In Paul’s closing chapter, he gives specific instructions on how Christians should relate to each other at home. Love and respect are characteristics that apply here as well as to believers within the Christian community. Whether at home or in public, our relationship with others should mirror our devotion to the Lord. God has no favorites and judges all by the same standard.
Paul’s closing words are a reminder that we need God’s armor to protect us from the devil’s opposition, to protect us and help us stand firm against all of Satan’s strategies. Our real enemies are not human, but come from the unseen world of spiritual evil, over which Christ has authority. God’s armor allows us to resist the attacks of the devil in the time of evil — which I believe is now upon us — and to help us stand firm behind the shield of our faith.
Held captive in a Roman prison, Paul quite naturally uses the actual armor worn by his guards to illustrate his point. Most of what Paul lists are meant for defense rather than attack! His focus is actually not on the actual function of each piece he describes but on God’s gifts to all believers. Being securely grounded in Christ and Scripture gives us the ability to protect ourselves and stand our ground in times of change. When he urges us to “pray in the Spirit", he’s talking about prayer that arises from the Spirit of God that lies within each believer, prayer that becomes a lifestyle in order to ward off the presence of evil invisible spiritual forces.
Paul closes his Epistle to the Ephesians with a personal note and a benediction that repeats the desires he expressed at the beginning of his letter. One of the finest expressions of Christian life in the whole New Testament, although written from prison, Epsesians is filled with joy, praise, and thanksgiving, a fitting reminder of God’s amazing grace poured out for Gentiles as well as the Jews.
Food for Thought:
How can we stand against the devil’s strategies?
Against what do we fight in the dark and troubled world?
Paul was chained to a Roman soldier each night in prison, so, the image of armor was very real to him. What benefit is there to take up the whole armor of God?
What is this armor? How does it work?
What does Paul stress about prayer?