“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.” Ephesians 6:10-17 (HCSB)
In the final statements of his letter to the Ephesians, Paul elicits imagery from Israel’s dark past. He recalls a time when Satan’s tactics were effective against the nation of Israel, which had fallen into national sin by abandoning the truth of God’s Word. This is especially relevant to modern believers in light of recent pew surveys. Research has uncovered that 57% of so-called “Evangelical” believers do not believe Jesus is the only way to salvation. That assumption can only be reached by being ignorant of the Bible. Isaiah’s warning to pre-dispersion Israel mirrors Paul’s exhortation.
“We all growl like bears and moan like doves. We hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions have multiplied before You, and our sins testify against us. For our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgression and deception against the Lord, turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering lying words from the heart. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far off. For truth has stumbled in the public square, and honesty cannot enter. Truth is missing, and whoever turns from evil is plundered.” Isaiah 59:11-15a (HCSB)
Isaiah’s last sentence is relevant today because the absolute truth of God’s Word has been scuttled in so many so-called “churches” and is exchanged for a seemingly more convenient message. When people abandon evil (repent from their sin) only to embrace a false gospel and benign operational theology, which rejects the absolute truth of the Bible, they are twice deceived!!
Isaiah continues: “The Lord saw that there was no justice, and He was offended. He saw that there was no man – He was amazed that there was no one interceding, so His own arm brought salvation, and His own righteousness supported Him. He put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation in His head; He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and He wrapped Himself in zeal as in a cloak.” Isaiah 59:15b-17 (HCSB)
In Jesus, we are called to be those men and women who conduct spiritual battle, interceding and evangelizing, standing in the gap, and connecting people to the truth of the Gospel. And our only weapon for which to wage the offensive is the very thing the world (and many in the church-at-large) has rejected: The sword of God’s Word!
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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