Sword of Power

by Edward Langenback

© November 4, 2000

Ephesians 6:17, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"

So far in this series about the armor of God, we've looked at the defensive and supportive parts of the armor, but just as a soldier would be a fool to leave his weapon home and go to war with only his armor on, we also need the weapon that goes with our armor. The born again child of God has a weapon that is just as much a part of the armor as the helmet, breastplate, or shield. And that is the Word of God. The king James calls it 'the sword of the Spirit', and while that's good, the amplified translation makes it more clear:

Ephesians 6:17[amp], "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God."

The Word of God then, is a Spiritual weapon, and a very effective one at that.

Hebrews 4:12, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

With the Word of God you can divide the soul and the spirit, which while not one and the same like most people think, they are inseparably joined. Through Prayer and study in God's word, you can see the difference between them. You do not have a spirit. You are a spirit. You have a soul, and you live in a body. We know this because we are made to be the same kind of being that God is:

Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."

and Jesus makes it clear what kind of being God is:

John 4:24, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

When you think about it, this is an awesome realization, that God made us to be the same kind of being that He is. He used Himself as the pattern for making us.

Proverbs 4:23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Proverbs 4:23[amp], "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life."

The word that is translated 'heart' here is leb {pronounced labe} [strongs number 3820] and means 'inner part, midst'. Knowing this, we could render this scripture 'Keep and guard your spirit with all vigilance . . . " the spirit then is the innermost part of man, it is this part that is eternal and that makes it possible for your body to be alive. Your spirit can, and does, live on after the body dies. However the body cannot continue to live once the spirit has gone. Machines and such might keep it breathing and pumping blood, but it is no more alive than the severed frogs leg that will still jump if you apply electricity to it. Life then is in the spirit, and the spirit is the true seat of your being. The soul is made up of the thinking mind, the will, and the emotions. All of these are housed in a physical body that allows us to interact with the physical world that we live in.

Because we are primarily spiritual beings, the battles and temptations that we face are primarily spiritual in nature. We therefore need a spiritual weapon to fight those battles and temptations with. Jesus used this weapon when satan tempted him in the wilderness. For each temptation, He quoted the Word of God to counter it.

Luke 4:1-3, "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread."

The temptation here was to ignore the Spirit of God and satisfy the fleshly, physical hunger. But Jesus refused this temptation, and made it clear that more than just physical food is needed:

Luke 4:4, "And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."

Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3 here. Just as the physical body uses physical food to produce strength, the spirit requires spiritual food in the form of the word of God to produce the strength that is called faith Romans 10:17, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Luke 4:5-7, "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."

It's important to realize here that just because satan says something does not automatically make it a lie. It is true that he is a liar and the father of it (John 8:44), but that does not mean that he is only capable of lying. Sometimes the most dangerous lies are the ones that are salted with truth. When God first created man, He gave him dominion over all the works of His hands (Genesis 1:26, Psalms 8). Adam dishonored that dominion and gave it to satan when he decided to do what satan wanted him to and eat of the fruit that God had told him not to eat. In doing that, Adam subjected his God-given authority to satan's will. With this temptation, satan is trying to pull the same trick with Jesus, but the Son of God knows how to wield the sword of the spirit, and used it to cut this temptation off at the knees by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:13:

Luke 4:8, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve."

The next temptation was one of pride:

Luke 4:9-11, "And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone."

It's one thing to have confidence in God's ability and willingness to provide for our needs and keep us safe, but it's another to needlessly and deliberately put that to the test simply to show off out of pride. Jesus knew this, and refused to give in to the temptation because if He had given in to it, that would have been a sinful pride. Had He done so, He would have been splattered all over the ground because that sin would have made it impossible for Him to pay the price for our sins because that sacrifice required Him to be without sin. Again He brings out the Word of God, and quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16:

Luke 4:12, "And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."

The word translated tempt in this verse is ekpeirazo {pronounced ek-pi-rad'-zo} [strongs number 1598] and means to prove, test thoroughly. We are not to pridefully challenge or 'dare' God to prove Himself, we are supposed to simply trust in Him that He will do what He said He would. Wielding the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, we can effectively counter all of the attacks on our faith and the temptations to sin.

Click here for 'This means war!', the beginning article of this series on the armor of God and spiritual warfare.