THE CHURCH AS THE WARRIOR FOR DEFEATING GOD’S ENEMY
The seventh main point revealed in Ephesians is the enemy of God, Satan, the devil, who frustrates and damages God’s purpose (2:2; 6:11-12). Although Ephesians is a short book of six chapters, it is very inclusive, even touching the spiritual warfare. This book and its sister book, Colossians, tell us that the enemy of God is the ruler of the evil forces in the air. The term ruler indicates that he has a kingdom, and under him are the principalities, authorities, powers, legions, and dominions. In his kingdom there are officers that help him to reign; these are the evil spirits, the spirits of darkness and wickedness. This evil one is always doing his best to frustrate and damage God’s eternal purpose. The eternal purpose of God is to have the church, but the enemy of God frustrates God’s purpose. Therefore, there is a conflict. God fights this battle through the church, and the church fights the battle for God.
Ephesians shows us how the church expresses God’s interests on the positive side and deals with God’s enemy on the negative side. The two important aspects of God’s creation of man are that man was created in the image of God to express Him and that man was committed by God with His authority to represent Him in order to deal with His enemy. Man was created to rule the earth and in particular to rule over the creeping things, among which is the serpent, the devil (Gen. 1:26). In Ephesians there are also these two main items. First, the church is the expression of the Triune God; 4:24 tells us that the new man was created according to God, that is, in His image. Then the last chapter tells us that the church fights against God’s enemy to deal with the evil forces (6:10-20).
This battle is fought by the church in Christ Himself as the might and the power. Therefore, we must stand in the Lord, be strong in Him, and fight the battle by Christ as the whole armor of God. The different items of the armor are the different aspects of Christ that we experience. The more we experience Christ, the more we have the armor to cover and protect us to fight the spiritual warfare in Christ as the power and by Christ as the armor. Moreover, the unique way to fight the battle in Christ as our strength, power, and armor is in spirit and by prayer (v. 18).
THE TWO SPIRITS
If we take care of all the foregoing main points, we will be able to understand the entire book of Ephesians. This entire book very much concentrates on the Spirit. Chapter one tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (v. 3) and that we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit (v. 13). God has put the divine Holy Spirit into us, and we are filled by the Spirit. Chapter one also tells us that we need a spirit of wisdom and revelation (v. 17). Chapter two continues to tell us that the church is the dwelling place of God in spirit (v. 22). If we are not in spirit, we cannot be God’s dwelling place. Only when an appliance is connected to the electrical current can it be the dwelling place of the electricity. As the dwelling place of God, we must be in spirit. Chapter three tells us that we need to be strengthened with power through the Spirit into our inner man, our spirit (v. 16). The most important verse in chapter four is verse 23, which says, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” Following this, 5:18 tells us to be filled in spirit, and 6:18 charges us to pray at every time in spirit.
All the matters and teachings in Ephesians are realized in spirit, that is, in the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit. These two spirits are mingled as one. Hence, in order to realize and experience all that is mentioned in this book, we must know how to exercise our spirit. We must know how to use our spirit and how to realize the Holy Spirit working in our spirit. All spiritual experiences are concentrated into this mingled spirit—the Holy Spirit mingled with the human spirit. The book of Ephesians is now open to us, but it can only be realized in spirit. If we do not know how to exercise our spirit to realize the Holy Spirit, all of these matters will be mere doctrines in our memory. In order to transfer all these items into our experience, we need the exercise of our spirit.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)