The Sword of the Spirit
By Caron Cline
The Sword of the Spirit is the sixth piece of armor that Paul describes in Ephesians chapter 6. Paul makes it very clear that the sword of the Spirit is the word of God. When we examined the belt of truth, we discussed the importance of living by the truth of God’s word. Our lives are to be filled with God’s truth, honesty, and integrity. Unbelievers should see that we are people of our word. The belt of truth is a defensive weapon, but the sword of the Spirit is our only offensive weapon mentioned in these verses. Although it is an offensive weapon, we are probably not called to go after the devil since Jesus never did. The devil always came after Jesus and he will come or send one of his demons after us. The sword of the Spirit is our protection against his schemes. Satan followed Jesus into the wilderness where the Spirit had led Him after His baptism. When the devil tempted Jesus to short cut His mission on planet earth, He took out several swords from His arsenal and cut through the lies. (Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 6:16; Deuteronomy 6:13) Our responsibility is to practice using our sword.
In the first century, there were at least 4 types of swords, but the word that Paul uses is ‘machaira’, which is a 19-inch-long, two-edged offensive weapon made of iron with a sharp tip for stabbing. Hebrews 4:12 also likens God’s word to a double-edged sword. The writer says it is actually sharper than a double-edged sword.
The Greek word for ‘two-edged’ is ‘distomos, literally meaning ‘two-mouthed’.
Paul says in Ephesians 6:17 to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. He is challenging us to remember who we are in Christ. We are chosen and sealed as holy and blameless children of God by the blood of Jesus Christ once we believe in His finished work on the cross. We must first be confident that we are saved and then proclaim it by using the very words of God, His promises. In other words, He has said it in His Word and we must repeat it and repeat it often, aloud. The enemy cannot read our minds, but he can hear our voices. Although he knows the Word of God, we declare and decree it as children of God through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is this power that makes all the difference and it is this power that makes the demons tremble.
Two Greek words can be translated ‘word’; logos and rhema. “Logos is generally used when describing a saying, a topic or divine expression”. The word ‘rhema’ means ‘an individual, collective, and specific utterance’. A ‘rhema’ word is usually a specific word that the Holy Spirit gives at just the right time. Sometimes we are praying over a matter and a verse comes to our mind. Sometimes there is a crisis and the Holy Spirit brings Scripture to our minds for our comfort or to share with someone else for their comfort.
In Ephesians 6:17, Paul uses the word ‘rhema’ for ‘word of God’. When God brings specific words and promises to our minds, it becomes a sword that can destroy the lies of the enemy. On the other hand, the sword becomes similar to a surgeon’s scalpel. The word of God can pierce as far as the division of soul and spirit to bring healing to a wound that is damaging our faith. In this case, the sword does bring pain, but the end result is a healthy soul.
The word of God is compared not only to a sword but also to fire and a hammer.
In Jeremiah 23:29, God asks this question: “Is not My Word like fire and like a hammer which shatters a rock?”
A sword stabs, a fire burns and consumes and a hammer smashes even rocks into small pieces. In other words, the word of God is powerful and life-changing. Nothing it touches can remain the same.
Isaiah 55:11 reminds us that God’s word will not return void. Many times, we cannot see the end result, but God certainly does. He always accomplishes His purposes through it.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul proclaims that “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”.
The devil does not want believers equipped for every good work.
Psalm 1 teaches that those who delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night will be as a tree planted by a stream of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever this person does will prosper and the devil doesn’t want God’s people to prosper.
Just as we must take the helmet of salvation, we must take the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
Psalm 19:7-14 is a vivid picture of the power of the Word of God and contains a warning and a promise.
The word of God revives or converts the soul; it makes wise the simple; it rejoices the heart; it enlightens the eyes. These words are worth more than gold and they are sweeter than honey. We are warned by His word and we are rewarded by keeping it. As our words and thoughts echo God’s word, they rise to Him as a pleasing sacrifice.
We should be completely dressed in the armor of God now; the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Prepare for battle; practice using the sword. Always speak it aloud so that power and authority are released against the forces of darkness. Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue. Either we agree with God or we agree with the devil.
James 4:7 says ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you”.
Resist him by proclaiming the promises that God has for His bride, which are all yes and amen in Christ. Then proclaim the promise God has given to the devil and his demonic host, eternal destruction.
Caron is a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC. She loves to teach the word of God.
Her desire is to see every believer grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. Read more good news from Caron HERE.