February 23, 2018
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
This is the final offering of our series, Little Acceptable Sins – Sins that too often seem as insignificant (and so Acceptable) to remain unchallenged in our own lives, and in the lives of brothers and sisters around us! We have based the whole series on Ephesians 4:22 through 24 – Paul’s declaration that since we have been made new creatures in Christ (see II Corinthians 5:17), and since our old sinful nature still manifests itself and tries to take precedence our lives, we are to…
…put off concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows cor-
rupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your
mind, and…put on the new man which was created according to God, in
righteousness and true holiness.
Paul, in chapter 6, finally comes to the teaching of how we are to fight the war between our two natures (see Romans 8:6-8; Galatians 5:15, 17) and win the battle! As the apostle says in Ephesians 6:13, “…that you may be able to withstand in that evil day, and having done all, [you may be found ] to stand.”
The enemy forces, led by the devil himself – “…principalities…powers…the rulers of darkness of this age…[and] spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 6:12) – attack in every area of life! In the verses following our featured Scripture, Paul deals with lying (4:25), anger (4:26, 27), stealing (4:28), evil speaking (4:29, 31; 5:4), forgiving one another (4:32), loving each other (5:1, 2), fornication and uncleanness (5:3, 5), covetousness (5:3, 5), things that should not come out of your mouth (5:4), exposing sin in ourselves and others (5:11, 12), how we spend our time (5:15, 16), drinking to excess (5:15, 16), being filled with the Spirit (5:17-20), submission (5:21), marriage and church relationships (5:21-33), children and parents (6:1-4), and employer/employee relationships (6:6-9)! That’s a lot! And how are we to accomplish all this?
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His
might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil….Therefore take up the whole armor of
God….(Ephesians 6:10, 11, and 13).
I am not going to go into all the explanations of how we are to make use of the armor of God. Between May 6th and June 21st of 2013, we explored that very subject in the second longest series – 21 blogs – in the five-year history of Gems For Living! You would do well to study this series, Know Your Enemy! Too many Christians have little or no idea of Spiritual warfare, a war in which we are called to be active participants!
But let me emphasize a few major points the Apostle Paul makes in this closing section of his epistle to the Ephesian Christians:
• The whole armor of God is composed of seven parts:
✞ Five defensive armor pieces:
▸ Ephesians 6:14 – “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth….” This piece of the armor protects the abdomen and private (very vulnerable) parts of the body. Spiritual truth is vitally important! And Jesus is truth! (See John 14:6). And His Word is truth! (See John 17:17).
▸ Ephesians 6:14 – “…having put on the breastplate of righteousness….” Protection of the chest area (heart, lungs, stomach, etc.) is extremely important! And remember, we are to “…love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…mind, and…strength.” (Mark 12:30). We are clothed with Jesus’ imputed righteousness (see II Corinthians 5:21), and are to grow in our own practical righteousness (see II Corinthians 3:18).
▸ Ephesians 6:15 – “…and having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace….” Foot protection! Perhaps we should call it ‘foot preparation’! For it says in I Peter 3:15 (Literal Translation of the Holy Bible): “…always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the hope in you, with meekness and fear….”
▸ Ephesians 6:16 – “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Faith in God and His Word is a large shield that you can hide behind as the flaming arrows of Satan come in to destroy you (see Psalm 3:3; 18:35; 33:20; 91:4).
▸ Ephesians 6:17 – “And take the helmet of salvation….” Obviously, this is protection for the head, the brain, the mind! Saturate your mind with God’s Word, and you will not be shaken in your salvation! (See Colossians 3:16; II Timothy 1:12).
✞ Two offensive weapons:
▸ Ephesians 6:17 – “…take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….” We are told in Hebrews 4:12 that “…the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword….” You can use that sword to drive away the devil and his minions, even as did Jesus (see Luke 4:1-13; James 4:7). The Bible is indispensable in the Christian life!
▸ Ephesians 6:18 – “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….” Prayer is not always listed in the armor of God as an offensive weapon, but it is powerful! And we are commanded to pray! (See Luke 18:1; I Thessalonians 5:17)
• There is no armor listed to protect the back! We must stand against the devil facing him!
• While Satan and his demons are powerful, remember I John 4:4: “…He who is in you [Jesus Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan and his demon forces]…”!
So do not allow Sins, Little or otherwise, to remain in and dominate your life! No Sin is Acceptable to God, and it should not be to us either!