/ spiritual warfare / Andrew Kerr

Standing Firm

During our summer, UK, staycation, we revisited Beachy Head, on the chalky Sussex coast. After taking selfies with the lighthouse in the background, lit up by the azure seascape, we headed off in-land, across sheep-dotted, verdant, pasturelands. About mile along the "bridleway", we came across a single old tree - ancient, gnarled, branches, weather-beaten by sea gales, pointed horizontally backwards from an immovable vertical trunk. This was proof enough that, despite prevailing winds, the tree had stood the test and managed to stand firm.

That reminds me of Paul's discourse on "spiritual warfare" that rounds off the book of Ephesians. After three whole chapters of wonderful, soul-exulting, doctrine, focused on the enthralling mystery of God's sovereign grace in Christ, the apostle turns principle into practice - putting off flesh and being clothed in our Head's new life. He proceeds, in Chapters 4-6, to unscroll the blueprint for standing firm, for God, against satanic darts, demonic assaults, and each malicious, malevolent, invisible, spiritual force. The key thing for saints is to present a holy, united, front for truth - Jew and Gentile, brother and sister, bride and groom, parents and children, are all to hold firm their position in divinely drawn-up battlelines - this is the essence of the struggle for the Gospel in the Lord Jesus' "Great Commission" work:

Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand the evil day and having done all to stand firm - Ephesians 6:13.

Since Jesus paid the price, and His Cross unites the Church, believers are to strive to maintain body politic and peace. The steps that we take are to form a lifestyle walk-of-love - particular examples are given to illustrate what our Lord intends: addiction to means of grace by which all body parts are subject to regularly functional health checks (and spiritual orthopaedic consult and surgery if required); spouses are to model new covenant marriage between Christ and His Church; dads are patiently to rear and raise loving, obedient, kids; and all ranks should know and embrace their station vocation in God's army of saints, and in that daily work, submit to the authoritative lordship of Christ. All of this will require a fight, if needs be, to the death - attired with Gospel dress, equipped with Gospel truth, endued with Gospel might, and imbued by Gospel grace, we stand firm through inconceivable, unimaginable, prayer-enabled, heavenly help.

As with every type the antitype is far better - the Church is not to be a single, firm, weather-beaten, Beachy Head, tree - trees ancient and modern, sapling or seasoned spruce, are to stand firm as one forest against culture prevailing winds and trends. May God grant the grace, as the Word is preached, to grasp the Gospel so clearly, and what it implies about blood-bought unity, to put on and practice Christ together - with each troop and battalion fighting fervently in Christ's celestially-active armed forces. Resisting Post-Modernity, and brutalizing personhood theory, may we be able to say, on the day our Lord returns, after all was done, by using the means of grace, we fought the good fight, and He enabled us to stand.

Andrew Kerr

Andrew Kerr

Pastor of Knockbracken in Belfast - Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul and Andrew, Lover of Skiing, Walker of Lucy (our Bernese Mountain Dog), with a Passion for OT - in Deep Need of Grace

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