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Particulars of Christianity:
311 Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare Part 2c
The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer

Spiritual Warfare Part 1a: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 1b: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 2a: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2b: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2c: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2d: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare P. 3a: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3b: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3c: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare Study Conclusions
Spiritual Warfare Additional Quotes and Definitions

The Belt of Truth

The instruction to gird our loins with the truth is not telling us to put on some metaphysical belt as we pray, but instead, is a reference to be watchful and sober regarding the Lord's coming. That this is the case is shown by Ephesian 6:13's reference to the evil day as well as to Luke 12 and 1 Peter 1, which we looked at earlier.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up (328) the loins (3751) of your mind (1271), be sober (3525), and hope (1679) to the end (5049) for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation (602) of Jesus Christ;

Luke 12:35 Let your loins (3751) be girded about (4024), and your lights burning; 36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. 38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. 40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

Indeed this instruction is paralleled way back in the book of Exodus, where the Lord gives instruction for Moses' to give to the people so that they would be prepared to leave Egypt for the Promised Land, which in many ways parallels the future experience as the living church prepares to enter the millennial kingdom of Christ.

Exodus 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD's passover.

Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace

Exodus 12:11 not only mentions the loins being girded, but also speaks of having our shoes on our feet. No doubt Paul, and Peter, and the New Testament church were well aware of this passage as they gave these instructions regarding the armor of God.

Ephesians 6:15 instructs us that our feet should be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This does not mean that we should put on some spiritual prayer shoes. For how do you put on the preparation of the gospel of peace as shoes? What this verse is saying is a reference to Jesus' instructions as he sent out his disciples to declare the gospel to Israel.

Mark 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod (5265) with sandals; and not put on two coats…12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

From this reference (along with Exodus) we see that Paul is merely instructing the Ephesian church to prepared to go out and preach the gospel and prepared for the coming of the kingdom of God.

The Shield of Faith

Ephesians 6:15…above all taking the shield (2375) of faith (4102), wherewith ye shall be able to quench (4570) the fiery (4448) darts of the wicked (4190).

The shield of faith is meant as an admonition to remain steadfast and strong in the faith through the adversity of this world and the trials brought on by the enemy. Hebrews 11:34, in speaking of those who acted in faith in times past uses nearly the same phrase that appears here in Ephesians 6.

Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched (4570) the violence of fire (4442), escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

Here in the context of fighting and armies, Paul mentions those who in faith quenched the violence of fire. This no doubt is a reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (in Daniel 3). Yet though these men quenched the fire with their faith, just as we are to quench the fiery darts of the wicked with the shield of faith, Hebrews 11:13 tells us that all of these they "died in faith, not having received the promises." Likewise, the attacks of the devil are portrayed as darts or arrows in places such as Psalms 7:13, Ezekiel 39:9, and in reference to the Antichrist who will come before the day of the Lord in Revelation 6:2, where we see he is given a bow. And in Matthew 10:22, 13:21, 1 Timothy 4:1, and Revelation 13:10 we learn that we must remain in the faith unto the end in order to be saved, despite the persecution or cares of this world.

From all of these passages we must understand that the shield of faith is meant as an exhortation to remain confident or in faith that the kingdom of God will come and that we will receive our promised inheritance in it even as we continue through persecution from the enemy and though it may cost some of us our lives. If we do not depart from this belief we will attain salvation.

The Helmet of (the Hope of) Salvation

Ephesians 6:15…And take the helmet (403) of salvation (4992),

1 Thessalonians 5:8…and for an helmet (4030), the hope (1680) of salvation (4991).

Throughout the New Testament we see how important the hope of salvation is to the church. And we also see this hope emphasized in the context of tribulation while we are yet in the world and that this hope comes from the scripture.

Romans 8:24 For we are saved (4982) by hope (1680): but hope (1680) that is seen is not hope (1680): for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope (1680); patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (1680).

So the helmet of the hope of salvation is a reminder to maintain the hope of our salvation in the midst of the troubles of this life and the coming final tribulation.

The Sword of the Spirit

Ephesians 6:15…and the sword (3162) of the Spirit, which is the word (4487) of God.

The sword of the Spirit, the last piece of the armor of God is in itself a clear statement about the nature of the armor of God. In the case of the sword, we are told directly that it is the Word of God. This confirms for us two things.

