Pristine Grace

Eph 6:10-19, (GILL)
10  Finally, my brethren,.... This is the conclusion of the apostle's exhortations, in which he addresses the saints as his brethren; which appellation he uses, not merely as a familiar way of speaking among the Jews, but in regard to them as regenerate persons, and of the same family and household of God with himself; and he calls them so, to show his humility, and as a proof of his affection to them, and with a design to encourage them to their duty, as follows:

be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; which is directed to, partly on account of the things before exhorted to, which could not be performed in their own strength; and partly with respect to their many and potent enemies hereafter mentioned, against whom they had no might nor power of their own; and therefore the apostle points out the Lord Jesus Christ unto them, in whom are strength, power, and might, even everlasting strength, to enable them to perform their duty, and to fight against every enemy, sin, Satan, and the world; for though they are weak, and strength in themselves, and can do nothing of themselves, and without Christ; yet since there is strength in him, which is communicable to them, they may expect it from him, and depend upon it; and they may come at, or strengthen themselves in it, and by it, by meditation on it, by prayer for it, by waiting on Christ in his own ways, by exercising faith upon him, and through the Spirit, who strengthens them from him with might in the inward man.

11  Put on the whole armour of God,.... Not that which God himself is sometimes clothed with, and uses against his enemies; but what he has provided for his people, and furnishes them with; the particulars of which are after mentioned: and it is called "the armour of God", because it is prepared by him for his people, and is bestowed on them by him; and because it is in its own nature divine and spiritual, and not carnal; and because it is provided for fighting the Lord's battles, and is used in them; and because the efficacy of it is from him, and the execution it does is owing to him: and it is whole, complete, and perfect; and all of it is useful, and no part to be neglected, but all to be taken and "put on"; which is not to make and provide this armour, but to take it, as in Eph 6:13; as being ready made and provided, and to expect and prepare for battle, and make use of it; and this supposes saints to be in a warfare state, and that they are in the character of soldiers, and have enemies to fight with, and therefore should be accoutred with proper and suitable armour, to meet them:

that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; who is the grand enemy of Christ and his people, and a very powerful and cunning one he is; so that the whole armour of God should be put on, which is proof against all his might and craft, in order to stand against him, oppose him, and fight, and get the victory over him, which in the issue is always obtained by believers; for they not only stand their ground in the strength of Christ, and by the use of their armour confound his schemes, and baffle all his arts and stratagems, but are more than conquerors through him that has loved them.

12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,.... The Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, and some copies, read "you", instead of "we". This is a reason why saints should be strong in the Lord, and why they should put on the whole armour of God, and prepare for battle, since their enemies are such as here described: not "flesh and blood"; frail mortal men, such as were wrestled against in the Olympic games, to which the apostle alludes. For this wrestling, as Philo the Jew says [e], concerning Jacob's wrestling, is not of the body, but of the soul; see Mt 16:17; and the meaning is, not with men only, for otherwise the saints have a conflict with men; with profane men, and wrestle against them, by bearing a testimony against their enormities, and by patiently enduring their reproaches, and conquer them by a constant adherence to Christ, and an exercise of faith upon him, which gets the victory over the world; and with heretical men, and maintain a conflict with them, by watching and observing the first appearance of their errors and heresies, and declaring against them, and by using Scripture arguments to confute them, and by rejecting the stubborn and incorrigible from church communion: yet they wrestle not against these only,

but against principalities, against powers; by whom are meant not civil magistrates, or the Roman governors, though these are sometimes so called, Tit 3:1, and may be said to be the rulers of the darkness of this world, or of the dark Heathen world, and were in high places, and were of wicked and malicious spirits, against the people of Christ; yet these cannot be opposed to flesh and blood, or to men, since they were such themselves; and though they were in high, yet not in heavenly places; and the connection with the preceding verse shows the contrary, the enemy being the devil, and the armour spiritual; wherefore the devils are here designed, who are described from their power, rule, and government,See Gill on "Eph 1:21", both in this clause, and in the next:

