Ephesians 6:16 (NKJV) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Last week we dealt with Ephesians 6:15 “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This verse is dealing with our daily walk as kingdom people. Now we move to “above all.” Why is the shield of faith put into the context, “above all?”
The writer of Hebrews makes this powerful statement in Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Do you believe this? The writer of Hebrews did. He is seeking to establish these Hebrew Christians in their faith which was under attack as evidenced in what this writer says to them in chapter 6. Paul takes up the same reasoning in Galatians, as he seeks to protect the Galatian Gentile Christian community who were being deceived by men who were distorting the “gospel of peace,” and disrupting the faith of these gentiles. Listen to what Paul said to these believers, “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified.”
This is strong language Paul is using, because of the seriousness of their error. Many, in the Christian faith, have also been “bewitched” through another gospel, which is not the “good news which we have in Christ.” That error is thinking that through some work or good I do obtains favor with God. There is nothing you and I can do, apart from Christ Himself, to receive God’s favor as the means of righteousness which is imputed. The bent of a human is to try and work our way right with God. That is a “spiritual” bewitching, a deception of the evil one to stumble us. Reflecting on Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” So here is another aspect of “standing.” Standing in His righteousness alone. Paul goes on to say in Galatians 3:2-3, “This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”
I am sorry to report, that many of God’s people are in the same place as these Galatian believers were. Beginning by faith alone, but then believing they need to do something to earn God’s favor. Only by faith can we defeat the evil one. Faith centered in what the Lord Jesus completely accomplished, that is, fully satisfying the wrath of God toward sin. Then sealing God’s gift with His promised Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 1:13).
Can you see with me that this “taking the shield of faith,” happened when we received Christ? You are protected from the lie of the enemy which says, “you are not good enough, you have not done enough, and you cannot receive from God because you do not meet up to the requirements.” Just one more thing and you will attain. NO! And again I say NO! Don’t be bewitched. Jesus Christ is the only sufficient one. Exercise faith in His full and completed work. When the enemy lies to us, just declare your faith in Christ’s finished work. “Jesus did it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, but He washed it white as snow!” There is nothing more can I do. You are lying and I will not be bewitched by your lies. This is what James means when he says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Once again, may I remind us that we are speaking of a lifestyle regarding the Armor of God? The shield of faith is just that, a life lived by the faith of the “Son of God” (See Galatians 2:20). This applies in all things, in every action we take, and should be part of every plan we make. A life rooted and grounded in Christ because of His finished work. That finished work includes our spirit, our soul, and our body.
1 Thessalonians 5:23, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. NKJV
Paul begins his point with the mention of peace. Remember what we learned last week from verse 15, “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” He is the God of peace.
May He Himself “sanctify” you. Only Christ can do this. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we be sanctified or “set apart” for God’s will. Quit working at it and simply yield to His gentle help. Begin to worship from your spirit. Tell Him of Your desperate need and desire for His presence. Ask Him for new levels of faith to be granted to you so you can receive all He has to give to you. This is allowing your spirit to be prepared to receive what He desires to give you. Always thank Him for His faithfulness and His kindness toward you.
Sanctification is also for your soul. The spirit is where regeneration begins in the seed of the Word of God according to
1 Peter 1:23 “having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.” Before verse 23, Peter says in verse 21-22, that it was through Jesus, we believe in God. That it was God who raised Jesus from the dead and gave to Jesus glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Peter emphasizes “since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” This is a perfect definition of “sanctification of the soul.” It is the practical, daily walk that expresses itself in love.
Lastly, Paul mentions the sanctification of our bodies. The body is strongly affected by the natural senses. Those senses are directly taking in the natural aspects of life as well as the result of sin and sin’s fleshly manifestations. Only by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit can we keep ourselves pure from the impurities of this world’s systems. This takes faith that originates in the “faith of the Son of God.”
The shield of faith is a shield that protects these three areas of our life, the spirit, the soul, and the body. All three have been saved by the redemptive work of Christ. Faith for eternal life begins in our spirit. That faith begins to grow in us through God’s Word and the work of the Holy Spirit. That faith begins to affect how we think and how we act. That work is a result of faith in our souls. It is through this faith that we learn and are empowered to bring our flesh under the Lordship of Christ in this present world and at the same time, we look ahead to the world that is coming.
I hope that today we have a better understanding of why Paul said of the shield of faith, “above all,” taking the shield of faith. Faith is necessary for every aspect of our walk with God. The last element Paul mentions is: “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Those darts are aimed at every area of our walk with Christ. The darts take on many different forms. It could be in the form of distractions so we do not spend devotional time with our Lord. Consider the dart of busyness, materialism, and entertainment. It could be the dart of emotional stress, manifested in worry, anxiety, and fretting. There are the darts of financial debt manifested in unfaithfulness in our giving such as tithing, offerings, and ministering to the poor. Consider the dart of health issues which have curable root causes such as wrong eating habits, poor sleeping habits, and a lack of discipline in exercise. There are many other darts I could mention. Seek the Lord for His understanding of what darts the enemy might be throwing at you. Seek the Lord for an impartation of faith to deal with the enemies’ attacks on your life. Many times the connecting of our faith with the faith of others whom we are joined is what is needed to “quench the fiery darts of the wicked one.”