So, I’ve blogged a bit about all the troubles we see around us, and as my brothers and sisters in Christ know, we are to put on the whole armor of God… but what does that really mean? What are the references to this armor in scripture? Do you know Paul did not originate the idea, nor was he the first to write about it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Let’s take a look;
Ephesians 6: 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
So, in Ephesians we have Truth as a garment that is girded (tied for war), Righteousness as a breastplate, the Gospel as boots, Faith as a shield, Salvation as a helmet, the word of God as a sword. Let’s dig in a bit to the words here;
First, truth is an easy one, in the Greek alḗtheia, which is just as we would read it, simply truth. Unchanging fact, and that truth is tied up, girded, as a garment around the “loins.” The loins in Jewish thought represented (and were) the seat of procreative power. Truth protects the future of the people of God. We are to be draped in Truth, and when in war, gird it around us to aid in battle.
Next, we have a Breastplate, covering the thorax and it is Righteousness. Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosýnē, and is “right-ness.” It is union with God in the sense of having been made “right” and “upstanding” in relation to Him. Of course, we believe that is the righteousness granted to us by Christ, by His Righteousness. So, that covers the thorax; the lungs that breath, the heart that pumps the blood. It covers your vitals, and the heart is seen to be the seat of thought in Jewish teaching. The air we breath, the thoughts that make us “us,” and the very blood pumping through our veins is to be covered in Right-ness.
For a foot covering we have the Gospel of peace. Gospel is euangélion in the Greek, and you should recognize that; evangelize. Are feet are protected and bound up with the Gospel. In Jewish description, disciples sat at the feet of the teacher. As we go forth and as we teach others, the first and most important thing to present is the Gospel of Christ; the good news/tidings of Christ. Further, the Gospel acts to protect us on our journey. Even when we are just walking and not fighting, the gospel protects us because it is covering our steps. Peace… the gospel is the good news of how to have peace with the Creator of all.
After that is the shield, which is faith. In the Greek pistis, faith, is trusting with great confidence. It isn’t head knowledge, it is reliance on something, and it can have different targets. For the Christian it is God. In this context it acts to shield us, and is so powerful it doesn’t just stop normal “arrows” but can actually quench the fire that is riding on the arrows. One of the drawbacks of many shields was that the arrows raining down would “stick” into the shield, and if they were lit with fire, you would have this fire clinging to you. The shield of faith takes care of the heat and flame, it will not touch you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
The helmet is next, and is salvation. Soterion is salvation in the Greek. Salvation protects your brain. Remember what the Lord said? A fool hath said in his heart there is no God. The mind is a tricky thing, as well as the heart. We can over think things and even confuse ourselves because we are so sure we are brilliant. Salvation cuts right to the point and keeps one humble; you can’t save yourself, and if you are smart, you will believe in God. With salvation comes the gift of the Holy Spirit, and He changes us (including our minds) from the inside out, and protects us from the outside in.
Finally is your weapon; the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We forget that a sword is both offensive weapon and defensive armor, in the sense that you block oncoming attacks, not just with your shield or other wearable pieces of armor, but also with your weapon. Notice that Paul tell us we have to “take up” the armor, including the sword. It’s not just something “there.” If you want a weapon you need to know the word. That means time and effort in order to become armed.
Isaiah had a few things to say about armor;
Isaiah 59:15 Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the Lord saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice. 16 And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede; Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him. 17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate, And a helmet of salvation on His head; And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle. 18 According to their deeds , so He will repay, Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; To the coastlands He will make recompense.
Notice the similarities? Notice the differences? Breastplate/Righteousness, and Helmet/Salvation is the same. Notice this is the Armor of God Himself, it is what He wears. What is different? He also has garments of vengeance, and a mantle of zeal. We don’t have the same thing, we aren’t to take up vengeance, and God’s zeal, His passion and jealousy aren’t a part of our armor or our clothing, they are His. We learn elsewhere, in Revelation, that He also has a sharp sword coming out of His mouth; the word of the Lord.
Last but not least, read Paul again, and think on this;
Romans 13: 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
And now, to the crux of the command; put on the armor of Light. And what does that mean; put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Folks, we are living in a war zone, the deeds of darkness are all around us, but we have been given access to the armor of Light. Put on the whole armor of God, be active in it. Don’t mistake our clothing for His, we have what we need, we only need to accept and utilize what has been provided for us. If you haven’t put on the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, my prayer is that you will do so soon.
Grace and peace to all those covered in Him,