Ephesians 6:16: The Shield of Faith
- Living by faith
- Quenching darts
In the book of Hebrews Jewish Christians are being persecuted, imprisoned and facing possible death for being believers. There is immense temptation to throw away Christianity to escape the heat and return to Judaism. The author of that great letter shows how Christ is better than the law, Moses, the angels, the sacrifices and the OT administrations, but he also tells them that they need to live by faith. Hebrews 10:39, ‘But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.’ He says we must be those who have faith and by this faith persevere and preserve our souls. He sees faith as vital to the continuing and effective Christian life. Then after this in chapter 11 he tells us about the faith the sustains us, v1, ‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’ Faith is living your life with your eyes fixed on your final destination and judging things by what God tells you they are not how they appear to your eyes. He then shows the many OT examples of Abraham, Moses, Rahab and many others who lived by faith and obeyed, endured and even died in faith. But the ultimate example of someone who lived by faith was Christ, 12:1-2, ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.’
Today as we continue looking at the spiritual armour we are looking at the shield of faith. All of these OT examples and Christ Himself armed themselves with the shield of faith and we must as well. Paul writes in Ephesians 6:16, ‘In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.’ The Roman shield was a large 4 foot shield that had a metal covering. Enemies would often shoot arrows that were tipped with rags dipped in flammable fluids. If an arrow hit a target there would be a splash of the fluids that were on fire onto the object that it hit, because of the metal covering the Roman shields did not catch alight. Paul is telling us that the devil shoots these highly damaging arrows at us. If we were fighting in an army to be hit by one of these arrows would remove us from the fray, this is the devil’s ploy as well. However, our faith acts as a shield that pours cold water on the arrows and prevents them from hitting us altogether.
Today as we consider how our faith acts as a defence against the devil’s fiery darts we want to look at how all of life is to be lived by faith, and secondly, how faith actually quenches fiery darts.