and against the rulers of the darkness of this world; that is, over wicked men in it, who are in a state of darkness itself; and so Satan is called the prince, and god of the world, Joh 12:31. The Jews use this very word, the apostle does here, of the angel of death; who is called darkness [f]; and the devil is called by them, Kvwx lv rv, "the prince of darkness" [g]; and mention is made by them of amle ykwvx, "the darkness of the world" [h]; from whom the apostle seems to have taken these phrases, as being in common use among the Jews; who also use it of civil governors [i], and render it, as here, "the rulers of the world", and say it signifies monarchs, such as rule from one end of the world to the other [k]: some copies, and the Ethiopic version, leave out the phrase, of this world. It follows,

against spiritual wickedness in high places; or wicked spirits, as the devils are, unclean, proud, lying, deceitful, and malicious; who may be said to be in "high" or "heavenly places"; not in places super celestial, or in the highest heavens, in the third heaven, where God, angels, and saints are; but in the aerial heavens, where the power or posse of devils reside, and where they are above us, over our heads, overlooking us, and watching every advantage against us; and therefore we should have on our armour, and be in a readiness to engage them; and so the Syriac and Ethiopic versions render it, "under", or "beneath heaven"; and the Arabic version, "in the air".

[e] Leg. Allegor. l. 2. p. 96, [f] Vajikra Rabba, sect. 18. fol. 160. 1. & Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 25. 4. [g] Pesikta in Kettoreth Hassammim in Targum in Gen. fol. 9. 4. Raziel, fol. 13. 1. [h] Zohar in Lev. fol. 19. 3. [i] Bereshit Rabba, sect. 58. fol. 51. 2. [k] Tanchuma & Aruch in Guidon. Diet. Syr. Chal. p. 169.

13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God,.... This is a repetition of the exhortation in Eph 6:11; which repetition seems necessary by reason of the many powerful enemies mentioned in the preceding verse, and serves to explain what is meant by putting it on: and leads on the apostle to give an account of the several parts of this armour: the end of taking it is much the same as before,

that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day; that is, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles and stratagems of Satan, against his power and might, to oppose his schemes, and resist his temptations: and so the Syriac version renders it, "that ye may be able to meet the evil one"; to face him, and give him battle, being accoutred with the whole armour of God; though the Greek copies, and other versions, read, "in the evil day"; in which sin and iniquity abound, error and heresy prevail, Satan is very busy, trials and afflictions come on, persecution arises because of the word, and God's judgments are in the earth:

and having done all to stand; or having overcome, having routed the enemy, stand as conquerors; or rather, having took and put on the whole armour of God, in order to stand, and withstand the enemy.

14  Stand therefore,.... Keep your ground, do not desert the army, the church of Christ, nor his cause; continue in the station in which you are placed, keep your post, be upon your watch, stand upon your guard:

having your loins girt about with truth; by which is meant the Gospel, and the several doctrines of it; see Eph 1:13; and to have the loins girt with it, shows, that it should be near and close to the saints, and never departed from; and that it is a means of keeping them close to God and Christ, and of strengthening them against the assaults and attacks of Satan; and is of great use in the Christians' spiritual conflict with their enemies; the girdle is a part of armour, and so considerable as sometimes to be put for the whole, Isa 5:27; and here it is mentioned in the first place:

and having on the breastplate of righteousness; in allusion to Isa 59:17, meaning not works of righteousness done by men, though these are a fence when rightly used against the reproaches and charges of the enemy, as they were by Samuel, 1Sa 12:3, but rather the graces of faith and love, 1Th 5:8, though faith has another place in the Christian armour, afterwards mentioned; wherefore it seems best to understand this of the righteousness of Christ, which being imputed by God, and received by faith, is a guard against, and repels the accusations and charges of Satan, and is a security from all wrath and condemnation.

15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The Gospel is so called, because it makes men to be of peaceable tempers and behaviour, and gives peace to distressed minds: it directs the way to eternal peace, and publishes peace made by the blood of Christ; and has a much better claim to this name, and epithet, than the law has, which is often called "peace" by the Jews [l]: the "preparation" of it does not design a promptitude or readiness to preach the Gospel, or to receive it, or profess it, or to give a reason of faith in it, or to endure reproach and persecution for it; nor that readiness which the Gospel is a means of, as for every good work, for the spiritual warfare, for the Christian's journey heavenward, or for heaven itself: but the word etoimasia signifies a "base", or foundation; and so it is used by the Septuagint interpreters on Zec 5:11; and here it designs a firm and solid knowledge of the Gospel, as it publishes peace by Jesus Christ, which yields a sure foundation for the Christian soldier to set his foot upon, and stand fast on; it being that to him, as the shoe is to the foot, its base or foundation: and for the feet to be "shod with" it, does not mean the outward conversation being agreeably to the Gospel, though such a walk and conversation is very beautiful and safe, and such may walk and war with intrepidity: but it designs the constant and firm standing of believers in the faith of the Gospel, and so striving and contending for it, without being moved from it, that it may continue with them. Shoes or boots, which were sometimes of iron, and sometimes of brass, are reckoned among the armour of soldiers [m].

