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The Armor of God

The Bible tells us to put on the armor of God to withstand the wiles of the devil. We are not only to put it on - - we should keep it on. This is spiritual armor that has defensive and offensive armor, with each piece having it own features that require consistent training in its use. The Christian is to be fully armored and trained for combat but must understand which armor to put on first and then what to put on next. Since there is armor for both defensive and offensive action the Christian must also be trained in each.

Spiritual warfare is an unforgiving combat and one must not only be trained, but the training must be continuous, never ending. Paul uses the combat of a soldier in explaining spiritual warfare. If a soldier does not use his training for a period of time he must be retrained.

Paul had contact with the Roman army his entire life and was a Roman citizen. He had many dealings with the Roman legionnaires. He was delivered from a mob at Ephesus by a Roman soldier. One saved his life when a mob in Jerusalem wanted to kill him in the temple area. Paul was delivered out of the hands of the religious leaders in Jerusalem and brought to safety in Caesarea. Paul was escorted by Roman soldiers to Rome from Caesarea. He was delivered to the Praetorian Guard for his imprisonment by the Roman soldiers. The Roman soldiers maintained strict discipline and combat training, even the veterans.

When Paul wrote Ephesians it was during his house arrest in Rome and he was guarded by a centurion of the Praetorian Guard. Paul was very familiar with the Roman soldiers and used the Roman military as metaphors for the armor of God and in many other passages. For example, in Galatians 6:17 Paul referred to bearing in His body the mark of the Lord Jesus. At that time in the Roman military there was a mark or brand put on the back of the left hand of a soldier who had finished basic training and this was a high honor.

In Ephesians 6:10 Paul tells us to be strong, referring to inner strength or courage, in the Lord. Christians are to put on the full armor that God has supplied so that they may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, Ephesians 6:11. This moral courage comes from Christian growth or maturity that gives us biblical perception. This moral courage also comes from an inner peace, love for others, and a divine frame of reference. This battle is not one of the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God, 2 Corinthians 10:3-4. As Paul said in Ephesians 6:10 we are to be strong in the Lord for He is the source and strength of our training. This verse continues and says to be strong in the power, this is the inner power or self discipline that Christians find in the Lord.

In Ephesians 6:11 we are told to put on the armor of God, as a soldier will pick up his weapons and get them ready for use. This is the main source of strength in angelic conflict. This armor is mentioned several times in the Bible as the armor of righteousness, 2 Corinthians 6:7, and in Romans 13:11-14 it is called the armor of light which would mean an armor that has the character of God.

Standing is the first thing a Roman soldier learns in unarmed combat or martial arts. It is the first thing taught in judo and is how to break the stance of your opponent. Each believer is to be able to stand on his own and be armed with the spiritual gifts provided by God to fight against the forces of the devil. The devil always seeks to substitute something different for the grace and truth of Christ.

In Ephesians 6:12 Paul tells us that Christians are not at war with human beings but with demonic rulers of darkness and spirits of evil in high places. To wrestle means any kind of personal combat with the enemy and it is not with mankind. This implies a personal enemy and face to face, hand to hand combat to the finish. This conflict is with Satan and no tangible weapons can be effectively employed against Satan or his demons. Principalities refers to the highest rulers of demonic authority. “Against powers” refers to secondary groups of demonic rulers.

In Ephesians 6:13 Paul says because of this spiritual wickedness we should put this armor on every day and continue using it every minute of the day. We need God's full armor and no other weapons will do, 2 Corinthians 10:4. Wherefore, refers to the previous statement about spiritual warfare against the demons. God's weapons are provided and freely given so that we might be able to withstand in the evil of the day. The purpose of standing is so that we may hold our ground completely and victoriously.

In Ephesians 6:14 Paul tells us to “Stand therefore”, with the aim of victory. With your loins gird about with truth means being belted around your thighs with the military band of true integrity and sincerity. Paul is here giving us a comparison to the armor of a Roman soldier. The idea here is putting on the armor so that one can be outfitted and trained. A Roman soldier put on a large belt which held a lot of his equipment. One thing it held was the scabbard for the sword, others were for ropes, a rations sack, loops on the belt for darts. The belt was tied in several places so it would stay in place.

