“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10 (ESV)
“Unless we know the enemy we face and how to defeat him, however, our efforts to live out the gospel are for naught.” – Dr. R. C. Sproul
The believer in Christ is engaged in spiritual warfare. The enemies are the world, the flesh, and the Devil (1 John 2:15–17; Gal. 5:16; 1 Peter 5:8). The Apostle Paul has already referred to this reality in his letter to the Ephesians church (Eph. 1:19; 3:16). He now begins to address the subject in detail in this same letter’s concluding portion.
Every Christian struggles with sin (Hebrews 12:3-4). Temptation to disobey and dishonor God arise from without and within the believer in Christ. What John Bunyan called The Holy War will not cease for the believer until God calls them home to heaven. Until then, the war is ongoing and exhausting. It is just because of this ongoing and exhausting battle in sanctification that Paul begins his treatise on spiritual warfare with the words from today’s text.
The word finally (λοιπός; loipos) refers to the rest of what the apostle has to say to the Ephesian church. Paul began this epistle with the subject of the believer’s election in eternity past (Ephesians 1:1-6). He concludes with the believer’s struggle with sin until eternity future.
The phrase be strong (ἐνδυναμόω; endynamoo) is a present passive imperative verb. It is a command for the believer to submit to God and receive the strength and ability that is needed to actively fight the good fight of faith (I Timothy 6:12). The phrase literally means become strong.
From where, and from whom, does this strength originate which the believer needs to effectively combat the world, the flesh and the devil? Paul provides the answer with the words in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
The phrase in the Lord (ἐν κύριος; en kurios) means in union with and joined to the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer can only be strengthened to engage in spiritual warfare with the resources found only by being in union with Christ. When the sinner is justified, the newly converted can strive, with God’s help, to be sanctified (Philippians 2:12-13).
Additionally, the apostle adds the phrase and in the strength of his might (ἐν ἰσχύς αὐτός κράτος; en ischys autos kratos). This means the capability to fight sin is solely from the power and ability that is found in the Lord.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Ultimately, Satan’s power over Christians is already broken and the great war is won through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, which forever conquered the power of sin and death (Rom. 5:18–21; 1 Cor. 15:56–57; Heb. 2:14). However, in life on earth, battles of temptation go on regularly. The Lord’s power, the strength of his Spirit, and the force of biblical truth are required for victory (see notes on 2 Cor. 10:3–5).”
Take note of four things in today’s text. First, the family address: My brothers. Second, the exhortation: Be strong. Third, a cautionary warning: In the Lord. Fourth, a final encouragement: and in the strength of His might.
May all of us in Christ fight the good fight today with the strength we receive from the Lord Jesus. Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!