Category Archives: EPHESIANS 6

Instruction for children, fathers, servants and masters, and then encouragement to fight the good fight of faith.

EPHESIANS 6

SURVEY OF THE CHAPTER The apostle continues dealing with the adjustment of relationships that he began in 5:22 when he wrote of the marriage relationship. In verses 1-4 of this chapter he turns to family relationships between parents and children. Then in verses 5-9 he deals with work relationships between servants and masters. The next section, verses 10-20, has to do with the Christian’s warfare, and the remainder of the chapter consists of personal matters between the apostle and fellow-believers.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 6, VERSES 1 TO 4:

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

We could set these things out as follows:

(a) Verses 1-8 Relationship of children to parents.
(b) Verses 5-9 Relationship of servants to masters
(c) Verses 10-20 Relationship of believers to the powers of evil.
(d) Verses 21,22 Relationship of the apostle to fellow-believers.

(a) Verses 1-4 Relationship of children to parents.

6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.

Children- we noticed that the two and a half tribes that wished to remain the wilderness side of Jordan, and not enter the land, made as their excuse their wives, their children and their cattle. They allowed these things to hinder them in the enjoyment of the inheritance. The apostle is concerned lest believers allow domestic and employment matters to hinder them in their enjoyment of the spiritual inheritance he has described in chapter 1. That inheritance consisted of spiritual blessings in heavenly places. Since this epistle is addressed to the believers in Ephesus, this exhortation is directed towards believing children, those up to the time when they get married. In modern times children often leave home before marriage, for various reasons. Such should remember that they are still under the head-ship of their father.
Obey your parents in the Lord- the recognition of the lordship of Christ does not absolve a believing child from recognition of the headship of his father. Nor does recognition of the headship of the father over-ride the recognition of the lordship of Christ. Hopefully a believing father will not ask his child to act contrary to Scripture, but if he should do so, then the child is placed in a very difficult position, and should seek grace to act in a spiritual way, in all good conscience. The situation with regard to a believing child and an unbelieving parent is even more difficult, but the child should obey as far as the word of God allows, and no further, and humbly accept the consequences. Obedience is conditioned by the lordship of Christ, and every command from a father is to be assessed in the light of His over-riding authority. It is said of the Lord Jesus in His childhood that “He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them”, Luke 2:51. It is significant that this is told us by Luke after he has recounted the incident in the temple when the Lord Jesus said to Mary and Joseph, “wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business, verse 49. Luke is assuring us that this statement is not an example of childhood rebellion, but an example of the way the Lord kept a perfect balance between the interests of His Father and the subjection to His parents that the law enjoined. Disobedience to parents is one of the features of the last days, 1 Timothy 3:2, and is no doubt a preparation for the coming of the antichrist, who shall “do according to his will”, Daniel 11:36. So the choice for Christian children is stark; obey parents as Christ did, or be like the antichrist.
For this is right- that is, is a righteous thing to do. The apostle will support this from the commandments of the law in the next verse. The believer is to fulfil the righteousness of the law, even though that law is not set before him as his code of conduct. Christ is the example for His people, not the tables of stone. The apostle Peter used the word for “example” which means the full alphabet written down so that it may be copied, 1 Peter 2:21. Christ is the alpha and omega of all God’s purpose, and has left us His example in life to follow. So we follow the writing of His life, not the writing of the law. Indwelt by the Spirit of God, the believing child is able to follow the example of Christ, and as a result, also fulfil the righteous requirement of the law.

