Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Because we have an enemy in the devil, along with his evil powerful forces in the earthly and heavenly realms who battle us daily, we must put on the full armor of God. The very armor our loving God provides us with to stand our ground.
So what is the armor of God that we must put on fully that empowers us to stand our ground against these evil enemies? The armor of God that empowers us is the revelation by the Spirit in our hearts and minds of the fullness of God's grace which he has freely, fully, and forever given to us in Jesus. Through this great revelation of grace, we will have the power to stand our ground when their evil attacks come. We will be fully armored in God's grace, enabling us to stand our ground when the day of evil comes. We will stand our ground because we stand armored in grace.
So what is the day of evil? The day of evil is the day, the moment, the second, when the devil, along with his powerful evil forces of the earthly and heavenly realms, seek to destroy our lives and relationships by attacking us with lies.
According to Jesus, there is no truth in the devil at all. He is a liar, the very author of all lies (John 8:44). And it is with these lies that he and his powerful forces seek to destroy our lives and relationships.
The devil and his powerful forces will lie to us about four specific areas:
AREA #1: They lie to us about God.
They will seek to destroy us by first attempting to distort our image of God. They skillfully and cleverly try to get us to believe something about God that isn't true. They seek to get us to believe that we are not unconditionally loved, completely forgiven, and totally accepted by God as his dear children.
To get us to believe their lies about God, they diminish the finished work of Jesus on the cross that defeated them. They seek to get us to believe that there is something more we must do to be right with God than by faith in what Jesus as already done for us. They want us to believe the cross isn't enough. Simply put, they water down grace by attempting to get us to believe we must meet certain religious expectations, have certain religious experiences, or reach specific moral standards for God to truly love, forgive, and accept us.
In diminishing what Jesus did for us fully and forever through the cross, or watering down grace, the devil, along with his evil forces, try to convince us that we are not fully forgiven forever by God. They try to convince us that God is counting our sins against us, even though the Bible says he is no longer counting our sins against us (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). They try to convince us that all our sins aren't forgiven, even though the Bible says all our sins are forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14) and that God remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12 , 10:17). They try to convince us that we must maintain forgiveness and fellowship with God through constant confession, even though forgiveness and fellowship with God is secured for us through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7, 2:12; Ephesians 1:7).
Through these lies, we become preoccupied with ourselves, rather than glorying in the grace the Father has lavished upon us in Jesus. This preoccupation with ourselves leaves us feeling one of two ways, both of which are destructive:
Pride: "Look at me and how good I am doing."
Pity: "Look at me and how bad I am doing."
However, when we become preoccupied with our Father's grace by glorying in the grace that he has freely given to us in Jesus, we begin to praise our Father. This is consistent with Ephesians 1:6-7 which says, "...to the praise of his glorious grace, which he [our loving Father] has freely given us in the One [Jesus] he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us."
To praise our Father for his grace given to us in Jesus means the following:
Praise: "Look at our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ and how great they are!"
Being preoccupied with how great our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are is the opposite of what the devil and his powerful spiritual forces want us occupied with. They would rather us be focused on ourselves so they can destroy us through pride or through pity. Yet, by being preoccupied with the greatness of our Father and the Lord Jesus because of the grace that has been lavished us, the devil and his forces lose their power in our lives and relationships. Grace then becomes the power which totally disarms the devil and his evil forces, leaving them powerless. When we stand our ground by standing in grace, they are unable to persuade us to believe their destructive lies, thus, rendering them powerless to destroy us.
Jesus, when speaking of the devil being a liar and the father of lies, boldly and shockingly told the religious leaders of his day, the Pharisees, that they were of their father the devil (John 8:44). Jesus, in this bold and shocking statement to the Pharisees, was saying that they were spokesman of the devil himself. According to Jesus, the Pharisees were communicating the lies of the devil through their religious system. In his statement, Jesus exposed the devil and the Pharisee as liars. There was no truth in them.
Today, just as in the days of Jesus, the devil continues to lie to people through religious leaders and systems. That is his scheme. That is his clever strategy. The devil knows people will not believe his lies about God unless they come through religious leaders and the religious systems they oversee.
The devil, through these leaders and systems, water down grace by adding to the finished, forever, and full work of Jesus. The devil, through religious leaders tell us there is more we must do to earn God's love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Thus, the devil, through these leaders, minimize faith alone as the means for experiencing God's love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Instead, the devil, through these religious leaders, manipulates people to follow the teachings of a religious system in order to gain God's love, forgiveness, and acceptance.
Just as in Jesus' day, people assume everything religious leaders tell them must be true, and they would dare not question them. The devil convinces them that to question their religious leaders would not be right.
In addition, these religious leaders twist Scriptures, just like their father the devil, to keep people in bondage. However, Jesus declared in John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." By knowing and holding to the truth, we will be empowered to escape the lies of the devil and his forces of evil.
The devil and his powerful forces of evil attack us every day to get us to believe something about God that isn't true. They want to destroy our lives and relationships by distorting God's character. They know that the construction of a solid life is built upon the solid foundation of a healthy understanding that God loves us, and has totally forgiven and completely accepts us by faith through the grace that he has lavished upon us in Jesus.
So today, stand your ground by standing in grace when the devil and his forces seek to persuade you to believe their evil lies about our loving God. God is your loving Father who, through the grace he has lavished on you in Jesus, has forgiven you of all your sins and completely accepts you as his dearly loved child (Ephesians 5:1).
In my next blog, we will look at the other three lies the devil and his evil forces attempt to convince us to believe.
To read other blogs I have written on this series of blogs on Ephesians, click below.