“Fighting the Good Fight”
The Provision of Scripture – (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verses 10-20)
The sword here is the word of God (v19). Or the Bible, the Holy Scriptures. They are referred to as holy because the come from the God who is holy, thrice holy, utterly holy. The context is that of stance, making a stand against the enemy of God, of the church, of our own souls. But the stance is not so much of standing still, rather going forward against the enemy. It is in understanding this that we begin to realise the lengths the devil will go to in order to remove the word of God from us. To cast doubts upon our minds, to damage our confidence in what God has spoken. Remember his words to Eve, “did God actually say” (Genesis 3:1). That is still his insinuation today. He will use the doubt-ridden questioning of the higher critics, academia’s persistent denials of the historic record of God’s work of creation (Genesis 1-2). A multiplicity of Bible translations that has caused much confusion amongst God’s people. This is not an attack on a good modern translation of the Bible. There are the errors and extremes of both the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements. We have the Holy Spirit so Bible is not quite so necessary, or with further so-called extra-biblical revelations. Claims have been made time and again that have been proved to have been false, even contradicting the Bible. Let us be absolutely clear, the Holy Spirit never has nor ever will contradict his own God-breathed word (2Timothy 3:16). The Holy Spirit speaks by his word. The summons of the Holy Spirit to the church, the people of God is to hear the word of God, the Holy Scriptures, read and preached. This is his provision for us, it is inspired, infallible, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And preserved in all generations as he has so promised.
It is the truth about God himself, the only trustworthy revelation of the true and living God. It is a true revelation of ourselves, what we are truly like ourselves, not good, deceitful, wicked, vile, in need of the salvation Scripture declares to us through the Son of God. It is trustworthy in every detail, “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). It is a sure word of testimony, dependable because it comes to us from God. Sharper than any sword, “for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). It is to be used in all the work of God’s salvation. It is this self-same word that the Holy Spirit uses to bring people to a conviction of their sinful state and condition before almighty God, “and when he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:8-11). It is through the sword of the Spirit that we are brought to a conscious, living faith, “so faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). “Who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Peter 1:5). How? By the living word of God. It is by this word we are sanctified, equipped for every good work that God has for us. How we should reverence our Bibles, count them as precious and especially so in these days of terrible apostasy and confusion. One of the Puritans on one occasion cried to God, “take away our children, our homes, our jobs, but please don’t take your word away from us.” For without the word of God we would perish.