God’s Renewing Word of Unity in Christ Jesus
Ephesians 6:1-24: Today’s reading opens with Paul discussing household relationships between children and parents and between slaves and masters. Paul offers encouragement to help the Ephesians remain strong against what he calls “wicked spiritual forces” (verse 12). Using the metaphor of armor worn by Roman soldiers, he describes the spiritual armor of God that will help them guard against evil, and he exhorts them to pray continually for one another.
Children and Parents
1 Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do. 2 “Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added: 3“so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.”
4 Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction.
Slaves and Masters
5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling; and do it with a sincere heart, as though you were serving Christ. 6Do this not only when they are watching you, because you want to gain their approval; but with all your heart do what God wants, as slaves of Christ. 7Do your work as slaves cheerfully, as though you served the Lord, and not merely human beings. 8Remember that the Lord will reward each of us, whether slave or free, for the good work we do.
9 Masters, behave in the same way toward your slaves and stop using threats. Remember that you and your slaves belong to the same Master in heaven, who judges everyone by the same standard.
The Whole Armor of God
10Finally, build up your strength in union with the Lord and by means of his mighty power. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks. 12For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13So put on God’s armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.
14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18Do all this in prayer, asking for God’s help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people. 19And pray also for me, that God will give me a message when I am ready to speak, so that I may speak boldly and make known the gospel’s secret. 20For the sake of this gospel I am an ambassador, though now I am in prison. Pray that I may be bold in speaking about the gospel as I should.
21 Tychicus, our dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord’s work, will give you all the news about me, so that you may know how I am getting along. 22That is why I am sending him to you—to tell you how all of us are getting along and to encourage you.
23May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give to all Christians peace and love with faith. 24May God’s grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with undying love.
Today’s Key Verse: Ephesians 6:18b
Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason, keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people.
What are your thoughts regarding the household relationships described in verses 1-9? Reread verses 14-17. How is God’s armor described? How can such spiritual armor protect you? What does being clothed with God’s spiritual armor mean to you?
Sovereign God, thank you for the gift of your protection. Empower me with the spiritual resources I need to stand against the devil’s evil tricks and wicked spiritual forces, and clothe me with your righteousness. Amen.
2 Corinthians 1:1-11: The apostle Paul begins his second letter to the Corinthians with a prayer of thanksgiving.