Wickedness is abroad in our world. For this reason Jesus prayed for His disciples that the Father would not “take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil” (Jn. 17:14). This makes it necessary that we properly arm ourselves against Satan, his servant and sin. If you have not read Part I on this subject please find the address on the last page and request a copy. It is in answer to a query of a reader that the subject has and is being broached. It is thought that the best way to do this is to examine the Christian’s Armor as presented by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians Chapter six beginning with verse ten. The last paper concluded with verse twelve, so, it is with the next verse that this one begins.
Verse 13. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day. And having done all, to stand.” The point is made that we have done all to stand in the evil day—the day of crisis—the day of temptation and decision—the day of trial and persecution. He does not tell us that we are to have done all to sit down—nor having done all to lie down—but stand! Stand prepared, do not grow confident or indifferent. Always stand guard. Drawing from the soldier who is on guard, we must be alert to every movement, every sound and to everything that might potentially be or appear to be a threat. The enemy may come from any place at any time, and more often than not from the very place where he is not expected. If there is a weak point and the enemy learns of it be assured that will be the point of attack. The soldier must be aware of his strengths, but more so of his weaknesses. Remember when Peter was unaware of his weaknesses, that made him vulnerable. Jesus forewarned Peter and the rest, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.” But Peter would have none of it. “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, Yet will I never be offended.” (Mt. 26:31 & 33). In a few short hours, “Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.” (Vs. 69-70). This was repeated two more times with Peter denying more vehemently each time (Vs71-75). Be extra cautious where we are weak is the admonition. In those days when a soldier was caught asleep on guard duty he was instantly put to death. A vivid reminder to every Christian. The Devil not only attacks when we least expect it, but also where we are least prepared. Be assured that Satan knows our weak points and so should we. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). Fortifying ourselves is most important for all of us. Run, Fight, Walk, Stand—these are the positions that Christians must occupy as we make our pilgrimage in the world. Rest, Peace, Quiet Observation, Sitting—are reserved for us in Heaven when all conflicts and dangers will be past and forgotten by all the chosen of God. Look forward to that day when our weapons of warfare can be laid aside and the enemy need not be faced again. Until then remember, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
THE SPECIFICS OF THE CHRISTIANS ARMOR
Verse 14. “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.”
Roman soldiers were seen in every city and colony therefore his armor was well known to each citizen, much as is the equipment of a football player’s is known to today’s sports enthusiast. Paul takes the various pieces of the soldier’s equipment and applies it to our spiritual outfitting.
‘Having your loins girt about with truth.” The Roman soldier’s girdle was usually made of leather often ornamented with clasps of gold or silver. It reached around the body and sometimes had an extension across the shoulder. Its purpose was to keep the other articles of equipment in place as the soldier moved forward or stood in place during the heat of battle. As the battle was about to begin he would “gird up” or tighten his girdle to make sure everything remained in place to allow him to move about or turn swiftly. “Truth” here is not objective truth (the gospel,) only, but what the soldier believed to be true, (the truth in his heart). The sincerity of his belief the soldier held in his heart was very important, as that is the thing he fought for. Jesus spoke of these as being “pure in heart,” without any reference to moral purity, but a sincere heart. Furthermore, the Lord had this in mind when He said “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Mt. 5:8 & 6:22). The single eye is the eye that looks with sincerity at the battle and the victory that is to come. The point Paul is making here is that we are to be sure what we are fighting for and that we must be ready or “girded” up at any moment to wrestle against evil, lest it overthrow us. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” And, “hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God.” (I Pet. 3:15, I Jn. 3:19-21). The truth is not ours because someone else believes it but because we believe it. We must always be alert and ever ready to use the truth as it alone can overcome the onslaught of the Evil One.
“Having on the breastplate of righteousness,” As the term “breastplate” implies this was fitted about the breast or chest. It was sometimes formed of linen or plates made from horns, but usually was made of leather, or metallic scales as bronze, often decorated with feathers and bound together with hinges or buckles allowing them to be fitted to the soldier’s body. Most often the breastplate was referred to as a “coat of mail.” The “breastplate” of the Christian is “righteousness,” reflecting back to the time of obedience to the gospel when justification was obtained from God as stated by Paul, “the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17). When the enemies of God’s people sent their fiery darts to strike the heart of Christians they would “ping” (as it were), to the ground. Let the enemy talk, lie, slander, gainsay the truth, or whatever, we have no need to retaliate—we need only to live right. “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I Jn. 3:7). Doing right is necessary and consistent with righteousness as it protects us in the eyes of our Father who alone will judge us. (See Rom. 8:31-39).
Verse 15. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” This piece of equipment was not so much as to protect from the enemy but was to make sure the soldier could arrive at the battle site and be able to stand his ground during the conflict. The Roman soldier was literally a “foot soldier” making it extremely necessary for long and arduous journeys. His life consisted of two things, namely marching and battle. He was either going to a battle as swiftly as possible or standing and fighting to hold his ground to defeat the enemy in order to take new territory. His feet therefore were very important and often more important than any other piece of equipment. After all what use was a soldier if he could not make it to the battle? What benefit was he if his feet were discomforted to the point that he had to sit? The Christian likewise is either moving to engage in battle or is defending the territory gained. Our commander declared, “Go ye therefore, and teaching all nations,” again, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” As we go we are to conquer by bringing men into the fold of the Lord. “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” as “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” (See Mt. 28:18 & Mk. 16:16). Of the early preachers we are reminded, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:15). The Christian soldier is also to stand his ground. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 3-4). ”Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” (I Cor. 16:13). All the admonition revealed for Christians in our conduct and actions demand that our feet be properly shod so that we can stand or march rather than find a padded seat to recline upon.
Our feet are covered with “the gospel of peace.” This has reference to the work the Christian does. Sin is abroad in the world and must be destroyed. The cure for sin is the “gospel,” good news, or glad tidings of Jesus Christ. The gospel is declared to be the “power of God” unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). The Christian knows this by what was preached to him but more, he is aware of the transforming power of the gospel as it came about in his own life. Therefore, it is this wonderful story that he willingly shares with others. Unlike the soldiers of this world that conquer to enhance themselves and their people the gospel creates “peace.” The establishment of the church meant that the Kingdom of Peace had come to the world. When the time came for Prince Immanuel to be enthroned the Prophet Isaiah said, “he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isa. 2:4). The implements formally used to create discord and disjunction between the Jews and Gentiles were to be turned into instruments of cultivation. At Jesus birth His mission of peace was sung by angels to the shepherds in the field, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men,” (Lk.2:14). The work of the Apostles and early preachers was the great undertaking of preaching the gospel to make peace among those who were spiritual enemies. The Lord’s will was set forth early in His ministry. He sat on a little mountain setting forth the challenge, “Blessed” said He, “are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Mt. 5:9). The Gospel was first preached to the Jews, (Acts 2:38), then declared to the Samaritans (Acts 8), and finally to the Gentiles (Acts 10). Rather than create a separate body, church or kingdom for each segment, they were created anew to dwell in one—single body, church or kingdom of Jesus Christ. War was over and peace now ensued. “Now in Christ Jesus ye who were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. (Eph. 2:13-15). All Christian soldiers must make sure that we are “shod” with the “gospel of peace” allowing all to know that the Prince of Peace reigns in the world. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Emp. Mine BO, Isa. 9:6). Woe to those that disturb the peace of Zion. (Continued later)
Barney Owens 1612
One of the best gifts we can present to our fellow human beings is something for them to seriously think about