God's Armor, Not Ours - Part 6 (Sword of the Spirit)

We have now come to examine The Sword of the Spirit. The verse in Ephesians 6:17 reads - "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Since we have already dealt with the helmet of salvation, our focus will be on "the sword of the Spirit".

The previous pieces of armor - the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of peace and shield of faith - have all been observed as mainly defensive or protective gear pieces of the Christian's faith-outfit. Now, the study turns to the believer in Christ stepping out in his/her faith and taking the active role of fighting the good fight as Paul charged Timothy in his first letter - 

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." - 1 Timothy 6:12

According to the research Mr. Rick Renner has provided in his book Dressed To Kill, there were mainly five types of swords the Roman soldier used for various reasons. The first sword mentioned was the Gladius. This weapon was a heavy, cumbersome, sword that required two hands to wield it.

The second sword presented was a 17 inch sword that was much lighter and easier to swing. Then the third sword was really a dagger that was hidden in a scabbard underneath the soldier's coat. The fourth sword was a long, slender sword used for sport called the cavalry sword. 

However, the fifth sword and the one Paul uses in the phrase "sword of the Spirit" is translated as the "machaira" or the Greek word for machete in this Ephesian 6:17 verse as well as Revelation 1:16, Revelation 2:12 and Hebrews 4:12 .

This weapon was a two-edged, nineteen inch long sword that turned up to a point at the end of the blade. The tactic used was not so much of a hacking or slashing maneuver, although I'm sure that was used, but with this sword mainly a thrust with a twist added on was used. If the thrust did not initially kill you the twist would.

So, how does the machaira or machete translate over to "the sword of the Spirit" for the Christian? The stress is on understanding and acting on whose sword it is and discerning when and how to use the sword. A Roman sword is used for attacking enemies of the flesh, the "sword of the Spirit" is used to attack "the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" spoken about in Ephesians 6:12.

Like I mentioned in the study on The Belt of Truth, I have heard sermons and teachings by pastors and teachers as they wave their Bible and claim "the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17) is our weapon. When researching the original Greek for "Word of God" here, the meaning is Rhema Word of God or the revealed, quickened Word of God that comes from being rooted or having your foundation in the Logos or Written and Spoken Word of God which is The Belt of Truth. 

"...Paul likens the Word of God [Logos] to a Romans soldier's loinbelt." (p.265)

"What does the loinbelt represent in Ephesians 6? The written Word of God. Therefore, this tells us that most of the time the 'word from the Lord' we need will come directly out of the Bible - just as the Roman soldier's sword came right out of a scabbard that hung on his loinbelt. The loinblet and the sword were connected." (p.273)

"So do you need a special word from the Lord? Do you need a rhema, a 'sword of the Spirit'? This is how you get it: Make it a priority to read and study the Word of God, and your rhema will most likely be quickened to you as you walk in the Word." (p.273)

A word about receiving and giving Rhema or revealed words of God. In both receiving and giving a Rhema Word of God, the believer should be short, sweet and to the point. The beginning of many journeys with God in Scripture were called forth by a revealed word from the Lord that only took one to a few verses. People like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Mary and Paul all received simple, succinct words by God. Mr. Renner elaborates on this point by stating - 

"the reason we enjoy many of our spiritual blessings today is that godly men and women obeyed the simple, specially spoken rhema words they received from the Lord." (p.414, Renner)

"Remember, a two-inch penetration by a sword is all that is required to fatally wound an enemy. When the Holy Spirit puts a sword - rhema - in our hands, it will probably be short, concise and succinct. The Lord knows that a long word would be confusing to the majority of us. Therefore, He speaks clear, vivid, unmistakable, undeniable, certain, definite and easy-to-understand words to us." (p.415, Renner)

This revealed word, this right-on-time instruction from the Lord, will always come from the written word, "the belt of truth". If you hear a supposed rhema that is not supported by Scripture, do not receive it into your life. And if you feel compelled to give a rhema, check your feelings, feelings are fickle - make sure the word is Scripturally sound and pray about your communication beforehand, but do speak.

Why have all this armor on and a sword and not use the sword when the time calls for it? The fact that this sword in Ephesians is the machaira or two-edged should not be lost on the Christian. What then does it mean spiritually for a rhema word to be two-edged?

The actual Greek word for two-edged is distomos which means two-mouthed. How does two-mouthed translate spiritually? First, the Christian warrior hears the rhema word God wants to deliver, then that word has to pass out of the mouth of the believer. God is one edge, the Christian is the other. This is the meaning behind the "two-mouthed sword". 

When handling God's "sword of the Spirit", the Christian will eventually have to put his/her faith into action. This requires the believer to take the sword off the Belt of Truth and deliver a blow to the enemy. The notion of just head knowledge of Scripture is a good start for Christians but it should never be the start and end of the believer's growth and development. The knowledge of Biblical truths must be married with obedient, good deeds of the Christian, namely the delivering of a timely, revealed word of God. However, we can be our own worst set-back at times and Mr. Renner speaks to that.

"One reason people don't experience results when they confess God's Word is that they speak before the Word has personally done its life-transforming work inside of them. They hastily begin to mimic what someone else confessed or what someone else did before the Word has had time to take root in their hearts and to renew their minds. But because the Word of God hasn't yet become personal revelation to them, it produces no lasting results." (p.420-421, Renner)

This is why the Christian's unity with The Trinity and God's Word is so crucial to delivering massive blows to the enemy and helping people with their habits, hang-ups and hurts. I believe some sensitivity is in order here. Just because a Christian has a revealed word for another person does not mean a force to comply should follow. Obedience to a rhema word is the receiver's responsibility. 

The sender's edge of the sword combined with the spiritual power behind God's edge and whatever else the Holy Spirit has in mind will be sufficient. Remember, the writer of Hebrews goes a step further and states - You think a machaira is sharp, God's Word is sharper. (NC Paraphrase). Hebrews 4:12 actually reads - "For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." This is just a taste of what the Scripture reveals on how to wield The Sword of the Spirit.