Many Christians begin their life in Jesus Christ somewhat ignorant of the idea of spiritual battle. They find it easy to ignore what the Bible teaches – that is, that there are spiritual beings of intelligence and power that seek to defeat and hinder God’s people. Through a combination of experience and instruction, they learn the truth of this spiritual battle, and the most common passage in the Bible regarding the spiritual conflict begins at Ephesians 6:10.
It’s a rich passage, teaching us about spiritual strength, the nature of the battle, and the armor and weapons available to the believer in the conflict. What the Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual warfare has fascinated Christians for a long time, probably because it touches the life experience of almost every follower of Jesus.
One pastor captivated by the themes of this Ephesians 6 passage was named William Gurnall. Starting in 1655, he published his book, The Christian in Complete Armour, an explanation of Ephesians 6:10-20. In his dedication, he described his book as a “mite” and a “little present,” but it contained three volumes, 261 chapters and 1,472 pages – all on those 11 verses.
This is how Gurnall subtitled his book:
“The Saint’s War Against the Devil, wherein a discovery is made of that grand enemy of God and his people, in his policies, power, seat of his empire, wickedness and chief design he hath against the saints; a magazine opened, from whence the Christian is furnished with spiritual arms for the battle, helped on with his armour, and taught the use of his weapon; together with the happy issue of the whole war.”
There is a lot to think about in the Ephesians passage, and Gurnall thought it was worth 1,472 pages. Yet I think the most important word in the famous Ephesians 6:10-20 is the first word of that passage: “finally.”
Look at the verse: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).
The word, “finally,” obviously means that this comes at the end of the letter to the church in Ephesus – a letter in which Paul carefully established our place in Jesus, and then the basics of the Christian walk. The spiritual warfare passage is Paul’s last section dealing with the Christian walk.
We can say it this way: The foundations for success in spiritual warfare (and our entire Christian walk) are the truths and principles found in the previous sections of Ephesians. Everything about our spiritual battle comes, finally, in light of all those things described earlier in Ephesians:
. In light of all that God has done for you.
. In light of the glorious standing you have as a child of God.
. In light of His great plan of the ages that God has made you part of.
. In light of the plan for Christian maturity and growth He gives to you.
. In light of the conduct God calls every believer to live.
. In light of the filling of the Spirit and our walk in the Spirit.
. In light of all this – finally – there is a battle to fight in the Christian life.
Before you launch out into spiritual battle, give attention to the basics, the foundations of Christian living – who Jesus is and what He did for you. Build on those foundations explained from Ephesians 1:1 to 6:9, then we come to the important subject of spiritual battle – but not before.