[l] Zohar in Numb. fol. 73. 3. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 9. 3. [m] Pausan. l. 6. p. 362, 378. Julian. Orat. 2. p. 105. Alex. ab Alexandro, l. 6. c. 22.

16  Above all, taking the shield of faith,.... Which may be understood either of the grace of faith, which is like a golden shield, precious, solid, and substantial; and like a shield of mighty men, by which mighty things are done, and by which the believer not only repels, but conquers the enemy. The Jews say [n], that repentance and good works are as a shield against divine vengeance: or rather of the object of faith, that which faith makes use of as a shield; so God himself is a shield, Ge 15:1; his divine perfections, as his power, faithfulness, truth, and immutability, which encompass the saints as a shield, and are opposed by faith to the temptations of Satan; also the love and favour of God, Ps 5:12; and particularly God in his word, Pr 30:5, which is a shield against false doctrines, and the wiles of Satan. Moreover, Christ is a shield, Ps 84:11; and faith makes rise of him as a shield, his person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; which it holds up and opposes to all the charges and objections of Satan; and who is the saints' protection, and security from the wrath of God, divine justice, and eternal death. The disciples of the wise men are said to be [o] Nwoyrt, "shielded men", who, as the gloss says fight in the war of the law; but they are not like Christ's disciples, who have on the shield, and fight the fight of faith: and this is "above all" to be taken, as being the most useful part of the Christian armour; or "with all", with the rest, this is to be taken, and by no means to be neglected; and it is to be used "in all"; in every temptation of Satan, in every conflict with that enemy, or any other.

Wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; of the wicked one, Satan; who was the first wicked one, and the tempter of others to wickedness; and is emphatically the wicked one, being wickedness itself; and his temptations are "fiery darts": they may be compared to "darts", because they sometimes come suddenly and swiftly and thick and fast, are very numerous, and where they stick are very troublesome and grieving; see Ge 49:23. And they may be said to be "fiery", because they serve to inflame the mind, and excite to sin, as lust, anger, revenge, and the like; and were they not repelled, would be the occasion of bringing into everlasting burnings. The allusion is to belesi pepurwmenoiv, "the fiery darts", cast by enemies into towns, and upon houses, in order to burn them [p]. Mention is also made of avad yryg, "fiery darts", with the Jews [q], and of Satan's casting a dart at David [r]: from these customs, and ways of speaking, the apostle borrows his phrases; and suggests, that the shield of faith is of use to quench the fiery darts of Satan's temptations; so that they may not have the malignant influence they are designed for; which is chiefly done by faith's dealing with the blood of Christ. And there were ways of quenching the fiery darts alluded to; which was done by skins and hides of beasts made wet, or anointed with alum [s].

[n] Pirke Abot, c. 4. sect. 11. [o] T. Bab. Becorot, fol. 36. 1. & Gloss. in ib. [p] Apollodorus de Orig. Deorum, l. 2. p. 89. [q] Targum Jon. & Jerus. in Exod. xix. 13. [r] T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 95. 1. & 107. 1. [s] Ammian. Marcellin. l. 20. c. 11.

17  And take the helmet of salvation,.... Meaning either Christ himself, the Saviour; and so the Arabic version renders it, "the helmet of the Saviour": or the salvation itself, which he is the author of, and a well grounded hope of it; see 1Th 5:8; the allusion is to Isa 59:17; and such an hope of salvation by Christ is a defence of the head against false doctrines; for the helmet is a piece of armour for the head; and it is an erecter of the head in times of difficulty, affliction, and distress; and it covers the head in the day of battle, when engaged with Satan, the enemy of souls:

