The CERTAINTY of Faith
(Part 2 of Paul’s teaching about Spiritual Warfare)
It has been said that the only things certain in this life are death and taxes. The Apostle Paul added that faith in God and His promises assures the certainty of their results. It is the definition of ‘grace’ that says grace is God’s promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to reality for you. You do not earn it, nor do you deserve it. Grace is God’s gift to His child. Fundamental to this is that God cannot lie (Numbers 23.19; Titus 1.2; Hebrews 6.18). This certainty is crucial to understanding and using the ‘armor of God’ described in Ephesians 6.10-18. If your belief aligns with Hebrews 11.6 (2 Chronicles 16.9a), then you are included in John 1.12-13 and joint-heir with Jesus of the power that comes from such an exalted position (Romans 8.16-17).
Be strong in the power of Jesus’ might, not your own.
- Paul starts with this summary statement in Ephesians 6.10.
- Paul acknowledged the inadequacy of human power in 2 Corinthians 10.3-4 and 12.9-10.
- This was because of the truth he stated in Ephesians 6.12. Your ‘opponent’ may appear as skin and bones to you but the force directing his speech and actions is the real opponent; a spiritual force with evil intent to ‘steal, kill, and destroy’ you, as Jesus said in John 10.10. This is the opponent you are to ‘wrestle’ against before God and, thereby, build your ‘spiritual’ muscle (see Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, December 16).
- So, what is Jesus’ ‘might’ (Ephesians 6.10) that you need (and which must be available to you or Paul would not have written that it is)? Jesus’ ‘might’ came from two sources, as revealed in John 5.19-20 and 12.49-50. What are they, and how are they important to you being strong in the Lord? How does this help to explain the roles and goals of Ephesians 4.11-13? Does this mean that you are to do what Jesus did and say what He said? Discuss this with the Lord Himself. He will remind you of John 17.18 and 1 John 3.8b.
- Just how ‘mature’ are you when compared to Jesus as the epitome of maturity? If Jesus is a perfect 10, what number describes your relative maturity? Do you want to improve? If so, repeat John 5.19-20 and 12.49-50! Now, study Jesus’ words in Mark 4.24-25 and King David’s in Psalm 101.3-4 (illustrated in Job 31.1 and Matthew 5.28). Note the encouragement of Colossians 2.6-10 and Jude 1.20a.
God’s armor makes you able to resist the schemes of the evil one (Ephesians 6.11).
- The Greek word for ‘wiles’ means schemes. ‘Schemes’ even sounds evil. They are satan’s clever and crafty methods of cunning and deceit to entice you into his trap of evil. They are his direct and frontal assaults against your integrity and abilities. Jeremiah 44 is a good illustration, especially verses 17-19. “’Schemes’ is all-inclusive, encompassing every sin, immoral practice, false theology, false religion, and worldly enticement” (John MacArthur’s notes to this verse). Their goal is to steal from you, to kill you, and to destroy your mind, body and influence in your various contexts (John 10.10). Jesus said, ‘sufficient for the day is the evil thereof’ (Matthew 6.34b). Observe Paul’s caution in 2 Corinthians 2.11. Has your life in the moral relativism of this world made you apathetic, even ‘ignorant of [satan’s] devices’? How do you know?
- Paul wrote in Ephesians 6.11 and 13 that God’s armor makes you ‘able’ to ‘stand against’ and to ‘withstand’ (‘resist’ is the better word because it is preemptive of an assault as well as overcoming an assault; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; g0436) every day of satan’s nefarious schemes. Remember that you are using God’s armor, not your own! ‘God’s armor’ makes you able! The contrast is illustrated in the story of David and Goliath, in 1 Samuel 17, especially verses 38-40 and 45-47. You know the rest of the story. What does the second half of verse 46 say was the source of David’s victory? Now does this story illustrate Jesus’ words in John 16.24? Note the similar confidence of David and Jesus to Paul’s ‘you will be able’! See 2 Corinthians 2.14 also.
- A future study will discuss the pieces of God’s armor, but this study concludes with a discussion of the ‘shield of faith’, which is to be taken ‘above all’, as Paul states in Ephesians 6.16.
The shield of faith will quench every fiery dart of satan!
- ‘The Greek word [for shield] usually refers to the large shield (2.5 x 4.5 feet) that protected the entire body.’ (MacArthur’s note to Ephesians 6.16) The soldier could maneuver it by hand in the direction of the enemy’s assault. He kept it polished and in good condition. The shield was the soldier’s defensive weapon.
- Just so, you maneuver the shield of faith to the direction of satan’s assault – against your mind, your body, your property, your employment, your relationships, etc. The shield quenches (puts out/stops) ‘all the fiery darts of the wicked one’. All!
- How do you ‘polish’ your shield of faith? Paul’s wax was Romans 10.17. Develop the habit of using it daily to stay strong! Remember Jesus’ words in Mark 4.24-25.
- The Christian’s faith is God’s grace (Ephesians 2.8-10), as defined in the introduction. The ‘light of your understanding’ increases like the light of day (Proverbs 4.18, illustrated in Acts 17.11) as you sit and saturate in the Word.
- This is what Paul means in Romans 1.16-17. The Good News of Jesus IS the power of God to save you daily (John 16.24)! In this Gospel, the grace of God is revealed from ‘faith to faith’. Paul describes this term in Romans 5.1-5, somewhat like the progression in 2 Peter 1.5-7. Note Paul’s confidence in overcoming ‘tribulation’. Resisting satan’s assaults builds ‘spiritual muscle’ to overcome different attacks.
- Remember Apostle John’s words in Revelation 12.11 and 1 John 5.3-5. The power of God is unleashed when you resist satan by faith, as 1 John 4.4 reminds. The picture is like Jesus described similarly in Matthew 10.19-20. God gives you peace, for He does your work through and for you; see Isaiah 26.12.
- This is what Paul meant by concluding Romans 1.17 with a quote from God recorded in Habakkuk 2.4: ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ The ‘just’ are Christians…you! One Greek word defined for salvation (that is, Sozo) includes daily rescue, deliverance, healing, prosperity, and completeness AND eternal life with Christ. Jesus illustrated this in Matthew 19.29. Daily rescue and deliverance is from satan’s schemes to defraud you of wisdom, wealth, and health (Jeremiah 9.23-24; i.e., bragging about your things versus about your knowledge and understanding of God). This is living by faith!
- Again, how do you measure against Jesus as the Standard, the perfect 10? How often do you listen to the Holy Spirit when He warns you of satan’s scheme by comparing what you hear or see against God’s word of promise? Do you, then, resist the devil every time, knowing he and/or his demons (Ephesians 6.12) will flee (James 4.7) or how often do you give in to the pleasure or pain of his attack?
- How can you increase your ‘spiritual muscle’ to fight spiritual warfare? By going to the gym of God’s word and searching for the promises that apply to your circumstance, growing your faith by rereading the promise until sufficient faith comes to resist the evil one before or during the attack! You will see ‘spiritual muscle’ growing when satan’s attacks take less and less time to ‘quench’. Your efforts will be rewarded!
Paul did not use the definite word ‘able’ casually. He knew the reality of faith in God and His word. You must grow a like faith for the daily struggles against moral relativism and satan’s other schemes. You just must!!!
Praise God!!! Copyright (c) by Maurice L. Painter, 2013. www.sozoclass.com