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Part Twelve

The Believer’s Armor and the Spiritual Battle

Ephesians 6:10-20 (V. 17, “The Sword of the Spirit”)

Ephesians 6:17. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

In order for us to stand in this spiritual battle, we are told to take several pieces of armor which cover various parts of our body. The Sword of the Spirit is unique, in that it is an item that we think of as being a weapon more than being armor. It is the only offensive item mentioned in our list so far. In warfare, sometimes the best defense is a good offense.

The recipients of this letter were familiar with the armor of the Roman soldier. The sword that is mentioned here is not referring to the large unwieldy sword that was sometimes used in battle. This verse is referring to a practical tool about 18 inches long which was carried by every soldier. It was not just a weapon of the soldier but was apparently a common tool of the population (Matt. 26:51; Luke 22:36). It was kept on the belt and was a functional device to be kept accessible for ready use (Cp. Ps. 1:1-4; 119:11).

Why the allegory of the word of God being the sword of the Spirit? Perhaps because God inspired the transmission of His word through His Holy Spirit (II Pet. 1:20,21).

God places a high value upon His word, and makes some formidable claims concerning His Scriptures (Psalm 138:2). The following are four areas of which we will consider.

God’s Word is Precise

God’s Word is Permanent

God’s Word is Powerful

God’s Word is Profitable

God’s Word is Precise.

God says what He means and means what He says. “...Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). We can trust God for exactly what He says. He does not fudge when pinned down to what He says. He never has to retract a statement because it was not true or made rashly.

Isaiah 48:3-5 gives us one reason for prophetic statements that God has made. We are so obstinate that God has told us ahead of time what is going to happen. When it comes to pass as He says, we can be convinced that He is the True God.

In all the hundreds of prophetic declarations of God, He gives precise details that can accurately pinpoint the fulfillment. He is not vague and ambiguous as are some of our modern-day fortune-tellers.

God’s Word is Permanent.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law until all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18).

For an explanation of a “jot” and “tittle,” look in Psalm 119. In most Bibles the Hebrew letters of the alphabet letters preface each section of eight verses. This is because this Psalm was written in acrostic form. That is, the first eight verses began with the first letter of the alphabet, the second eight verses began with the second letter, and so on.

Verse 73 begins with the letter “Jod.” This is a “jot” and is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. Verse 25 and verse 153 shows us a “Daleth” and a “Resh.” Please note that these letters appear identical except for the slight difference of the stroke at the top corner. This differentiating factor or small stroke is called a “tittle.”

God is trying to tell us that His Word is everlasting and not even the smallest detail will ever fail. We can count on it. “For ever, O LORD, they word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

God’s Word is Powerful

For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, an is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12)

What if we are sharing the Gospel with someone and they tell us that they do not believe the Bible? Do we then throw away our sword? No! It is still a sword and it is still powerful whether or not someone believes that it is. Truth is objective and is not determined by whether or not someone believes it. In Matthew. 4:1-11, Jesus effectively used the Word against the attacks of His adversary. We should do the same. We cannot effectively do that unless we diligently study it (II Tim 2:15). It is powerful. Let us make use its power for God’s glory.

We also see here that God’s Word is penetrating. We are to present God’s truth but it is God’s Holy Spirit who will convict the person. It is penetrating also in that it has the answers for life’s deepest problems. The promises in God’s Word are a great comfort while we are working through some of our trials.

God’s Word is Profitable

All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16-17)

The middle part of this verse makes a claim, the first part gives basis for the claim, and the last part gives the intended result of the claim.

The claim is that the Scripture is profitable for doctrine (teaching, instructing in God’s truth), for reproof (rebuking those in sin), correcting (those in error), and instruction (Lit. child-training) in righteousness (guiding new believers in God’s ways).

The basis for the claim is simply that Scripture is given by inspiration of God  (lit. God-breathed). If God said it, that is all the basis we need.

The intended result is that the man of God be perfect (not sinless, but complete), throughly furnished (completely furnished or fitted out) unto all good works.

I infer from this verse that I cannot be completely equipped for good works (necessary to glorify God, Matt. 5:16) without knowing God’s Word. According to Ephesians 6:17, I must take the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” in order to be victorious in the spiritual battle. Let us diligently study His Word so that we may effectively stand.

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