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; the word of God is compared to a "sword", for its two edges, the law and Gospel; the one convicts of sin, and cuts to the heart for it, and the other cuts down all the goodliness of man; and the Scriptures in general are a sharp sword, in convincing of sin, reproving for it, and threatening with wrath and ruin, in refuting error and heresy, and repelling Satan's temptations, and will be used in the destruction of antichrist: and this word may be called "the sword of the Spirit", because it is not carnal, but of a spiritual nature; and is used by the spiritual man; and because the Holy Spirit, as the Ethiopic version here expresses it, is the author of it; and which he furnishes the saints with, and teaches them how to make use of, and makes it powerful and effectual. So the Jews say [t], the words of the law are like to a sword, and speak of hrwt brx "the sword of the law" [u]

[t] Targum in Cant. 3. 8. [u] Bereshit Rabba, sect. 21. fol. 19. 1.

18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit,.... The last weapon is prayer, and takes in all sorts of prayer, mental and vocal, public and private; and every branch of it, as deprecation of evils, petitions for good things, and thanksgiving for mercies: and which should be used always: this stands opposed to such who pray not at all, or who have prayed, but have left it off; or who pray only in distress, and it suggests, that a man should pray as often as he has an opportunity; and particularly, that he should make use of it in times of darkness, desertion, and temptation: and this, when performed aright, is performed "in the Spirit"; with the heart, soul, and spirit engaged in it; it is put up with a true heart, and a right spirit, and without hypocrisy; in a spiritual way, and with fervency, and under the influence, and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.

And watching thereunto; either to the word, as a direction for prayer, or to prayer itself; for opportunities to pray for the assistance of the Spirit in prayer, for an answer of it, and to return thanks for blessings when bestowed; and against all dependence on it, and against Satan's temptations, and our own corruptions with respect to it:

with all perseverance; in it, notwithstanding what Satan and an unbelieving heart may suggest to the contrary:

and supplication for all saints; of every nation, age, sex, and condition, in all places, and of every denomination. So Christ taught his disciples to pray, saying, our Father, suggesting, that they were not only to pray for themselves, but for all the children of God.

19  And for me,.... This shows the great humility of the apostle, and the sense he had of the greatness of the work of the ministry; and that it is the duty of people to pray for their ministers; and that no man is perfect in this life; and that the more superior members need the assistance of the inferior ones; for this request is made by the apostle not in dissimulation, or as feigning humility and modesty; but in the sincerity of his heart, and from a real sense of his need of fresh supplies of gifts and grace, to fit him for the work and service of Christ:

that utterance may be given unto me, or "that the word"; meaning not the subject matter of the ministry, the word of the Gospel, the word of faith, truth, and reconciliation, for that was committed to him; unless he should mean an increase of light and knowledge in it; but rather a faculty of speaking it freely and aptly, and what is commonly called elocution; not speaking with the enticing words of man's wisdom, but with the words of the Holy Ghost: or else an opportunity of preaching the word, and liberty to do it, as follows;

that I may open my mouth boldly; or "in the opening of my mouth"; the phrase is Rabbinical. The Jews [w] say, that when Moses came to write that passage, "let us make man in our image", &c. Gen 1:26, he said before the Lord of the world, why dost thou give hp Nwxtp, "opening of the mouth", to heretics? i.e. an occasion to them of speaking, objecting to us, and of reproving and convincing us with respect to a plurality of persons in the Deity: and a little after they say,

"wherever you hp Nwxtp, "an opening of the mouth to heretics", you will find an answer by its side, or along with it.''

Now the apostle desired he might have something to say, to object to, and to reprove and convince the unbelieving Jews; that he might do this with boldness, with all faithfulness with Courage, and intrepidity, and with freedom of speech; or "openly" and "publicly", as the Syriac version renders it:

to make known, the mystery of the Gospel; or the mysterious doctrines of it, such as the doctrines of a trinity of persons, of the union of the two natures in Christ, justification by his righteousness, regeneration by his Spirit and grace, the saints' union to Christ, and communion with him, the resurrection of the dead, &c. which are called mysteries, because they were hid until revealed; and though revealed, the "modus" and "ratio" of them are not to be accounted for. Now the apostle's work was to make known these mysteries, to prove the truth of them from the word of God, and to defend them against the opposers of them; and that he might be able to do this he entreats the prayers of the saints.

[w] Bereshit Rabba, sect. 8. fol. 7. 1. & Vajikra Rabba, sect. 21. fol. 163. 1. Megillat Esther, fol. 94. 1, 3.

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