6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

Honour thy father and mother- this is the fifth commandment of the ten. Now in Romans 13:8-10 the apostle listed those commands which had to do with one’s neighbour, and he began with the sixth commandment. So we may conclude that this implied that the fifth commandment was Godward rather than manward. God has vested authority in certain persons. The authority to rule in kings, Romans 13:1; the authority to judge, in magistrates; the authority to bring up children, in parents. One of the reasons for the chaos in society is the lack of parental control. Absent fathers and incompetent mothers are the scourge of our day. To honour is more than to obey, for obedience may be rendered grudgingly. To honour means to intelligently assess the place God has given to the parent, and to respond accordingly to the glory of God. The parallel passage in Colossians 3:20 reads, “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is wellpleasing unto the Lord”. This surely is incentive enough to honour one’s parents. Which is the first commandment with promise- God gives incentives to His people, so this gives to parents the right to give incentives to their children, rewarding them for good behaviour. Verse 4 will tell us of the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to give rewards is one of the ways He nurtures.

6:3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth- the apostle now reminds us what that promise was, showing that he is not embarrassed to mention it because it is in the law of Moses, and also showing the timeless importance of the principle behind the promise. He is also writing to Gentiles, who might not be too familiar with the Old Testament. The exact words of Exodus 20:12 are, “Honour thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. The apostle is clearly adapting the words to suit his purpose, without destroying their meaning. After all, he is writing by the inspiration of the Spirit of God; the same Spirit by which the Old Testament was written. “That it may be well with thee” is implied in the expression “upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. To an Israelite, to be installed in the land of promise meant that it was well with him. He also alters “the land the Lord thy God giveth thee” to “the earth”, as being more suited to the context. Believers are not promised the land of Canaan. The promise to Israel was that if they kept the law they would keep the land, whereas in our case it is the prospect of living long on the earth whilst we wait for the Lord to come. This is not to be taken literally, for the Lord Jesus kept the law perfectly, yet died at the age of thirty-three. We should remember that He called the three and a half years of His public ministry “so long time”, John 14:9. There is an intensity about eternal life which makes time irrelevant. Eternal life is the life of the Eternal One, to whom a day is as a thousand years as to its potential, and a thousand years as one day as to the insignificance of time, see Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8. There is a lesson here for all believers. We should redeem the time, using its hours to the best advantage, so as to glorify God. It is possible to have a relatively short Christian life, yet to fill it with God-honouring things. Such a life is in reality a long one. The opposite is also true.

6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

And, ye fathers- so there is a responsibility in this for fathers, too. The idea of the family, and the patriarchal system, is sourced in God, “of whom the whole family in heaven and in earth is named”, Ephesians 3:15. The Textus Receptus reads “every family”. So the idea of the father of a family originates with God, hence the mention only of the fathers here, even though Paul has just quoted the commandment about honouring father and mother. The primary responsibility for the spiritual good of the family is vested in the father. The mother “guides the house”, 1 Timothy 5:14, under his general supervision and authority.
Provoke not your children to wrath- the parallel passage, Colossians 3:19, gives the reason, “lest they be discouraged”. The father should give encouragements, just as God promised long life to those who obeyed Him. By the same token, they should not give discouragements, being harshly critical and judgemental. This will result in a strong reaction, summed up here as wrath. Fathers should make it clear that if they have to administer discipline it is for the child’s good, Hebrews 12:9. But bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord- to nurture is to provide the right conditions for obedience. Admonition is the provision of reasons for so acting. The Lord unfailingly provides the right conditions for His people to grow in the family. See 1 John 2:12-27 for this. And He graciously gives reasons in His word as to why we should act as He commands. So also the fathers; they should so order the family’s affairs that the best spiritual interests of the children are served. And they should supply reasons why they act as in this way. Not only so, the fathers are to deal with their family in the same way the Lord has dealt with them. The nurture and admonition which the Lord gave to them, they are to give to their children. This will not guarantee that the children will become believers, but at least the father’s conscience can be clear that it was not his fault that they disobeyed the gospel. After all, did not God Himself say, “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me”, Isaiah 1:2? so the father should not constantly be blaming himself if his children do not believe. Who can tell if they will believe after he is gone to heaven? The proverb says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it”, Proverbs 22:6.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 6, VERSES 5 TO 9:

6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;
6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

(b) Verses 5-9  Relationship of servants to masters.

