In our message, THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD (Eph. 6:14-17), we continued to look at the Lord’s final words to us in Ephesians on being strong in Him and the power of His might. This is because, while Christ defeated sin and death at the cross, the Bible also shows us we are in a cosmic struggle with “principalities… of darkness” today until the Lord returns (Eph. 6:10-11; Gen 3; Col. 2:14-15; John 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19; Rom. 16:20; Phil. 2: 10-11; Rev. 11:15; 19:1-20:3, etc.).
Twice, with urgency, God tells us to “put on” or “take up THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD” (Eph. 6:11, 13). Putting on His armor is really putting on Christ (Eph. 4:24; Isa. 59:17; John 14:6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 2:14; Gal. 2:20; Luke 2:30; John 1:1, 14; Rom. 13:11-14, etc.). A Christian who “puts on” Christ will not only “stand” his ground today, but also “take” territory for the Lord’s kingdom in “this present evil age” (Eph. 6:14, 17; Gal. 1:4, etc.).
Six pieces of armor are listed here for God’s “soldiers” in the spiritual battle set before us (2 Tim. 2:3-4):
The belt of “truth” (Eph. 6:14)
“Having girded your waist with truth…” To ‘gird’ oneself is to prepare for activity (1 Pet. 1:13). It also deals with freedom of movement (Gal. 5:1; Rom. 6:16, etc.). Before a Roman solider put on his armor, he put a belt around his waist. This held his garments together and served as a place with which to hang his sword and other gear. The belt of truth is NOT knowing facts about the Bible but a believer’s integrity and faithfulness. It is the Word of God APPLIED/ i.e. wisdom (1 John 1:9; Eph. 4:15, 25; James 1:12-25; 1 Cor. 10:12-14, etc.)
– A dishonest Christian will not be able to “stand” against the “wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11, 14)
The breastplate of righteousness (Eph. 6:14b)
The breastplate in Roman times went completely around the body, so that the back of a warrior was also protected. The breastplate represents the practical, righteous character and deeds of a Christian (Eph. 2:10; Rev. 19:7-8, etc.). It does not refer to justification here, but to the sanctifying righteousness of Christ PRACTICED in a believer’s life (1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 6:13; 14:17, etc.) Once again, it is knowledge applied… It is the Bible lived out- not just heard (Heb. 5:14, etc.).
-Walking in the Spirit guards a child of God’s heart against the assaults of the devil (James 4:7, etc.).
The shoes of “the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15)
The Roman soldier’s feet were shod with hard, studded shoes. The gospel is both our firm foundation in which Christians are to stand and our marching orders from our commander in chief with which we are to advance His kingdom (1 Cor. 3:11; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts. 1:8, etc.). It is the way in which we are to “prepare” for battle because it is the only means by which a person can escape Satan’s kingdom by having his or her sins forgiven (Eph. 6:15; Col. 1:13-14; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; 14:6, etc.).
-We are for shoes to have “beautiful feet” (i.e. wherever we go) sharing verbally the Good News that Jesus “died for our sins… was buried, and… rose” from the dead- so people who are perishing can have “peace” with holy God before they meet Him (1 Cor. 15:3-4; Eph. 6:15; 2 Cor. 5:19-21; Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:13-15; Rev. 20:10-15, etc.)
“The shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16)
The shield of a Roman soldier was about 2 ½ feet wide, 4 feet long, and overlaid with linen and leather. This protected him and the rest of his armor underneath from spears, arrows, and even “fiery darts” (Eph. 6:16). The edges of these shields were also constructed in such a way that an entire line of soldiers could interlock shields and march into the enemy like a solid wall (John 13:35; Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:25; Gal. 5:13; 6:2; Eph. 4:15-16, etc.). Christians are NOT to battle alone (1 Pet. 5:8; Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 11:23-32, etc.).
-A Christian’s resolute faith in the Lord can stop and extinguish the flaming arrows “of the wicked one” (in the Greek. this is singular/masculine referring to “the devil” [and those under him]- Eph. 6:11-12, 16; 1 John 2:13; 3:12; Rom. 10:17; 2 Cor. 5:7, etc.).
“The helmet of salvation” (Eph. 6:17a)
The helmet made the Roman soldier look more impressive on the battle field, and- more importantly- it protected his brain. As God’s children, “we have the mind of Christ,” and the Bible shows “the helmet of salvation” is our sure “hope” promised by God (1 Cor. 2:16b; 1 Thes. 5:4-8, etc.). This is also our identity in Christ= the “Father… chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:3-4); in the Son “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;” (Eph. 1:7) and the Holy Spirit “seals” us “forever” as we “eagerly wait… for the adoption of our [physical/literal] body” when Jesus comes for us (Eph. 1:13-14; Rom. 8:23, 30, etc.). That is, we are heaven-bound by grace because all of our sins have been judicially and permanently forgiven at the cross- past, present and future (Eph. 2:5-9; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:24-26; Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:11, etc.). For a Christian, because he is under God’s grace, THERE IS NO SIN THAT IS UNFORGIVABLE, and nothing can separate us from God’s love (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 8:30-39; Heb. 13:5; Eph. 4:30b; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 11:31-32; Matt. 28:18-20, etc.).
-Christians have become God’s child by grace through faith forever (John 1:12-13), and that identity, which will never change because God “remains faithful,” is to guard our minds on the battlefield today (2 Tim. 2:1-4, 13, etc.).
“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17b)
The Roman sword was short and used for close-in fighting. In the same way, our sword, “the word of God” is used to “wrestle [close up] against… [the] powers… of the darkness of this age” (Eph. 6:12). It is the “Spirit” which gives the Word and empowers it as we use it (2 Tim. 3:16-17; John 6:63, etc.). And the Word as a “two-edged sword,” cuts both ways discerning “the thoughts and intents” of our hearts as well (Heb. 4:12-13). God’s Word is “powerful” and always accomplishes what it was sent out to do (Isa. 55:8-11).
To use the Word of God well, a Christian must be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18, etc.). This will lead us to a ‘seventh’ and final piece of armor needed for us to “stand…” (Eph. 6:18-20; Matt. 26:41; 2 Cor. 10:4-6, etc.).