Dear Friend of BCS,
The Bible is filled with battle imagery. Throughout the Old Testament the battles are mostly literal, but in the New Testament they are mostly metaphorical. Either way, the battle language paints a picture of the life of faith in Christ that isn’t easy or painless. The exhortations throughout Paul’s letters in particular focus on the image of preparing for battle and being ready to hold fast, stand firm, and to persevere.
The familiar passage in Ephesians chapter 6 regarding putting on the “whole armor of God” is perhaps the most fully developed New Testament metaphor of the battle of the Christian life.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints …”
Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian Christians is clear. They must prepare themselves for battle in their spiritual lives. They must be prepared to “be strong in the Lord,” “stand against the schemes of the devil,” “withstand in the evil day,” “stand firm,” “stand,” and finally to “keep alert with all perseverance.” We are to do this by putting on the full armor of God which begins with the belt of truth, then the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of readiness of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God), covering the armor with prayer at all times.
This is a description of very intentional, preparatory actions taken by Christians who realize that they are in a battle and if they wish to win, they must be prepared. One of our aims at Bethlehem College & Seminary is to prepare our students to win this battle—to take it seriously and to put on the full armor of God every day.
May the Lord grant them full use of this armor which, if applied faithfully and carefully, is impenetrable.
Standing firm in the armor of God,
President, Bethlehem College & Seminary
- Please pray for our admissions and recruitment staff. They are working hard to fill out the incoming freshman class at the college. Please pray that the Lord would lead just the right number of new college students to us this fall.
- Please also pray for our fiscal year-end finances. We still need about $95,000 to make our budget by June 30th. Please pray for a gracious and generous outpouring of gifts from those who love the vision and mission of this school. This is an important need as it will potentially have a negative impact on our quest for accreditation if we don’t end the fiscal year “in the black.”
- And speaking of accreditation, please pray for the work which remains to be done yet this summer. We need to submit an updated self-study in early August and we need wisdom on how to do it so that it accomplishes our purposes toward fulfilling accreditation requirements.