6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

Servants- the third category of relationships is now brought before us. It is worth remembering that the Lord Jesus was the “carpenter’s son”, Matthew 13:55. Does this imply He served His earthly father at first? And could it not be that He Himself, once Joseph had died, was also a master of others, for Mark tells us that men described Him as the carpenter, not just a carpenter, Mark6:3. In other words, the main carpenter in the village. The word used for servant here is slave, or bondman. Now we should not think that this necessarily means they were all doing unpleasant and menial tasks. Many slaves were doctors or lawyers in the household of a rich Roman or Greek. We know from Galatians 4:2 that some were charged with the responsibility of looking after the interests of the small children in the family. The point is, however, that they belonged to their master, and had no rights of their own. The apostles had no remit to fight for social causes, such as the abolition of slavery. It is far better to regulate the behaviour of Christian slaves, so that their masters may see the virtue of faith in Christ, and so become believers themselves. A significant body of believing slaves amongst society would be a powerful testimony to the gospel. This is not to say that the abolition of slavery was not a good thing, for the cruelty and hardship inflicted on many slaves was a disgrace. Perhaps the reason why the Authorised Version translates as servant is found in verse6, where the apostle widens out his instruction about service to include free persons. Those who were simply in the employ of a master are to heed these admonitions, as well as those bought as slaves.
Be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh- so the believing slave is to obey his unbelieving master. In so doing he shows the superior power of the gospel, for the natural inclination of the unbeliever is to resent authority and to rebel against it to varying degrees.
With fear and trembling- this may be taken in two senses. If a believer had a cruel master who mis-treated him, he was not to resist that treatment, but accept it as being part of the trials of the Christian life, difficult as the suffering may be to bear. He will be fortified by such passages as 1 Peter 2:18-25, where the example of Christ under suffering is presented to ill-treated slaves. The other sense is that, over-riding the natural fear a slave may have for a cruel master is the godly fear that recognises the hand of God in all circumstances, and does not seek to resist it.
In singleness of your heart, as unto Christ- loyalty to an unbelieving master need not conflict with loyalty to Christ, but if it does, then the believing slave should be single-hearted, allowing love to Christ to over-ride loyalty to the master if he should demand that which is contrary to the truth of the gospel.

6:6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers- the slave is to serve faithfully and diligently whether the master is looking or not. As Hagar the slave girl said, “Thou God seeth me”, Genesis 16:13, and Christian slaves should always have that truth in mind. Paul is not discouraging the earnest attempt to please the master, but he is saying that pleasing the Lord is the first consideration. But as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart- the servant should look beyond the earthly master, and realise that everyday tasks are as much the service of Christ as are preaching or showing hospitality. We sometimes forget that the whole of the Christian life is service to Christ, and the doing of the will of God. This elevates honest toil to a very high level, and none should despise hard work, or begrudge the time involved in it, thinking that to serve Christ in more obvious ways is superior. So slave-tasks are the will of God, for Christianity sanctifies them so that they work out the His purpose.

6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

With good will doing service– the Christian slave is not to be resentful because of his lot in life. The reason for this is found in the next phrase.
As to the Lord, and not to men- not only were they serving Christ, seeking to follow His example of willing service of His Father, they were going about their duties in subjection to the authority of the Lord. This would make the authority of their master easier to bear. In fact, so over-riding is the lordship of Christ, that their work is not to the earthly master in the final analysis, but unto Him. As Paul wrote in Colossians 3:24, referring to servants, “ye serve the Lord Christ”.

6:8 Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth- God takes note of all that a believing servant does, and He never forgets. “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward His name, in that ye have ministered unto the saints, and do minister”, Hebrews6:10.
The same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free- everything done with the desire to glorify God will find its return in eternity. Even though a servant has been ill-treated by his master, the good things he did will still count towards his reward. The slave expected no wages in this life, but the Christian slave will be well recompensed in heaven. And this is the case whether the believer is a slave or a freeman in the employ of another. God values highly the patient and loyal service that His people render to earthly masters.

6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Him.

