Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
I. THE CHARACTER OF THE GREAT ADVERSARY. St. Paul here calls him the devil. He is also spoken of in other parts of the Bible as Abaddon, Beelzebub, Belial, the Dragon, the Evil One, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, the Prince of this World, the Prince of the Power of the Air, Satan, Apollyon, and the God of this World. Although fallen beings, they, like the Angels of Light, "still excel in strength" (Psalm 103:20), and are far "greater in power and might" (2 Peter 2:11) than any of the sons of men.
II. THE NATURE OF HIS DEVICES. Having once been pure and holy, the lost Archangel realizes the greatness of his fall; and grief, anger, and revenge, all combine to render him the bitter enemy of everything good. Hence, all his arts are directed to one end, viz., to draw us away from God, and to accomplish our ruin. And very wonderful and successful is the mode of his warfare. Acting upon the rule of expediency, he never begins his assaults by a direct contradiction of the truth, but by a qualified admission of its claims, he seems to agree with his victim, while he is only making ready to come down upon him in an unguarded quarter. It might reasonably be supposed that one who ventured to make war in heaven is a skilful and experienced leader, whose craft and boldness would render him a dangerous enemy upon earth. "The wiles of the Devil" are marked by all those characteristics which prove him to be a most treacherous and deadly foe. His forces are scattered over the world, busy in executing his commands, and all our weaknesses are spied out, and the corresponding enticements presented. Naturalists report that when the chameleon stretches itself on the grass to catch flies and grasshoppers, it assumes a green colour to prevent detection; and that the polypus changes himself into the sombre hue of the rock, under which he lurks, that the fish may come within his reach without suspicion of danger. And thus the devil, in spreading his net for unwary Christians, turns himself into the shape which they least suspect, and allures them with temptations most agreeable to their natures.
III. THE MEANS BY WHICH HIS DANGEROUS WILES MAY BE WITHSTOOD. Our strength is perfect weakness; but the good and gracious Lord is ready to "open His armoury" (Jeremiah 1.25) and equip those who acknowledge their helplessness and seek for His sustaining grace. This armour is given for use, and if we expect any benefit from it we must not delay to "put it on."
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.