Of all the armor of God that Paul described in Ephesians 6:10-17, only one is offensive. The rest are defensive to protect against attack; to “take your stand against the devil’s schemes.(verse 11, NIV);” to take a stand “against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil (12).”
The defensive measures Paul listed are a life lived for Christ Jesus. In verse 14 Paul encouraged the Ephesians to strap on “the belt of truth” and the “breastplate of righteousness.” With the truth of God in your heart and righteous living, you are actively living out your faith in Christ and not cultivating evil desires. In verse 15-16, Paul told the Ephesians to have their “feet fitted with the readiness” and to “take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Finally he told them to top it off with “the helmet of salvation (17);” which is knowing your salvation is secure in Christ. All of this armor of God is a defensive posture to protect you from Satan’s schemes where he comes at you with doubts, false truths and questions about your salvation. Paul encouraged them to stand firm in their faith.
But Paul also instructed them to take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (17).” This is an offensive measure that tells us that with the Spirit of God within us, the word of God, we can pierce Satan’s evil schemes and expose their lies. But to do this effectively, we must rely on the Spirit and be well-versed in the word of God. Jesus warned in Luke 11:12, “But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up his plunder.”
When we live out our faith and seek to follow Christ with righteous living based on God’s truth, we are prepared to defend ourselves against Satan’s attacks. But when we learn to rely on the Spirit of God, not the wisdom of the flesh, we are equipped for offensive measures against evil. When we study the word of God, we equip ourselves to challenge false teachings that seek to sway us away from Christ.
© 2019 CGThelen