And, ye masters, do the same things unto them- the Christian master must heed the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets”, Matthew 7:12. So he must put himself in the shoes of the servant, and ask himself how he would like to be treated, and act accordingly. The parallel passage in Colossians 4:1 requires the master to “give that which is just and equal”, so righteousness and fairness should mark the Christian master. This would be a powerful testimony to society of the power of the gospel. When it was known that a Christian master’s servants served willingly and well, and were cared for, others would see Christianity in action. Not only would that attract men to the faith of the gospel, but it would also help to relieve the suffering of the slave population at large, as the advantages of kind treatment were seen.
Forbearing threatening- the master should provide conditions of employment so that his servants find it easy to serve him, and do not have to be threatened with punishment before they will work.
Knowing that your Master also is in heaven- the Christian master must remember that he is a slave too, and is responsible to his Master in heaven, who sees and knows all.
Neither is there respect of persons with Him- at the Judgement Seat of Christ there will be no advantage in being a master, and no disadvantage in being a slave. Social distinctions will be irrelevant then, and the great question will be whether a believer acted like Christ in the circumstance of life in which he found himself, whether master or servant. To be an employer might bring with it some advantage in this life, but not in heaven.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 6, VERSES 10 TO 20:

6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

(c) Verses 10-20  Relationship of believers to the powers of evil.

It might be helpful to consider briefly the various ways in which a believer is waging war, for the Christian life does consist of warfare. Not indeed against men, but against those things that oppose God. Paul exhorted Timothy to “Fight the good fight of faith”, 1 Timothy 6:12. We are to oppose unbelief, and uphold the truths of the Christian faith with vigour and determination, for it is a good fight, worthwhile and spiritually commendable. Again, the apostle exhorted Timothy, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier”, 2 Timothy 2:3,4. A good fight needs good soldiers. Just as soldiers on the battlefields of earth need to be fit, healthy and alert, so do Christian soldiers. And they also need to be free of distraction. So those who are entangled with worldly affairs, allowing them to take up too much of their time and energy, will make poor soldiers. The Romans had a contest in the Games, where a fully-armed gladiator fought with a man who only had a net. It seemed an unequal contest, but the net-man could easily entangle the soldier, and all his weapons were useless.

(a) We war against the flesh Peter exhorts us to “Flee youthful lusts, which war against the soul, 1 Peter 2:11. No sooner had Israel escaped Egypt’s cavalry, and had crossed the sea to safety, but they were confronted by Amalek, Exodus 17:8. Having been delivered from Egypt and its temptations, they might have thought themselves beyond temptation. But it was not so, for they murmured against Moses, thus showing the discontent in their hearts. No wonder they were attacked by their enemy Amalek, for they had showed themselves weak. So believers discover that being in isolation does not mean there is no temptation, for it can rise up from our old self, the flesh. Instead of allowing sin to reign in our mortal (and therefore susceptible-to-temptation) bodies, we should yield the members of our bodies to God, to be used as instruments or weapons of righteousness, see Romans6:12-14. Even though the flesh wars against our soul and its best spiritual interests, we should resist it actively and persistently. And the indwelling Spirit of God is the power whereby this may be done.

(b) We war against the wisdom of the world “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. The Corinthians believers had to make a decision about a man they had excluded from their company because of immorality. They must make that decision in a spiritual way, and not allow the thinking of the world to influence them. As is seen from the early chapters of the first epistle, the Corinthians believers needed to learn that the wisdom of the world is of no use in salvation; nor is it of any use in the decisions-making of the believer. He must actively pull down the strongholds of philosophy and worldly thinking, for they militate against knowing the will of God. Only when every thought is subject to Christ and His interests, will their obedience to the truth of God be fulfilled, or complete.

(c) We war against apostacy Jude exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints”, Jude 3. We should stand up for the truth at all times, and actively promote it in every legitimate way. We should also be prepared to stand against the setting forth of error. This supposes that we know the faith, or else we shall not know what we are contending for. The apostle Paul could say honestly at the end of his life that he had fought a good fight, had finished his course, and had kept the faith, 2 Timothy 4:7. Every believer should resolve to be able to say that too, by God’s help.

