Now he says, "Finally..." This word in Greek means, "what is remaining, the rest of it." So, after five and a half chapters of Ephesians, Paul is saying, "This is the last of it, this is what's left to say to you..." The funny thing is that in classic Paul fashion, even this last point is so packed full of information that it'll take us several weeks just to study what he has to say in this closing instruction.
Paul's exhortation is to be strong in the Lord so that we have the strength to stand against the devil's attacks. That strength is both in the Lord and from the Lord. It is the way we can experience what Paul knew when he said to the Philippians,
Phil. 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
That strength is available to all believers, and it is gotten by putting on the full armor of God.
Now, the full armor of God is not physical armor that you strap onto your body. But it is actually more effective for your personal protection than any amount of iron or Kevlar could ever be. Because protective armor is made for the attack. For example, a baseball player's helmet is designed to cover the ear that is exposed to the pitcher's fast ball. A police officer's bulletproof vest is made to prevent fatal wounds inflicted by a gunshot to the chest. Jousting knights' armor was designed to protect and deflect as their opponents charged at them with lances.
Armor addresses the method of attack. And the full armor of God has been designed to protect us from the attacks of our enemy, the devil.
Our real enemies are not human beings. They are spiritual beings. They are the devil and his demonic forces. Some people have a problem with this concept, saying, "How can you believe in that stuff? I don't believe what I can't see."
But the fact is, we cannot hear radio waves, but they are all around us. We cannot see ultra-violet light, yet it surrounds us. And we cannot see the spiritual realm, but the Bible gives much attention to making sure we understand that there are battles which we cannot see going on behind the scenes.
There was a time when war had broken out again between the nation of Aram and Israel. But since the Lord was on Israel's side, He kept telling Elisha all the secret plans that the king of Aram was making. The king believed that there was a traitor in their midst, feeding information to the Israelis. But when his people insisted that it was Elisha the prophet, the king decided to capture him. One night, he sent the Aramean army to surround the city of DO-thawn, where Elish was.
2Kgs. 6:15-17 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
The fact is, there are spiritual beings that exist all around us, but simply outside of our sight and hearing. And many of those beings are evil, devoted to fulfilling the devil's desire for our lives, which is...
John 10:10 "...only to steal and kill and destroy"
The way the devil guides them is important to know and understand.
2Cor. 2:11 in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes.
We must not be ignorant of how he operates, or he will take advantage of us, because the Bible says he is very crafty (Gen. 3:1).
Fortunately, he really only has a few schemes.
If you read Genesis 3, you find out that he tries to make you question what God's Word (Gen. 3:1) says. He tries to get you to believe that God's Word isn't true (Gen. 3:4). He tries to make you think that you can be the Lord and Master of your life (Gen. 3:5).
He also tries to make you do things motivated by pride. He whispered in King David's ear, "Wow... look how big your kingdom has gotten! I wonder how many people you are the king of?"
1Chr. 21:1 ...satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.
The devil will also afflict you to get you to curse God. In the book of Job, he destroyed all of Job's possessions, and had his sons and daughters killed. Then he afflicted his physically, telling God,
Job 1:11 "...Touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face."
Finally, the devil is the accuser of the brethren (Rev. 12, Zech. 3). He will pointing out your sins and your flaws, trying to make you defeated, weak, and helpless.
All of these schemes that the devil has devised and these plans which he follows are very effective, and deadly dangerous. But now that we're not ignorant of them, we simply need to mount an effective defense so we can stand firm against them. That defense has already been devised for us. It is the full armor of God. When we resume our study of Ephesians after the Christmas holiday, we will spend six weeks examining this armor in great detail: The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the boots of the Gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.
But this is my exhortation to you: as we go through basic equipment training, make this armor yours. It is not enough to know about it. You must have it on. When young David volunteered to kill the giant Goliath, King Saul wanted to make sure that David was equipped well.
1Sam. 17:38-39 Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested [them]. So David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested [them]."...
Wearing Saul's armor wasn't going to work for David, because it was not familiar and tested. He wasn't used to it. Don't wait to get into a spiritual wrestling match before you realize that you need armor. Remember the husband and wife who were standing outside of the football game. The husband said, "Bummer! I wish I'd brought the piano with us." His wife replied, "The piano? Why on earth would you want to bring our piano to a football game?" The husband said, "Because I left the tickets on it!"
Put on the full armor of God, and you will be equipped to stand firm against the attacks of our enemy.