Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power; put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having prevailed against everything, to stand firm. Stand, therefore, and belt your waist with truth and put on the breastplate of righteousness and lace up your sandals in preparation for the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench 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. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
Ephesians 6:10-20; NRSVue
In case we haven’t received notice, we’re in a spiritual battle whether we realize it or not. This battle, while spiritual definitely has ramifications on the ground. It addresses principalities and powers which not only engage persons, but systems. At the heart of it is Christ and the gospel of Christ, which actually is what the whole armor of God is tied to. God gives strength to that end. And that good news is about freeing all who are in bondage, the bondage of sin, and also giving the freedom to follow Christ in this world.
Any system which is not of this good news in Christ, not tied to or a part of God’s kingdom and rule in Christ is suspect. In fact systems which seek to impose standards of virtue and goodness and mark characteristics that are not supposedly good, short of working at stopping violence, are worse than suspect. They are indeed part of the problem, oftentimes with religion backing them, in our own context: church and state.
We have nothing to fear in Christ, in the good news in him. It will prevail after all else has failed or has been judged in the end for what it actually is. We are together in this, it’s not only an individual, daily matter, not even primarily, though it does include that. This directive is addressed to the church, very much for today, yes on the ground, down to earth where we live. God’s victory in Christ ultimately the winner.