Stand strong

Stand strong

V. 17. The most ornamental part of ancient armor, and scarcely less
important than the breastplate or the shield, was the helmet. The
Christian, therefore, is exhorted to take
th<n perikefalai>an tou~
, the helmet of salvation. According to the analogy of the
preceding expressions, “the breastplate of righteousness,” and “shield of
faith,” salvation is itself the helmet. That which adorns and protects the
Christian, which enables him to hold up his head with confidence and joy,
is the fact that he is saved. He is one of the redeemed, translated from the
kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. If still under
condemnation, if still estranged from God, a foreigner and alien, without
God and without Christ, he could have no courage to enter into this
conflict. It is because he is a fellow citizen of the saints, a child of God, a
partaker of the salvation of the Gospel, that he can face even the most
potent enemies with confidence, knowing that he shall be brought off more

than conqueror through him that loved him; Romans 8:37. When in 1
Thessalonians 5:8, the apostle speaks of the hope of salvation as the
Christian’s helmet, he presents the same idea in a different form. The latter
passage does not authorize us to understand, in this place, helmet of
salvation” as a figurative designation of
hope. The two passages although
alike are not identical. In the one salvation is said to be our helmet, in the
other, hope; just as in one place “faith and love” are said to be our
breastplate, and in another, righteousness.
The armor hitherto mentioned is defensive. The only offensive weapon of
the Christian is “the sword of the Spirit.” Here
tou~ pneu>matov cannot be
the genitive of apposition. The Spirit is not the sword; this would be
incongruous, as the sword is something which the soldier wields, but the
Christian cannot thus control the Spirit. Besides, the explanation
immediately follows,
which is the word of God. “The sword of the Spirit”
means the sword which the Spirit gives. By the
rJh~ma qeou~ is not to be
understood the divine precepts, nor the threatenings of God against his
enemies. There is nothing to limit the expression. It is that which God has
spoken, his word, the Bible. This is sharper than any two-edged sword. It
is the wisdom of God and the power of God. It has a self evidencing light.
It commends itself to the reason and conscience. It has the power not only
of truth, but of divine truth. Our Lord promised to give to his disciples a
word and wisdom which all their adversaries should not be able to gainsay
or resist. In opposition to all error, to all false philosophy, to all false
principles of morals, to all the sophistries of vice, to all the suggestions of
the devil, the sole, simple, and sufficient answer is the word of God. This
puts to flight all the powers of darkness. The Christian finds this to be
true in his individual experience. It dissipates his doubts; it drives away his
fears; it delivers him from the power of Satan. It is also the experience of
the church collective. All her triumphs over sin and error have been
effected by the word of God. So long as she uses this and relies on it alone,
she goes on conquering; but when anything else, be it reason, science,
tradition, or the commandments of men, is allowed to take its place or to
share its office, then the church, or the Christian, is at the mercy of the
adversary. Hoc signo vinces — the apostle may be understood to say to
every believer and to the whole church.

V. 18. It is not armor or weapons which make the warrior. There must be
courage and strength; and even then he often needs help. As the Christian
has no resources of strength in himself, and can succeed only as aided from
above, the apostle urges the duty of prayer. The believer is —
1. To avail himself of all kinds of prayer.
2. He is to pray on every suitable occasion.
3. He is to pray in the Spirit.
4. He is to be alert and persevering in the discharge of this duty.
5. He is to pray for all the saints; and the Ephesians were urged by the
apostle to pray for him.
The connection of this verse is with
sth~te ou+n of verse 14. “Stand,
therefore, with all prayer and supplication, praying on every occasion, in
the Spirit.”
Dia< pa>shv proseuch~v kai< deh>sewv may be connected with
the following participle
proseuco>menoi, as has been done by our
translators, who render the passage, “praying with all prayer and
supplication.” But this, renders the passage tautological. Others take this
clause by itself, and understand
dia< as expressing the condition or
circumstances. “Stand, therefore, with all prayer, praying at all times,” etc.
As to the difference between
deh>siv, prayer and supplication, some say
that the former has for its object the attaining of good; the latter, the
avoidance of evil or deliverance from it. The usage of the words does not
sustain that view. The more common opinion is that the distinction is
twofold; first, that
proseuch> is addressed only to God, whereas deh>siv

may be addressed to men; and secondly, that the former includes all
address to God, while the latter is limited to petition. The expression
, means all kinds of prayer, oral and mental, ejaculatory and formal.
The prayers which Paul would have the Christian warrior use, are not
merely those of the closet and of stated seasons, but also those habitual
and occasional aspirations, and outgoings of the heart after God, which a
constant sense of his nearness and a constant sense of our necessity must
Not only must all kinds of prayer be used, but believers should pray
panti< kairw|~
, on every occasion; on every emergency. This constancy in
prayer is commanded by our Lord, Luke 18:1, “Men ought always to pray