Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 6:17b and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I want to start again with the several verses that introduce this idea Paul is putting forth. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13. He is telling us to put on the full armor of God for the following reason, that we can stand firmly against the powers of the enemy, namely the sly schemes of the devil.
The phrase “sword of the Spirit” is found only once in Scripture, here in our focus verse. The sword is one of the pieces of spiritual armor Paul tells the Ephesian Christians to put on as part of the full armor of God that will enable us to stand our ground against evil. The sword is both an offensive and defensive weapon used by soldiers or warriors. In our case here, it is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Swords were used to protect oneself from harm or to attack the enemy to overcome or kill him. In both cases it was necessary for a soldier to get rigid training on the proper use of the sword to get maximum protection. All Christian soldiers need the same rigid training to know how to properly handle the Sword of the Spirit, the sword that Paul refers to here as the Holy Scriptures.
This sword is useful for every good work we do. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The scriptures are from God written through men. And as stated above, it is both defensive and offensive. Since every Christian is in a spiritual battle with the satanic and evil forces of this world, we need to know how to handle the Word properly. Only then will it be an effective defense against evil, but we will also be on the offensive to demolish strongholds of error and falsehood. And this is very much needed for there is an abundance of false teachings going around, and we need to, first know what is error as opposed to truth, and secondly we need to know where in scripture this is laid out. And we must be bold in pronouncing all falsehoods and wrong teachings, providing for them the truth that is found in the word of God.
We see this analogy also in the book of Hebrews. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. Here the Word is described as living and active and sharper than a double-edged sword. The Roman sword was commonly made in this manner. The fact that it had two edges made it easier to penetrate, as well as to cut in every way. The idea is that of piercing, or penetrating; the Word of God reaches the “heart,” the very center of action, and lays open the motives and feelings of those it touches.
It is because of this that it is important for us to study His Word and plant it deep within our hearts. “Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” 1 Peter 3:13-15. Note the words “always being ready to make a defense.” This is important for we are those called to bring the gospel to all. And how can we do this if we do not know His word.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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