Ephesians 6:10-11; Standing firm vs. fighting the good fight, part 2

Class Outline:

Tuesday April 5, 2022


Standing firm vs. fight the good fight of faith.


A careful examination (and we should always think and carefully examine) of the passages in the NT about these terms will show us that they are not in contrast to one another, but rather support one another.


Fighting (striving, contending) in the NT does not mean attacking. It means straining to win at the spiritual life - not the defeat of a foe.


We noted the example of the Lord in 1PE 2:22-23, where although He was sinless, when reviled He did not revile in return, and while suffering innocently at the hands of evil men, He uttered no threats. He kept entrusting Himself to the Father who judges righteously.


“fight” - agonizomai = to contend in the public games, to contend perseveringly against opposition and temptation.


The one use of this word for actual fighting was said by our Lord to Pontius Pilate in JOH 18:36. We noted that Jesus was not indicating that He hoped someone on earth would fight for Him, but that His fighting is of another world - heaven.


JOH 18:36-38

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm."  37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."  38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"


If Jesus’ kingdom was of this world then His disciples, including us, should be fighting for control of the world. This is the way of the world and Jesus’ kingdom has nothing to do with the world. The believer’s life is hid with Christ in God and so we are to set our minds on the things above and not on the things of the earth (COL 3:1-4). The plight of the kingdoms of this world is that they have to (have to) live and die by the sword (drones, tanks, missiles). Even if a kingdom is completely committed to pacificism, if they are prosperous, someone is going to try and take their stuff and their people.


For example, when the tribe of Dan got restless in the land allotted to them by God (they failed to remove the Philistines from their land as they were commanded to) they went far north and found a prosperous city enjoying peace for many years because they had no aggressors. They had no or little defense, and Dan destroyed the city and settled there.


JDG 18:27

came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire.


JOH 18:37-38

Pilate therefore said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."  38 Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"


Notice then what He says about those who hear His voice.


Everyone who is of the truth hears from Him that they are to fight as heaven fights and not in the fashion of this world.


Therefore, we fight the good fight, which is the way heaven fights, and not the bad fight, which is the way the world fights.


Our struggle is not against flesh and blood. The people that oppose us, who could be classified as our enemies, are redeemable and therefore we are to love them and do good to them.


His kingdom is not of the realm, and so while we remain in this realm, we fight in the same manner as the Lord Jesus did.


In the Lord’s fight, the people who took positions as enemies against Him were seen as redeemable and savable. “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” We are to love our enemies and pray for them. We fight in this world as our Lord did, because we are in His kingdom and it is not of this world.


Now, if Jesus had died and that was the end of it all, then He would have shown us a way, but that way would have been pointless and weak as the world actually thought it was. If love and meekness and sacrifice attained nothing but death, then the world’s way of fighting would be better. At least in that way there is a chance that you will gain something materially and emotionally valuable before you die. However, and it is the greatest however ever written, Jesus rose from the grave. His type of victory results in eternal life in a body made by heaven. The world’s victory results in a few material things and then death and judgment. The resurrection tells us all that His way is the only way, and the powerful way, and the way of joy and peace.


Our real struggle is against a spiritual enemy, not of the flesh.


EPH 6:12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.


We will confirm that there is no way of accurately and confidently differentiating these four descriptions of this group of fallen angels so as to discover some organizational hierarchy, or some such thing. The whole description can only be taken as one. These forces are wicked and dark; they are all over the world and also in the atmosphere, and they are spiritual as opposed to being of flesh.


The enemy uses the flesh and throws them at us like darts, but those darts are not our enemy.


Fighting against people is fighting against the weapons being used and not the source. And so often, those weapons are fooled and deceived, not being complicit in or even knowing the scheme of the devil. Love others with divine love, no matter how out of the norm it is, no matter how much you are ridiculed and challenged for doing it.


“The crucial assaults of evil, in many instances, come in no outward and palpable guise. There are sinister influences that affect the spirit more directly, fires that search its inmost fibres, a darkness that sweeps down upon the very light that is in us threatening its extinction.” [G.G. Findlay, The Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 405]


The background of the words for fight and fighting (outside of JOH 18:36) are not war, but the Olympic games of that time, which then and now demands a lot of personal development, discipline, and self-control.


First off, Christ earned the complete victory already. And second, He accomplished it by letting the enemy nail Him to a cross.