I want to close off our time in Ephesians by pointing out the fact that Paul closes this letter in the same way he started it, by focusing on God’s mighty power.
Ephesians 1:19 and 6:10 form an inclusio, an inclusio is a literary device that makes use of bracketing to clarify the concepts that are included within the “brackets.” In this case the brackets are God’s mighty power. If you take a look at 1:19 and 6:10 in your ESV it doesn’t really jump out as being an inclusio but in the Greek it really does. Ephesians 1:19 highlights God’s power in raising Christ from the dead and seating Christ in the heavenly places above “all rule and authority and power and dominion….” Ephesians 6:10 highlights God’s strength in our lives that enables us to “wrestle” against the “rulers, authorities, against cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:19 is about God’s power and how in plays out in redemptive history. Ephesians 6:10 is about God’s power and how it plays out in our lives. Think of it this way… Ephesians 1 is like looking at the big picture, Ephesians 6 is like looking through a microscope into how the Gospel affects our daily lives. But regardless of how you approach it (big picture or small picture) the fact is that the power is God’s. In Ephesians 6 God provides the armor for us. God himself gives us the equipment for battle. But
First we must learn to recognize the attacks that are coming. Second we need to learn how to put on the complete armor that God has given us. Third we need to stand firm and undismayed.
Here are some questions to consider as your read Ephesians 6 this week:
- In what way is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, an offensive weapon in contrast to the other defensive weapons?
- The “word” in verse 17 is the same “word” as in 5:26, it is the word of the Gospel through which God accomplishes his powerful, cleansing work in people’s hearts and lives. How can you actively take up this weapon in your life? How can you actively take the weapon of the “gospel” and use it in your faith community?