(d) We war against spirit-forces This brings us back to our passage. In chapters 1-3 the apostle had set out the range of blessings into which believers have been brought through grace. In the following chapters he has exhorted us to walk worthy of that calling into blessing, Ephesians 4:1. As he draws to the close of the epistle, however, he warns against the attempts of our enemy to deprive us of the enjoyment of blessings so freely and liberally granted to us. Satan cannot deprive us of the blessings themselves, but he can spoil our enjoyment of them, if we let him. To help us to resist these attacks of the enemy we need to be aware of who the enemy is, and then what weapons are available to us in our fight.

6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.

6:10 Finally, my brethren- this is a rallying cry to encourage the troops. The fact that Paul addresses his brethren shows that none are exempt from the fight. When two and a half of the tribes of Israel applied to Moses to remain the wilderness side of Jordan, he allowed them to do this but stipulated that they should cross over the Jordan with the rest of the tribes, and then return back. No doubt the hope was that when they saw the goodness of the land, and also the way in which God fought for His people, (for they did not war against Jericho in a conventional way, but levelled it to the ground with the shout of faith), they would change their mind. Alas, it was not so.
Be strong in the Lord- the enemy is too strong for us, but not for Him who is Lord. We should remember that we fight against a foe that has already been defeated in the main battle, at Calvary. We only engage in minor skirmishes.
And in the power of His might- Christ has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, Hebrews 2:14. He has shown He is superior, and spoiled principalities and powers, Colossians 2:15. He has ascended up on high through the domain of the enemy, the air, Ephesians 2:2; 4:8, with none of the powers of evil being able to hinder him, for their power is broken. Indeed, He leads captive those who in the past led men captive. God and His truth have triumphed; it only awaits the manifestation of that fact to the world; it is evident to faith already.

6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

6:11 Put on the whole armour of God- although the enemy has been defeated by Christ he is still allowed, in the wisdom of God, to walk about, “seeking whom he may devour”, 1 Peter 5:8. And although Christ has gained the victory, this does not mean there is nothing for us to do. The triumph of Christ secured the inheritance for us; we need to oppose the powers that seek to deprive us of the enjoyment of it. Everything we need in order to do this is provided by God. David despised Saul’s armour, and so should we. We dare not use the armour that ungodly men use in their fights, for it is of no avail in the conflict we are engaged in. Indeed, just as David would have found Saul’s heavy armour a hindrance, so shall we be hindered if we fight with carnal weapons. The armour is not put on us at conversion. We need to take it up in its entirety, (it is a panoply, a complete set of armour), and arm ourselves for the fight.
That ye may be able to stand- we have only to stand and not retreat. We are not taking territory but defending it.
Against the wiles of the devil- only armour from God can defend against the devil. Even Michael the archangel could not rebuke him, Jude 9, but we are promised that if we resist him, he will flee, James 4:7. The difference is that Michael fought before Calvary’s triumph, and we fight after it and in the good of it. In a day to come just an “ordinary” angel will be enough to bind Satan, Revelation 20:1,2, whereas Michael the archangel could not even rebuke Satan. He is a wily, cunning foe, with six thousand years of experience, but we triumph in the might of One who has overcome Him decisively.

