Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph 6:13-17)
The Sword (Gladius). Roman soldiers mastered the short sword for combat. The gladius had a 20″ double edged blade with a diamond tip. The shorter length allowed a soldier to step inside an enemy’s guard and deliver deadly blows. Combined with the shield, which could fend off broadsword blows, this agile blade was perfect for close, hand-to-hand combat.
The Instruction. The sword is a unique weapon in the Armor of God. The sword is the only weapon with a clearly offensive purpose. Other weaponry, which had some offensive use, were primarily designed for defense in combat. The sword is, also, the only weapon defined for us by Paul. The sword is the Word of God, authored and empowered by the Spirit of God.
The Word (rhema). Note the word choice used. Logos is not used. Rhema is used. Typically, we think of the Word of God (Logos), directly or indirectly, as Jesus who is the Living Word or Spoken Word. In this case, the Word of God (rhema) refers to the teaching, instruction and principles of scripture which the Holy Spirit “breathed” into its authors.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17, NIV). Also notice in Peter’s epistle, “But you must understand this at the outset, that no prophecy of scripture arose from an individual’s interpretation of the truth. No prophecy came because a man wanted it to: men of God spoke because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet 1:20-21, JB Phillips)
Like Jesus, we can use the Spirit’s sword (teaching, instructions and principles) to defeat Satan. The Spirit lead Jesus, the man, into the desert to be tempted. (Mt 4:1-11, Mk 1: 12-13, Lk 4:1-13) Jesus, the man, was empowered by the Holy Spirit to defeat Satan in the same manner that we are. The author of Hebrews reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. (Heb 4:15, NIV)
Jesus said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jn 14:26) Using the teaching, instruction and principles of His scripture, the Holy Spirit empowers me to overcome every temptation that Satan throws my way. I need to know His word (rhema) better and, more regularly, engage the power of His presence through prayer!