The Christian is to be gird about with truth, truth being the Word of God which is light from heaven that dispels darkness. Satan is the father of lies, John 8:44, and a lying tongue is one thing that God says is detestable to Him, Proverbs 6:16-17.

The believer is also to put on the “breastplate of righteousness” which protects the vital organs from assaults of the enemy. The breastplate provided protection for the upper torso, front and back. Then Paul continues on and calls the breastplate the “breastplate of righteousness”. This righteousness is the basic protection for the believer. The righteousness is the truth of God's word and the application of that truth. Without the breastplate of righteousness any attack against a believer would be deadly. With the breastplate any attack and all attacks are ineffective and useless. To be righteous is to do the right thing in God's eye, 1 John 3:4; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Psalm 119:172. It is not our righteousness but the righteousness of Jesus Christ, Isaiah 64:6.

In Ephesians 6:15 Paul tells us that we are not only to stand but to stand having our feet shod, or covered, with the preparation of the gospel of peace. The Roman soldier wore heavy soled sandals that had metal studs on the bottom for good footing on uneven or slippery ground. Here being prepared means to have firm footing for protection. It indicates that one should be ready, prepared to see duty and to do God's will and proclaim the gospel of peace. All believers are on the front line and are to be ready to minister the gospel. Knowledge of the basic doctrines of salvation is necessary for one to witness but one should also know about reconciliation, redemption, imputation, regeneration, and propitiation. Without these essentials one does not have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel.

The Bible mentions several kinds of gospels. The word gospel simply means good news but good news of what? There is the gospel of Jesus Christ, Mark 1:1, the gospel of the kingdom of God, Mark 1:14, the gospel of the grace of God, Acts 20:24, and the gospel of peace, Romans 10:15. Paul tells us of the gospel of peace in Romans 10:9-14.

In Ephesians 6:16 Paul tells us that in addition to all that we have taken in the previous verses to “above all” take up the shield of faith. The Roman soldier had a shield that was long, rectangular and covered the body from the knees to the chin. This shield protected him from arrows and spears and he could kneel behind it for protection from a barrage of arrows. For the believer this shield stands for their faith in the promises of God and is complete dependence on God, His presence and power. This faith puts God between the believer and the enemy. Then Paul says that with this faith the believer can quench all the fiery darts of the devil or the wicked one who is the source of the fiery darts.

Up till now we were to wear the armor but with the shield we are to take it up and use it. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Substance is something tangible and evidence is proof. So faith is real and an irrefutable truth. One is saved by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8. If Christians do as the Roman solders did, join their shields together, they become an unstoppable force. Christians need to build one another up with their faith and serve within the Body, they need to stand side by side and put their faith in God.

In Ephesians 6:17 Paul first tells us to take the helmet of salvation. Salvation is a present possession and we receive, or accept it, from God. Salvation delivers us from the eternal death penalty of sin and into God's kingdom. We have all sinned, Romans 3:23 and the penalty for that sin is death, Romans 6:23. Because of God's love for us, Christ died for us to pay for this penalty of sin, Romans 5:8-10. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, John 3:16-17; Romans 10:9-14.

The helmet protects the head from false teachings and gives the believer confidence in conflict. The head is the seat of the mind and it is our mind, our way of thinking, that needs preservation. Paul continues on and tells us to take the sword of the Spirit. This sword is one used in hand to hand combat and is sharp. We can see in Hebrews 4:12 that this had to be the machaira sword chosen by the Holy Spirit. This is the type of sword that uses thrusts instead of swords that use a cutting motion. The user of this sword is always covered and protected, on balance and ready for defense or offense.

The swords source is the Holy Spirit and is the Word of God. Jesus used this sword in the wilderness, Matthew 4:4-10. This sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:15 to study to shew ourselves approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. To be approved of God would be to pass an exam. For a Christian they must study and then apply what they have learned to be approved of God. Without this sword a believer is totally unprepared for battle.

In Ephesians 6:18 Paul tells us to pray without ceasing, to pray in the Spirit in addition to putting on the armor of God. By means of the Spirit we can access the spiritual strength of God. To list the tools that God gives us in this armor we first have the truth, then righteousness, then the gospel, then faith, then salvation, then the Word of God, and prayer. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Supplication means petition or special request of God. Christians especially need prayer in this spiritual warfare.



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