6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood- whilst the Devil may use men to influence us, he is the moving force behind the scenes. We have no argument with men in themselves, nor do true Christians engage in physical warfare to achieve spiritual ends. Our fight is against the sinister forces of evil.
But against principalities- Satan deploys his best troops against believers, and those who have first rank in his evil hierarchy are marshalled against us. Against powers- they have their orders from their chief, and he gives them authority to act. Like the list of holy angels in 1:21, these titles might all be relevant to each evil angel.
Against the rulers of the darkness of this world- the first city to oppose Joshua’s onward march into Canaan was Jericho, a name which means “City of the moon”. The moon is the ruler of the night, Genesis 1:16, and Satan is the ruler of the moral and spiritual darkness that envelops this world, and has done so since the fall of man. The rebellion that Lucifer began in heaven has been extended to this world.
Against spiritual wickedness in high places- this is the same expression as is translated in 1:3 as “in heavenly places”, but that does not mean it is exactly the same location. Whilst we know from Revelation 12:10 that the Devil accuses before God day and night, (and the word translated “before” means “in the face of”), that does not make the very presence of God his headquarters. Hence the wisdom of the translators of the Authorised Version to say “high places”, to mark the distinction. The fact remains that Satan directs the operations of his evil hosts in a sphere remote from earth, but not in the very presence of God. This does emphasise, however, that his main aim is to prevent us enjoying the blessings that are vested in Christ at God’s right hand.

6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God- he has already urged us to put on the armour, now he encourages us to take it unto ourselves, recognising it is God’s provision for us. He repeats the call to arm ourselves, perhaps because he knows we might be reluctant to face the foe, as Saul was when Goliath challenged Israel, 1 Samuel 17:10,11. Also, if we do not take up this armour, we might be tempted to use carnal weaponry. That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day- we need to be active in our stand against the enemy. Far from retreating, we should repulse his attacks with vigour and courage. There is a sense in which every day in this world is evil, for the apostle says as much in Ephesians 5:16. However our personal evil day is a time when we feel the pressure to retreat to be the greatest. In such a day we need to stand firm.
And having done all, to stand- we do not have to advance, because Christ has taken us as far as we could possibly go. All we have to do is refuse to give way, and certainly not retreat. We are to do all that is expected of us, and for which we have been equipped and empowered. So we withstand during the fight, stand at the end of the fight, and in the next verse we are instructed to stand at the beginning, fully equipped. The word “wrestle” in verse 12 literally means “to pull to the ground with the hand upon the opponents neck”. And whilst this is more to do with hand-to-hand wrestling, the thought is of one who has been overcome so that he is no longer standing.

6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

The first piece of armour- truth. Protection for the loins.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth- the loins are the centre of gravity, the centre of balance, and the centre of the movement of our body. They represent our inner being. Truth must govern us to the very core of our being, so that our actions as we fight are not compromised.

The second piece of armour- breastplate of righteousness. Protection for the heart.
And having on the breastplate of righteousness- this is protection for our vital parts, the inwards and the heart. Our affections must be governed by righteousness, or else we war with the same weapon as the enemy. The Lord Jesus made a connection between lawlessness in the world, and the love of believers in a future day waxing cold, Matthew 24:12. It is said of the Lord Jesus that He loved righteousness, Hebrews 1:9, so He gave us the perfect demonstration of love and righteousness combined. To love lawlessness is to do what Satan does. We should keep our heart with all diligence, “for out of it are the issues of life”, Proverbs 4:23.

6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

The third piece of armour- the gospel of peace. Protection for the feet.
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace- the gospel gives confidence and surefootedness. As we “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God”, Colossians 4:12, we are fortified by what God has brought us into. The great difference between the peace God gives and the war the Devil instigates becomes very apparent, and this makes us resolve even more to resist his attacks. No doubt Sisera with his nine hundred chariots of iron thought himself to be invincible. But when the rains came, the Plain of Jezreel, (the ideal spot to fight a chariot war), became his downfall, as the river Kishon overflowed its banks, Judges 5:21,22.. The believer stands on the firm ground that the gospel has brought him into, and with feet well shod, he is immovable.

