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Finding Strength in Christ

MONDAY September 11

Finding Strength in Christ

Paul ends his letter with a powerful call to battle that draws together themes and ideas important to the letter as a whole. He begins by announcing the overarching theme of the conclusion, offered in the tone of a commander’s battle cry: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph. 6:10, ESV). The rest of the passage (Ephesians 6:11–20) illustrates and unpacks this large theme.

Read again Ephesians 6:10–20. How do you see the reality of the great controversy, which involves literal supernatural powers, as central to Paul’s point? Why is keeping this crucial truth before us so important in our own daily walk with God?

Paul identifies Christ as the Source of believers’ strength with his phrase “in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10, NKJV) since “Lord” refers to Christ, as is consistently the case in Ephesians (Eph. 2:21; Eph. 4:1, 17; Eph. 5:8; Eph. 6:1, 21). “The Church’s strength lies in the almightiness of her risen Lord, the Captain of her warfare.”—G. G. Findlay, The Epistle to the Ephesians (New York: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, 1931), p. 398.

Paul uses repetition in Ephesians 6:10, employing the synonyms power and might to underline his point: the power to be exhibited by the church is not inherent in believers but is derived. It comes from the Lord, from Christ. Paul summarizes here an important theme of the letter, God’s power shared with believers (Eph. 1:19–22; Eph. 2:4–6; Eph. 3:16, 17). Strength for every current and future conflict is to be found in believers’ solidarity with the resurrected and exalted Christ.

While the initial command announces Christ as active in providing strength to believers (Eph. 6:10), all three members of the Godhead are engaged in strengthening them for spiritual combat against evil. God (the Father) makes His own weapons available as the “armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13; compare Isa. 59:17). Earlier, Paul has identified the Spirit as active in strengthening believers. Paul prayed that God may grant you “to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Eph. 3:16, ESV). Here, it is the Spirit who issues the sword, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Also, believers are to pray “at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18, ESV). Paul wishes his hearers to understand that the triune God is fully engaged in equipping them to battle against these evil powers.

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