Ephesians tells us of the plan of God from eternity past to create a new humanity through the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ, and to unite the church and the whole creation under the headship of Christ. Out of Jews and Gentiles, all mankind, he is forming one new man. Everyone stands on equal footing; heirs of the same promise, recipients of the same gift of faith.
All Christians therefore are to walk worthy of the calling that they have received, to be the new humanity, to build and participate in this radical new society, the new mankind – the church (the Kingdom of God).
We are to maintain the unity of the Spirit on the bond of peace; we are to use our gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ. We must not live as the unconverted world but rather in true righteousness and holiness. We must submit to one another out of reverence for Christ; in the home and in the workplace.
And if we are to be the new humanity, there will be opposition.
The section on spiritual warfare is the fitting conclusion to the whole of Ephesians. We are to prepare for war with the forces of darkness if we are to be the distinct people of God. To be boldly, distinctly, proudly Christian in this fallen world, we will have to fight, and to be strong in the Lord. We must put on the whole armor of God in order to stand against temptation from the world.
We must put on the belt of truth. We must know the truth and embrace the truth. The truth must be like garlic, once you eat it, it comes out of every pore in your body. We must be mastered by this revealed truth.
We must put on the breastplate of righteousness. The perfect righteousness of Christ protects your vital spiritual organs - your will, emotions, and your heart. You must trust the armor that God is, and that God has given, that it can take the blows.
Be prepared with the gospel of peace. Draw out the sweetness of the gospel; revel in its implications every time you put your shoes on. Jesus came to give his people peace, walk in the peace that passes all understanding and you will be prepared for Spiritual warfare.
We must take up the shield of faith in all circumstances. The shield of faith is not superior to all the other armor, but must be used in addition to the other pieces. This highlights our responsibility in spiritual warfare again. We must fight, but we do not fight alone. We have God, and His armor, true, but we also have our fellow Christian soldiers. We need deepening Christian friendships to gain the victory.
God is our shield. (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 33:20; Proverbs 30:5) Faith in God is our shield. Is this faith objective, the faith once for all delivered to the saints, or, is it subjective faith, meaning our actively standing on that truth? Yes.
What is faith? Faith is trusting God, leaning your full weight on his Word, his covenant his promise. Faith is taking God at his Word and acting on it. Faith is the open, empty, outstretched hand that receives what God freely gives. Faith lays hold on God Himself. Faith is a means of acquiring God’s strength. (Ephesians 1:18-19; 3:12, 16-17)
What are the flaming arrows? It is Satan putting thoughts in your head, doubts, and fears. It is Satan alluring you with temptation. It is any attack against the people of God – doubt, despair, persecution, false teaching.
Notice the promise of the text. You will be able to extinguish ALL the flaming arrows of the evil one. Temptation can be resisted. Victory can be achieved. That is news to some people. You don’t have to sin that sin anymore. Lay hold of God’s promised strength by faith and you will be able to stand. “This is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” (1 John 5:4)