Ephesians 6:10-18 (MSG) – God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
“An English translation cannot easily show it, but the imperatives throughout this section are plural. We usually interpret them as if they were addressed to individuals, but without denying their relevance for individuals, we should understand them as Paul’s instructions for the church collectively to put on God’s armor and stand as one person.” [Klyne Snodgrass, Ephesians, NIVAC]
Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters today that we would live in God’s imperatives together. Worship with the song “More Like Jesus” (Click here).
1 Corinthians 2:7-8 – No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
“Beasts loyal to the Witch bind Aslan, shave his mane and muzzle him. They mock him, spit on him, hit him and then hoist him onto the Stone Table. Just before the Witch kills Aslan with her knife she cries, ‘And now, who has won?’ … The story does not end there … the resurrected Aslan explains,
‘Though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would know that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.'” [C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe] [Mark D. Baker, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross]
Who has won? Christ won! If Christ has won, we have won. If Christ is winning, we are to be winning. Let’s affirm in prayer what we believe and also worship with “This I Believe” (Click here).
Romans 8:1-2 (NRSV) – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
“If you believe the Dragon, you will either doubt God’s forgiveness or seek to do something in addition to Jesus’ work to merit your own forgiveness. Either way, you disbelieve in the finished work of Jesus on the cross for your sin, and you will be compelled toward either despair or religion but not toward Jesus. In those seasons, you will find an anchor for your soul by meditating on Romans 8:1, which says, ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ … God convicts you of specific sins so that, with his compassionate help, you can repent and move on to freedom and joy. Satan, however, will seek to defeat and discourage you through guilt that is so general that you never know exactly what to repent of and are thereby left in paralyzing bondage and despair.” [Mark Driscoll, Death By Love]
The reality of ‘no condemnation’ is ‘for those who are in’. We are in Christ Jesus! Membership has its privileges. To enjoy these privileges we need to remain in and access all that the membership has to offer.
Let’s commit to memory Romans 8:1 to have ready for those times we need to remember what is afforded to those who are in. Worship with the song “Grace to Grace” (Click here).
Colossians 2:13-15 – When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
“God has triumphed through Christ’s death on the cross over every power and authority. The rulers put him to death without knowing that through his death he would conquer them and escape their rule. They have been disarmed, stripped of their dignity, and consigned to bring up the rear in Christ’s victory procession…Christ reigns supreme over these rulers and authorities…Christians belong to Christ, who governs the cosmos and secures them from all threats.” [David E. Garland, Colossians, Philemon, NIVAC, p. 155]
In this passage, it is Christ – the “Messiah”, our “Warrior King”, who has won! The victory that we have in Christ is not some small and hidden victory that is achieved by a rebel force – the smaller, weaker, and the less equipped fighters. Not in Christ, we belong to the King of Kings, and our victory is assured, for God is greater, He is stronger, and He fully equips us with His Holy Spirit.
Pray and declare that the battle is won, being fully assured that God is greater and stronger than any other power. Worship with the song “Death Was Arrested” (Click here).
Colossians 2:6-8 – So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
“Moving from this Christocentric principle, Paul then emphasizes the reality in which the believers already find themselves: they are filled in Christ, they have died and been raised with him, and they share in the victory over all competing moral and cosmic forces. This affirmation of the supremacy of Christ and of the finality of His salvific work is, therefore, not simply an abstract truth; it affects the very self-understanding of believers, who find their true identities in what Christ has done for us.” [David W. Pao, Colossians, Philemon, ECNT, p. 151]
In verse 8, being ‘taken captive’ can be understood as becoming a ‘victim of fraud.’ In this age of email scams, we feel there is no way we would fall for such lies and deception. Yet, when we live victory-less, hopeless, lifeless, we have been defrauded. Let’s “see to it” that we live in the victory of Christ alone.
Let’s pray that God alone would take us captive, that we would live in his cosmic victory. Worship with the song “This We Know” (Click here).