Ephesians 6:10. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Everything we have read in this letter has led us to this conclusion. We have every spiritual blessing in Christ (1:3). We are seated in Christ (2:6) therefore we walk in Christ (2:10, 4:1, 4:17, 5:2, 5:8). Like Abraham, we have been rested in the promised land of Jesus’ life. Now we are walking throughout this land claiming the blessings that we have in him. But we better believe that the enemy is all around us. Evil is out to destroy us. Satan seeks to devour. He fires his flaming arrows. Sin still indwells our souls. The flesh is constantly battling the Spirit.
When you chose Christ and his indwelling life, you chose to enter a spiritual war zone. Your physical circumstances stayed the same. Your family is still your family. Your wife is still your wife. Your husband is still your husband. Your kids are still your kids. Your parents are still your parents. You’re still a slave or a master. Jews are still Jews. Gentiles are still Gentiles. You still live in your “Ephesus.” The culture around you is still the same culture with the same futile mindsets. None of that changed.
What changed is what’s inside of you. And it’s a battle. A battle that requires us to be strong. Your church is now a battlefield. Unity is something we strive to maintain. Racial battle lines are not merely a cultural struggle. They are a fight with the forces of evil. Your marriage is the front line. Your home the trenches. Your workplace the siege works.
This is Paul’s reality check for us. “To live is Christ” is not a life of leisure. Yes, it is first to REST. To find your peace in Christ. To be placed into him never ever to have to fight for your worth, your honor, your salvation. It is to never have to earn. Never to have to work. Never to have to strive for love and grace and forgiveness ever again.
Peter finds the power of love.
But here is the gospel paradox – it is this very REST that allows us to BE STRONG. To face the evil and suffering and temptations of this life we must first place all of our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. To put on Christ’s strength we must first take off our own. We must first adopt weakness and complete dependency if we are going to be able to live the empowered life of Jesus. In fact, this is exactly how he did it.
Jesus fought the greatest battle of all time and space at the cross. He fought it in complete weakness and dependency. But that weakness and submission were the greatest displays of power and authority the world has ever known. This is our same might. The strength of the Lord that becomes our strength is the strength to take upon ourselves the cruciform life. The life of sacrifice. The life of submission. The life of humility and meekness. The life that seeks unity. The life of love.
But how can we live in this power? Because we already have this power in us.
Ephesians 1:16-23. 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know… what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Resurrection power. The power of Christ’s resurrection is in us. This same power has seated us with Christ in the heavenly places far above every single one of our enemies. It is this position in Christ that allows us to then re-enter this earthly life from our heavenly throne free from all fear in life and death and face the evil that surrounds us with the power of self sacrificing love. This is exactly how Christ fought his battle 2000 years ago, and it is exactly how he will fight his battle through us today.
“To live is Christ” is a war. A battle with the forces of evil that oppose all that is God’s. But it is a war that has already been won by our great God. It was won before it even began. And so we walk through our promised land in the power of Christ and in the strength of his great might as the super conquerors that we are.