Please note that all Biblical quotes, in this and all other lessons posted to Greek Thoughts, are from The Literal English Translation of the Bible produced by BTE Ministries - The Bible Translation and Exegesis Institute of America.
We are continuing a series of word studies relating to the believer's battle with the attacks of Satan. We first considered the verb διὼκω (Strong's #1377, pronounced dē ō kō**), meaning "to pursue" or "to chase." It is from διὼκω that we developed an understanding of the first principle relating to dealing with evil forces in the spirit realm: Satan (the devil) is only able to chase or pursue those who are in Christ; but he is unable to spiritually overtake them, since the Spirit of Christ resides within their souls (spirits) thereby sealing themmaking them spiritually impenetrable (see Ephesians 1:13). Because only the flesh is left exposed, Satan attacks here, in an attempt to chase believers. His desire is to continually divert their thoughts and emotions away from God.
We next considered the word ἀνθὶστημι (Strong's #436, pronounced än thēs tā mē**), which means "to resist" or "to oppose." It holds the concept of our second principle - that the plan of God for each believer is revealed as he or she resists the devil's attacks. Believers are to resist while God fights Satan. This, of course, is the opposite of what Man would implement which would be to fight Satan in an attempt to chase him away!
This week we are studying the word ἵστημι (Strong's #2476, pronounced hē stā mē**), which means "to stand, set or place." It reveals the third principle involved in comprehending how believers are to respond to Satan's attacks, in that it brings to light the purpose God has for believers in resisting Satan. Our text is Ephesians 6:11-14.
Ephesians 6:11- 14
11) Put on the full armor of God for you to be able to stand (ἵστημι) against the methods of the devil;
- because the wrestling for us is not against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of the darkness of this age, against the evil spiritual forces in the spirit realm.
- On account of this, take up the full armor of God, in order that you might be able to resist in the evil day, and after all things have been worked out, to stand (ἵστημι).
- Stand (ἵστημι) therefore, after having girded your loin in truth and after having put on the breastplate of righteousness
Paul's summary statement to the Ephesian believers, as found in verse 11, is to put on the full armor of God. The Greek word translated "put on" is ἐνδὺω (Strong's #1746, pronounced ĕn dö ō**), which literally means "to sink into or put on" and is used to express putting on a piece of clothing. It is not just the definition of this verb that is important, but also its tense and mood. In this verse, ἐνδὺω is in the aorist tense, which means it is a one-time action; and it is in the imperative mood, which makes it a command. The believer is therefore commanded to put on the full armor of God one time (this happens when a person receives Christ) and is then given the purpose for doing so, " to be able to stand against the methods of the devil." The Greek word in this verse translated "stand" is our word of study ἵστημι. Paul is teaching that the full armor of God enables a believer to "stand" against the methodical attacks of the devil.
Paul then, in verse 12, explains the necessity for the full armor of God writing that believers are not wrestling against blood and flesh, but against evil spiritual forces in the spirit realm, which therefore necessitates spiritual armor. (As this verse indicates, the believer's position in Christ is not a static one as he or she stands and resists Satan's attacks; this will become clear as we progress further into our studies on spiritual warfare.)
Ephesians 6:13 is a verse that we looked at in some detail last week; first noting that the prepositional phrase, "on account of this," points back to the fact that our warfare is against evil spiritual forces, and shows that this is the reason Paul tells believers to take up the whole armor of God. We noted that the verb for "take up," ἀναλαμβὰνω (Strong's #353, pronounced ä nä läm bä nō**), is in the aorist imperative form. Just as with ἐνδὺω, this form denotes a one-time action and is expressed as a command. Paul is once again commanding that believers are to take up the whole armor of Godan act which happens only once as each person receives Christ, thereby signifying that every piece of armor is Jesus Christ. Believers are being taught that the Lord serves as their protection against Satan's attacks.
The second thing we learned about verse 13 last week is that the purpose clause, " in order that you may be able to resist (ἀνθὶστημι) in the evil day," reveals God's designed plan for believers. The verb in this clause was our word of study last week and was used to show that the purpose for the armor of God is to give believers the ability to resist Satan, not to wage war with him. This is because believers are affected emotionally and occupied mentally when Satan engages them in battle. God's plan, however, is for believers to resist the devil, not fight him. Then Paul introduces us to the purpose or end result of resisting the devil when he says, "After all things have been worked out, to stand." With this statement, Paul is projecting to the end of the trial or circumstance by stating that the purpose of resisting in the evil day is to be standing, once again using this week's word of study.
In verse 14, Paul writes that believers are to "stand," after having put on the armor of God. He again pens the verb (ἵστημι in this instance) in the aorist imperative form and thereby commanding that believers are to resist the devil, in order to stand in a one-place position.
So far we have studied the first three phases of spiritual warfare involving Christian believers. We are taught by Scripture that Satan chases us; however, since the Spirit of Christ resides within our souls and our souls are sealed and impenetrable (see Ephesians 1:13), our flesh is the only thing left exposed to attack. And Satan does just that, working through the physical realm to chase us with the intent of getting to our minds and emotions. This reveals that Satan attacks with the intent of getting us to run from him or to engage with him in battle, so that he can continually occupy the attention of our minds. In contrast to this, however, God's designed plan for Christians is that we resist Satan's attempts to chase us and the purpose for this is that of being able to stand in a one-place position.
Next week we take the fourth principle involved in understanding the believer's part in the battle against the attacks of Satan. Through it, we will gain a better understanding of the position in which we are to stand.
*hISTEMI is the English font spelling of the Greek word ἵστημι.
**English pronunciation of vowel sounds & accented syllables: āle, ăm, fäther; ēve, ĕnd; īce, ǐll; ōld, ǒdd, whö; oi as in oil; ow as in cow; ūse, ŭp, rüde. Bold type indicates an accented syllable.
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