6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Fourth piece of armour- the shield of faith. Protection for the whole body. Above all, taking the shield of faith- Roman soldiers had a small shield that was easily manoeuvrable, and a large shield that was big enough to protect the whole body. It is the latter that is in view here. The Romans had a technique that they called the phalanx, in which a band of men would crouch down, and all put their shields above them, so that they were protected like a tortoise. This is how the believer is protected, as long as he does in fact take the shield of faith. David is a prime example of this, in his contest with Goliath. The Philistine came with his massive physique, heavy armour, and a man to bear a shield before him. David came unarmed, except with five stones and his shepherd’s sling, and most importantly, the confidence that “the battle is the Lord’s”, 1 Samuel 17:47. So it is that commenting on this and other like events in Israel’s history, the writer to the Hebrews says that it was by faith that the armies of the aliens were turned to flight, Hebrews 11:34. The Devil and his hosts are no match for those who confront him with the confidence that faith in God brings.
Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked- the apostle is assured that not one of the Devil’s darts can penetrate the shield of faith. One of the weapons used by the Roman army was just this sort of fiery dart. A dart would have rag tied to it, and then dipped into tar. The dart would be set alight, and then propelled into the enemy ranks. This was a fearful weapon, and the combination of fire and force would dismay the enemy. This is why we need to stand shielded by faith, for then no fiery dart of the enemy can harm us. Faith lays hold of the word of God, and is more than a match for the lies and errors of the Evil One, who is “a liar, and the father of it”, John 8:44.

6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The fifth piece of armour- the helmet of salvation. Protection for the head. And take the helmet of salvation- our minds need to be protected from the attacks of the enemy of truth. More often than not, when a government is overthrown by force, the first thing that the rebels take over is the television network. They know that to be successful they must influence the minds of the people, so that they accept the change of government. Satan, as Lucifer, was full of wisdom, Ezekiel 28:12, and now he has fallen he uses his wisdom to undermine the faith of the people of God. Our protection against this is to have a mind set on Divine things, concentrated and focussed on the word of God. This was the case with the Lord Jesus when He was tempted of the Devil. He did not say “Thus saith the Lord”, as the prophets did when they were announcing a new truth; nor did He say, “Verily, verily, I say unto you”, for that would mean we could not follow His example. He simply said, “It is written”. This shows that His mind was filled with the truth of the Word of God. So should ours be if we would know salvation from the attacks of the enemy.

The sixth piece of armour- the sword of the Spirit.
And the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God- our defence is a mind filled with the Word of God, as Christ’s was. We now come to the only weapon that is designed for attack. We are to resist the Devil, and he will flee from us, James 4:7. The Lord Jesus used the Word of God to such effect that the Devil left Him, Luke 4:13. So we should wield the sword of the Spirit, that is, the sword the Spirit of God has provided for us to use. It is the infallible means of routing the enemy. This is a weapon for the hand, and all believers should earnestly desire to be able to handle the Scriptures skilfully. The word of God in this context is a saying from the Scriptures that is appropriate for the situation. It is the Spirit who guides us to this particular scripture, so in effect the sword and the Spirit are united.

6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

The seventh piece of armour- prayer. Connection with our Commander. Praying always with all prayer- it is vital for an army to keep contact with its commander in chief, so that his directions may be closely followed. We are to pray always, that is, in every season, however the battle is going. Sometimes we fear defeat, then we need to use the weapon of prayer in dependence on God. Sometimes we feel we have won a victory. We should give thanks for that, but in those circumstance we need to watch and pray, for it is at such times that the enemy comes. We dare not be complacent. And supplication in the Spirit- not only should we pray in every situation, but should be in an attitude of felt need, and therefore make supplications that our need might be met. We need guidance, strength and perseverance, and the Spirit of God would prompt us and empower us to ask for these things.
And watching thereunto- the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples to “watch and pray”, for both are necessary. We need to watch out for dangers ahead, and also watch for the answers to our prayers, as Habakkuk did, who said, “I will watch to see what He will say unto me”, Habakkuk 2:1.
With all perseverance- the Lord said “men ought always to pray, and not to faint”, Luke 18:1. We need to maintain total, wholehearted continuance in prayer, that there may be uninterrupted communication with heaven. And supplication for all saints- it is important that the whole army move together. Other believers may be in grave difficulty, and we need to pray for them, so that the stand against the enemy may be a united and determined one.

