As a prisoner in Rome Paul closes the book of Ephesians by giving the believers in Ephesus in 60 AD a list of commands in the imperative mood, “Be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.” This statement is in the imperative mood, which means we are told, even commanded, to do it. As a believer many things have been done for us by God: we have been given the Holy Spirit, seated with Christ in heavenly places, justified, etc. But, there are somethings, including living with the armor of God, that we need to do. We are told to put the armor on the outside. The Lord has made changes and put things on our inside to protect us, but we are responsible to put this armor on the outside in a lifestyle of truth and righteousness.
Martin Luther said,
“Therefore he (Paul) tells them: If you wish to be strong and invincible, let the Lord Christ be your Strength; take hold of Him, and exercise yourselves in Him, that He is well known to you, and preserve His Word in its purity, learn it diligently, use it daily, and impress it upon your mind and soul with such intensity that god’s word and your heart by and by become one and the same thing, so that you may be sure in your confidence, more certain than of your own life. If you have done that, then you are really strong and firm and will remain unconquered and secure.”
The reason it is necessary for us to live a life of faith, a life of truth and a life where righteousness is our standard behavior is because the frightening forces of evil have an unrelenting desire and the absolute need for our defeated. We are been recreated in the image of Yahweh, now we have the opportunity to put the armor of Yahweh on for protection and advancement in this evil age. This is how Yahweh, or the Lord would move in the earth.
Paul has already told the Ephesians that, by God’s power and grace, as believers in Jesus Christ they have been:
- “blessed…in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (Ep.1:3)
- “chose…to be holy and blameless in his sight.” ( Ep.1:4)
- “predestined…to be adopted as his sons.” (Ep.1:5)
- “redemption through his blood.” (Ep.1:7)
- “forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” (Ep.1:7-8)
- “he made known…the mystery of his will.” (Ep.1:9)
- “the hope to which he has called you.” (Ep.1:18)
- “the riches of his glorious inheritance (Ep.1:18)
- His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ep. 1:19)
- “Made…alive with Christ.” (Ep. 2:5)
- “…saved…” (Ep.2:5)
- “seated…with him in the heavenly realms.” (Ep.2:6)
- “have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ep.2:13)
- “access to the Father by one spirit.” (Ep.3:18)
- “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (Ep.3:19)
- “now you are light in the Lord.” (Ep.5:8)
All this has been done for us as believers. We have been made alive and are light in the Lord. We are adopted as sons of God. Because of these spiritual truths, Paul tells us to “put on the full armor of God.” This is in the imperative mood which means it is a command to action. The 16 things listed above (and, there are others) are things that God did for us. We received them. We are saved. We are sons. We are light. We are citizens.
Now, since that is who we are on the inside it is our turn to put this light, this sonship, this salvation, this citizenship on like armor in our thinking, our speaking and in our actions. We are sons of God, but we need to put on this armor to defend against the enemy's attacks on our actions, our words and our thinking.
In general, the first three chapters of Ephesians tell us what God has done for us. The last three chapters generally tell us what we are to do with the power, light, salvation, fellowship, sonship, and blessed condition we have been given. One of the things we are to do is put these things into our daily lives as armor against the attacks of the evil powers in the heavenlies: Truth, Righteousness, the Message of Salvation, Faith, Salvation, the Word of God, etc.