No fleshly effort will ever be able to consistently carry out the following commands to “walk.”
WALK AS A NEW MAN
In order to walk as a new creation man, the mind of the believer has to be renewed to the acknowledgment and lifelong practice of faith in Christ and the Cross. As our mind, soul, and spirit acquiesce to the need for properly placed faith, we approach each issue of our lives in a new way. We walk as a new man, not trusting in ourselves, or our meager human effort. We “put off” the old man daily by denying self and embracing the provision of grace through faith in the cross.
God’s Spirit—seeing that we are approaching relationship with God in the appropriate way—works in us and through us and enables us to grow more and more into the image of Christ. This is why Ephesians 4:17 warns us not to walk in the vanity or meaninglessness of our own mind. By following this mindset and proper object of faith, we learn to “walk in love”(Eph.5:2), “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8), and we are called to “walk circumspectly” (Eph. 5:15).
WALK IN THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT
The second section that focuses on the need to “walk” closes out commanding the believer to be continuously filled again and again with the Holy Spirit. This means that all aspects of the Spirit’s work in our lives must continue. It indicates the need for a renewal of the Spirit. Just being saved, where the introduction to the saving and sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit is first encountered, is not sufficient. Experiencing the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit that is accompanied with the evidence of speaking with other tongues just once is not enough. Every aspect of the Spirit’s work must be renewed again and again. Knowing the truth of how the Spirit works means that we look for many and varied moves of the Spirit in the ongoing everyday course of our lives to help keep us on track, to enable us to continually love Jesus, to encourage us to reach a little higher in regard to righteous living.
Nothing that is done in the life and heart of the Christian is worthwhile unless it stems from the Spirit’s work within us. The Spirit moves and equips us when our faith is directed toward Christ and His work! We need to be “being filled” with the power of the Holy Spirit!
This article will be continued in the April issue of The Evangelist.