Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Sword of the Spirit II

A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems counter to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean. You also may want to take a look at the last post which was a continuation of the introduction. These kinds of articles will be posted from time to time to keep the perspective clear.

In the previous post on this thread, we looked at the sword of the spirit being the word of God and we determined by Hebrews 4:13-17 in context that the sharp, two edged, sword was Jesus and not the scripture; what about Ephesians 6:17? Let’s look for a place where Paul defines the word of God. You can find it in 1Thessalonians.

1Th 2:13  For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

In the above verse Paul is referring to the gospel. The saints in Thessalonica received the gospel from Paul. They had the scriptures for a long time prior to Paul’s preaching. Likewise, it is also the gospel which was effectively working in the believers. The gospel is working by faith.

Moving on to Ephesians 6:17…since the overwhelming definition of the word of God in the New Testament is the gospel, it follows, that the word of God used in Ephesians 6:17 is the gospel. This is interesting when you look at the entire passage of Ephesians 6:14 – 17. I will posit the passage below, but will add some words in parentheses that will show the overall gospel focus of the passage. The key to spiritual warfare is the gospel.

Eph 6:14-17 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, [Jesus is the truth] having put on the breastplate of righteousness, [the righteousness of God, imputed righteousness via believing the gospel] (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  (16)  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. [faith in the gospel to quench the accusations of the devil]  (17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;[gospel]

Interestingly, all of the armor revolves around the gospel and salvation; again a redemptive purpose. This gospel focus is so very important in the development of the saints of God. Whereas most of Evangelical Christianity focuses on scripture…the real focus of the New Testament writing is the gospel and redemption. In fact, it appears as we go forward with this paradigm shift that redemption and the gospel are truly the only focus of the New Testament writings.

4 comments:

  1. Hey Joe, it appears to me that the scriptures are the gospel when Christ is revealed in them and His redemptive power is felt in them. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal Christ to us in the scriptures. I am reminded of the Ethiopian and Philip in Acts 8:26-40- the Ethiopian was reading Isaiah 53, but could not discern its meaning , but the Holy Spirit unveiled the gospel message of the scripture through Philip and the Ethiopian believed and was baptized.

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  2. Hi Doug,

    I think you are correct. That is an important insight.

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  3. If we just remember John 3:17, "God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him"; He is our redeeming grace. He left us with the best friend that we could ever have, The Holy Spirit. Now we just have to open up our eyes and our ears to hear what the Spirit has to say, and not be so closed minded to truth and teaching. Thank you for taking the time out to help us with both.

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  4. This is so good! But there's even more treasure in this passage. My interlinear notes that the word "which" agrees in gender with "spirit" and not with "sword". The sword is the very breath of God as He speaks the word of God, possibly through you and me!
    Moreover, the sword of the spirit is wielded by "praying at all times in the spirit". There is no full stop after "the word of God": take the sword of the Spirit, praying in the Spirit.

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