We have just finished an in-depth study of the book of Ephesians and it ends with Chapter 6 where the Christian is to put on the full armour of God. Not pieces of it. The Panoply of armour, the whole suite. All of the armour. And then verse 18 says Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for the saints.
Paul writes in a way as to argue his point. He is a debater. Read Romans in its entirety and you will see he starts at the foundations and then goes through everything and sums it up at the end. Ephesians also starts by addressing the church (or a number of churches in the area). He writes to the congregations to tell them who we are in Christ (God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, According as He hath chosen us in Him, in whom we have redemption through His blood, and so on).
He makes it clear we are saved by grace through faith and that this salvation by grace is the gift of God. It is not of ourselves, rather His grace. There is now no wall of partition between us (Paul is writing to Christians). He then goes into the church and how we are ministers, in the same body. He addresses the issue of sin in the church and edifying one another. Walking in love and not fellowshipping with darkness. The head of the church is Christ as is the husband the head of the wife and Christ desires to present the church spotless and without blemish.
In chapter 6, after talking about children obeying their father and mother and also servants obeying their masters, Paul goes into putting on the whole armour of God.
Here we can delve a little deeper. If we are to wear armour, then there must be a battle as why else would one need to wear armour? And the whole armour includes defensive and offensive pieces so therefore we must be defending and attacking. We need the armour so we can stand against the wiles (or trickery, deceit, craft) of the devil. A soldier doesn’t just stand and take blows. They also attack at the right time. Sword and footwear are also mentioned which are for moving or taking the offensive.
We wrestle against powers of darkness and not flesh and blood but why would the Christian (who is more than a conqueror through Christ) need to battle? Cant God do all that for us and we just live a peaceful life until we go to heaven?
If we were to believe Calvinist doctrine, would there be any need at all for Satan to attack Christians given they believe all who are elect will come anyhow (same question I ask about why they feel the need to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ if it makes no difference as they say man has no choice anyhow). But as I said, if there is armour then there must be a battle. And it says clearly who we wrestle with.
We would need to go right back to the garden of Eden to get a better understanding of how Satan and his demons work. Adam was perfect and knew no evil. But God put the tree in the middle of the garden which gave Adam a choice. As Adam was completely content, he had no desire to disobey God and eat of that tree. Adam had dominion over the earth. But when the serpent came to Eve, he was able to convince her that they were missing out on something. so that Eve would not be content. After she ate and knew what they had been missing out on (evil), she gave to Adam and he ate. Man had fallen.
What does Satan get out of this? Why try to make man fall? Satan had already fallen before this. I believe Satan was after some of God’s glory and as a result of trying to steal glory from God, he fell. We don’t know much about this event but I believe it was to do with God’s glory, which is 100% God’s and no one shall take His glory. God doesn’t share His glory. Only He is worthy of it.
Satan would have been jealous of man (made in God’s image) being given dominion over the earth. Satan was much more powerful, smarter, better in every way. Why should puny man have dominion? He couldn’t take dominion over the earth, man would have to give that dominion to him for him to have it and any glory that came with it.
The only way to get what he wanted was to make man fall. His plan was an act of deceit or trickery. To make man believe he was not content. That he could be more (strangely enough so many religions these days sell the same thing – that we can be gods).
God is just – it is one of His attributes. Holy, Loving, Merciful, Just are some attributes we can read about in the Bible. God plays by the rules which He set. Man chose to sin and therefore must now die and pay the penalty for it. Even though God loved us and did not desire that we sinned. Satan played his chess piece and possibly would have thought he had God at checkmate.
We know from the Bible that God sent His only begotten son Jesus Christ to die in our place which was a move Satan was not bargaining on. God is all knowing and knows the future, whereas Satan is not. Some examples of Satan playing or not playing by the rules are as follows:
1 In Job we read about Satan and God talking about Job and Satan is only able to play by the rules. He cannot harm Job outside God’s permission.
2 Genesis 6 we read about Nephilim (fallen angels) who were on the earth and bore children to the daughters of men. This was prior to the flood and we know by the time of Noah that Noah was blameless in his generation. I believe there were no others left who weren’t contaminated by the nephilim who were possibly trying to destroy the DNA or makeup of mankind so that God could not possibly save them. I also believe that this was likely outside the rules and God therefore wiped all contaminated mankind and locked up certain demons until the end (we read about demons who will be released from the bottomless pit to torment mankind in the end times).
Noah was the ‘restart’ of the human race.
Jesus also paid the cost of our sins, but could God have just saved us anyhow? God is Holy, Just, etc and He abides by His own attributes and rules. Someone therefore had to pay to ‘redeem’ us. To buy us back as we had been sold into slavery through sin. We were slaves to the law which we could never abide by because we were of a sinful nature.
Satan can try and keep us in bondage so that mankind never hear about the death and resurrection of Jesus and the free gift (the gospel of Christ).
Why attack Christians? Well he can also make us ineffective. Everything time we give into sin, it comes with a cost. For example, we see a nice car or a boat which we want (Satan plays on making sure we are not content as a content person has no wants). To get that nice car or boat, we must complete a contract of purchase. We must pay for it. In the spiritual sense, what are we using to pay for that car?
Goes the other way too. Many verses talk about suffering and persecution being a part of being a good Christian and spreading the gospel (1 Peter 2:20-21, Roma:18, 2 Timothy 3:11-12, John 15:18-19, John 16.33, John 16:2, 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Corinthians 9:12). These verses are a bit of a kick in the teeth to those health wealth and prosperity gospel preachers. What is suffering for?
Could suffering be a payment or cost for answer to our prayers, people to be saved, fruit?
If Satan can get us to buy his wares (which in today’s Christian church seem to be comfort, social life, good house and good food and good job even as a pastor, minimal suffering, good school for your kids, gourmet food, a big church building, etc etc note we are all guilty of many of these things), then we won’t be buying the cost of being a Christian.
Now, the Bible doesn’t say sending your kids to a good school is wrong. Nor is gourmet food. But where’s your heart? Willing to lose it all for Christ? Willing to suffer any cost (ANY cost as Christ, Paul, Disciples, and many martyrs did) in order to gain a reward in heaven? Store your treasures in heaven where moths and rust don’t get it or store it down here?
When I look at many RICH ‘churches’ in the western world today, it is clear where their heart lies. In fact some of these rich church leaders who are deceiving the masses, even say that God wants them to have all these riches now as gold streets in heaven aren’t much use.
More to come.