6:19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

And for me- even an apostle felt the need to be prayed for. The possession of a gift does not mean that help is not needed. In fact, the greater the gift, the more the enemy will seek to attack. We should pray for those who are in the forefront of the defence of the truth, for they are especially liable to be picked out by the enemy.
That utterance may be given unto me- he does not ask that believers pray for his release from prison, for he could write from prison, “I have learned in whatever state I am, therewith to be content”, Philippians 4:11. He had written earlier in that epistle that his imprisonment had worked out for the furtherance of the gospel, for a succession of soldiers guarded him, day and night, and to each of these the gospel had been communicated, so that there were believers in Caesar’s household, Philippians 1:12,13; 4:22. That I make open my mouth boldly- if an apostle needed courage to speak boldly, so surely the rest of us do.  He needed to be bold despite the armour of the soldiers who guarded him, and also when he faced Nero at his trial.
To make known the mystery of the gospel- in Colossians the emphasis is on person of Christ, hence in the parallel passage he speaks of the mystery of Christ. This epistle emphasises the position the Lord’s people have, so the mystery is more to do with what the gospel brings both jew and Gentile into, as detailed in chapters 1-3.

6:20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

For which I am an ambassador in bonds- this shows that the authorities were on the side of the enemy, for it was not protocol to imprison an ambassador. It also shows God’s attitude to those who had put His ambassador in bonds. It was usual to withdraw the ambassador from enemy country if it waged war. God keeps His ambassadors in position, and, moreover, maintains His attitude of willingness to reconcile to Himself, in line with 2 Corinthians 5:20.
That therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak- Paul asks prayer that in the process of preaching the gospel, he might be bold. For the gospel antagonises those who have no interest in Divine things. It was proper that the gospel should be preached boldly, for it was a message of triumph.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 6, VERSES 21 TO 24:

6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: 6:22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. 6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

6:21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

But that ye also may know my affairs- that is, what conditions were like for him as a prisoner.
And how I do- that is, what I am able to do for the Lord in my imprisonment. He did not see his imprisonment as a time for relaxation. He used every circumstance to further the interests of Christ, and just as Paul had had to learn to do that, Philippians 4:11, so do we. The flesh is ever ready to make its demands, and to seek gratification at the expense of the work of the Lord. We must not make “provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lust thereof”, Romans 13:4. Rather, we should “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”, that His character might be seen in us, and we might suitably represent Him who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”, Acts 20:35.
Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord- Tychichus had obviously endeared himself to the apostle because of his faithful service for the Lord. This is what made him a beloved brother to Paul, who valued such loyalty to the Lord very highly.
Shall make known to you all things- the apostle had nothing to hide. Tychichus was free to tell everything.

6:22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts- Paul knew the depth of concern for his welfare felt by those who knew him. They were distressed on learning of his imprisonment, but he sends to comfort them by news of his activity for the Lord, and the fact that he was learning to glorify Him in new situations.

6:23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Peace be to the brethren- even though they were at war with the enemy of truth, they could have peace and tranquillity in their hearts. The enemy would seek to divide, disrupt and discourage, but the believer has a Saviour who said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”, John 16:27.
And love with faith- these are the virtues which give moral strength as we seek to war a good warfare. Obviously the persons to whom he writes have already exercised faith in Christ. He is not seeking that they be blessed with initial faith, but that the faith they have might be exercised constantly in a spirit of love to God, and love to His people.
From God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ- as often, the Father and the Son are linked in the bestowal of these blessings, the Father granting them because we are His children, and Jesus Christ granting them because He died and rose again for us. To have Divine persons on our side, and Divine resources at our disposal, is vital as we fight the good fight of faith.

6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.- so closes this magnificent epistle. Grace has permeated the whole of it, and it is fitting that it should close with a reference to the free favour of God which He bestowed on us in salvation, and continues to bestow. In response, let us see to it that our love for the Lord Jesus is indeed sincere, and without any corrupt motive, seeking only His interests and not our own, for we owe everything to Him.