First, since the sword of the Spirit is not some spiritual battle gear this means that the other items of our armor are also, like the sword, not meant to be taken as real pieces of armor. Second, the importance of the Word of God is again stressed to us as a part of spiritual warfare. We see this importance of the Word of God presented in Hebrews 4 and 2 Timothy 2 as well.

Hebrews 4:12 The word (3056) of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword (3162), piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts (1761) and intents (1771) of the heart (2588).

2 Timothy 2:15 Study (4704) to shew (3936) thyself approved (1384) unto God, a workman (2040) that needeth not to be ashamed (422), rightly dividing (3718) the word (3056) of truth (225)

Hebrews 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

2 Corinthians 6:7 By the word (3056) of truth, by the power of God, by the armor (3696) of righteousness (1343) on the right hand and on the left

Just as we saw in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, we again see that the battle is a mental one, one of truth and correct thinking. One in which studying and learning the Word of God is the main means by which we renew our mind from its carnal, sinful state into one that is subject to Christ.

The Breastplate of Righteousness, (Faith, and Love)

We have already spoken earlier about the breastplate, which is mentioned alternately as being of righteousness and of faith and love. From the other evidence we have covered looking at this piece of armor and the other pieces of armor it is obvious that the breastplate is simply a metaphor underscoring the importance of integrity, upright living, faith, and love in the walk of the believer and in our struggle to not fall victim to the enemy's attempts to destroy us and lead us astray from Christ.

Final Thoughts on Spiritual Warfare

We have already covered much ground on the subject of the spiritual warfare of the believer, so now we will conclude with a few remaining areas of importance: 1) how we engage in this battle, 2) Biblical examples of spiritual warfare, 3) warnings to the church, and 4) binding and loosing and casting out demons.

How do we engage in spiritual warfare?

1. We renew our minds by studying God's Word and discarding any thought, doctrine, philosophy, or behavior that is inconsistent with God's Word. (John 14:21-24, Romans 12:2, 13:12, 2 Corinthians 6:6-7, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Ephesians 4:13-14, 5:11, 6:14-15, Colossians 3:10, Philippians 4:8, 2 Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 4:12, 5:12-14.)

2. We contend for the faith, for sound doctrine, and truth, by refuting, reproving, and rebuking those who oppose it. (2 Thessalonians 2:15, 1 Timothy 1:3, 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 2:25, 4:1-2, Titus 1:9, 2:1, 15, Jude 1:3).

3. We also need to pray, forgive one another as Christ forgave us, walk in righteousness, love, and patience, etc. (Ephesians 6:12-16, 1 Thessalonians 5:8)

(*For more on the importance of learning the Word please see our Church Ethic section, especially the articles entitled "Introduction" and "Church Ethic Scripture References.")

Examples of Spiritual Warfare in the Bible

To give us an example of how spiritual warfare worked in the New Testament, here are a few examples that fulfill the protocols that we have developed in our study above.

1. Paul - Acts 9:22 But Paul increased the more in strength, and confounded (4797) the Jews, which dwelt at Damascus, proving (4822) that this is very Christ

2. Apollos - Acts 18:28 For he mightily convinced (1246) the Jews, [and that] publicly, shewing (1925) by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ

3. Stephen - Acts 6:10 And they were not able to resist (436) the wisdom (4678) and the spirit (4151) by which he spake (2980)

4. The Bereans - Acts 17:11 These were more noble (2104) than those in Thessalonica in that they received (1209) the word (3056) with all readiness of mind (4288) and searched (350) the scriptures daily whether those things were so

Warnings to the Church

Earlier in this section of our study we noted that as Christians we start out with a carnal mind, as babies in Christ, until through practice and study of the word we mature in Christ, learning to handle the scripture correctly, to distinguish good from evil, and to discern sound doctrine from heresy. We discovered that this is a process that all believers must continue to diligently engage in throughout their lives. However, we are also warned that the time will come as we near the end that some in the church will fail to commit to this process. They will fail to renew their mind in the Word. They will fail to become mature in Christ. They will fail to hold to sound doctrine, and instead, they will be carried away by the strategy of the enemy. The three passages below demonstrate that this will be the case.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves.

In light of these passages, we must seek to be more diligent in our pursuit of the truth of God as we see grow closer and closer to the return of Jesus Christ. We must not fail to learn and study the scriptures and we must not overlook the importance of discerning sound doctrine from heresy so that we do not join with those who will be deceived.