10 Brethren - This is the only place in this epistle
where he uses this compellation. Soldiers frequently use it to each other
in the field. Be strong - Nothing less will suffice for such a fight: to
be weak, and remain so, is the way to perish. In the power of his might
- A very uncommon expression, plainly denoting what great assistance we
need as if his might would not do, it must be the powerful exertion of
11 Put on the whole armour of God - The Greek word means a complete
suit of armour. Believers are said to put on the girdle, breastplate, shoes;
to take the shield of faith, and sword of the Spirit. The whole armour
- As if the armour would scarce do, it must be the whole armour. This is
repeated, ver.13, because of the strength and subtlety of our adversaries,
and because of an "evil day" of sore trial being at hand.
12 For our wrestling is not only, not chiefly, against flesh and
blood - Weak men, or fleshly appetites. But against principalities, against
powers - The mighty princes of all the infernal legions. And great is their
power, and that likewise of those legions whom they command. Against the
rulers of the world - Perhaps these principalities and powers remain mostly
in the citadel of their kingdom of darkness. But there are other evil spirits
who range abroad, to whom the provinces of the world are committed. Of
the darkness - This is chiefly spiritual darkness. Of this age - Which
prevails during the present state of things. Against wicked spirits - Who
continually oppose faith, love, holiness, either by force or fraud; and
labour to infuse unbelief, pride, idolatry malice, envy, anger, hatred.
In heavenly places - Which were once their abode, and which they still
aspire to, as far as they are permitted.
13 In the evil day - The war is perpetual; but the fight is one
day less, another more, violent. The evil day is either at the approach
of death, or in life; may be longer or shorter and admits of numberless
varieties. And having done all, to stand - That ye may still keep on your
armour, still stand upon your guard, still watch and pray; and thus ye
will be enabled to endure unto the end, and stand with joy before the face
of the Son of Man.
14 Having your loins girt about - That ye may be ready for every
motion. With truth - Not only with the truths of the gospel, but with "truth
in the inward parts;" for without this all our knowledge of divine truth
will prove but a poor girdle "in the evil day." So our Lord is described,
Isa 11:5. And as a girded man is always ready to go on, so this seems to
intimate an obedient heart, a ready will. Our Lord adds to the loins girded,
the lights burning, Lu 12:35; showing that watching and ready obedience
are the inseparable companions of faith and love. And having on the breastplate
of righteousness - The righteousness of a spotless purity, in which Christ
will present us faultless before God, through the merit of his own blood.
With this breastplate our Lord is described, Isa 59:17. In the breast is
the seat of conscience, which is guarded by righteousness. No armour for
the back is mentioned. We are always to face our enemies.
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel - Let
this be always ready to direct and confirm you in every step. This part
of the armour, for the feet, is needful, considering what a journey we
have to go; what a race to run. Our feet must be so shod, that our footsteps
slip not. To order our life and conversation aright, we are prepared by
the gospel blessing, the peace and love of God ruling in the heart, Col
3:14,15. By this only can we tread the rough ways, surmount our difficulties,
and hold out to the end.
16 Above or over all - As a sort of universal covering to every
other part of the armour itself, continually exercise a strong and lively
faith. This you may use as a shield, which will quench all the fiery darts,
the furious temptations, violent and sudden injections of the devil.
17 And take for an helmet the hope of salvation - 1Thes 5:8. The
head is that part which is most carefully to be defended. One stroke here
may prove fatal. The armour for this is the hope of salvation. The lowest
degree of this hope is a confidence that God will work the whole work of
faith in us; the highest is a full assurance of future glory, added to
the experimental knowledge of pardoning love. Armed with this helmet, the
hope of the joy set before him, Christ "endured the cross, and despised
the shame," Heb 12:2. And the sword of the Spirit, the word of God - This
Satan cannot withstand, when it is edged and wielded by faith. Till now
our armour has been only defensive. But we are to attack Satan, as well
as secure ourselves; the shield in one hand, and the sword in the other.
Whoever fights with the powers of hell will need both. He that is covered
with armour from head to foot, and neglects this, will be foiled after
all. This whole description shows us how great a thing it is to be a Christian.
The want of any one thing makes him incomplete. Though he has his loins
girt with truth, righteousness for a breastplate, his feet shod with the
preparation of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit; yet one thing he wants after all. What is
that? It follows,
18 Praying always - At all times, and on every occasion, in midst
of all employments, inwardly praying without ceasing. By the Spirit - Through
the influence of the Holy Spirit. With all prayer - With all sort of prayer,
public, private, mental, vocal. Some are careful in respect of one kind
of prayer, and negligent in others. If we would have the petitions we ask,
let us use all. Some there are who use only mental prayer or ejaculations,
and think they are in a state of grace, and use a way of worship, far superior
to any other: but such only fancy themselves to be above what is really
above them; it requiring far more grace to be enabled to pour out a fervent
and continued prayer, than to offer up mental aspirations. And supplication
- Repeating and urging our prayer, as Christ did in the garden. And watching
- Inwardly attending on God, to know his will, to gain power to do it,
and to attain to the blessings we desire. With all perseverance - Continuing
to the end in this holy exercise. And supplication for all the saints -
Wrestling in fervent, continued intercession for others, especially for
the faithful, that they may do all the will of God, and be steadfast to
the end. Perhaps we receive few answers to prayer, because we do not intercede
enough for others.
19 By the opening my mouth - Removing every inward and every outward
20 An ambassador in bonds - The ambassadors of men usually appear
in great pomp. How differently does the ambassador of Christ appear!