Ephesians 6:14-17 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Paul is writing to the congregation that he served, so far as we know, longer than any other. By his own testimony Paul served in Ephesus for three years. In most cases Paul was only there for a matter of days and then he pushed on. The great Apostle planted churches all across the Roman Empire. Having such a strong investment in the church at Ephesus Paul wanted them to be sure they were able to defend themselves against the enemy.
I praise God that Paul had this concern because it led him to write this excellent book we call “Ephesians”! We desperately need today to have the kind of spiritual strength Paul and his readers seem to have had. This section of the letter is a transition from practical direction for the family and for a Christian relationship in the community.
The section begins with, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10). The strength we received from the Lord includes the whole armor of God. Which will allow us to stand against the schemes of the devil. So we look at the individual pieces that the apostle saw beginning with…
The belt of truth. Let’s look at Colossians 1:3-5. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel.
The belt holds everything together. Anytime a person goes into combat he, or she, will need a good sturdy belt. According to Paul’s letter to the Colossians the truth is identified as “the gospel”.
When the Roman governor, Pilate, was given the responsibility of serving as the judge in Jesus’ kangaroo court trial. In questioning Jesus, Pilate In questioning Jesus asked, “So you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” This statement by Jesus caused Pilate to ask, “What is truth?” (John 18:34).
Truth is absolutely necessary for any of the armor to work. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit Is the Spirit of Truth. He promised that after he left the earth the Spirit of truth would come and guide them into all truth (John 15:26).
In Jesus’ high priestly prayer he asked the Father to sanctify his disciples in the truth. Then he says, “your word is truth” (John 17:17). Therefore we can expect that the gospel, based on the word of God, is grounded in truth and in fact is the truth that we put on as our belt in preparation for spiritual warfare. Above the belt is…
The breastplate of righteousness. Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 5:21. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I am so grateful that we do not have to “work up” righteousness. The best we could do along that path would be like showing up at a fancy party in ragged and dirty clothes. Isaiah described our righteousness in the following words “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Isaiah 64:6a). The breastplate is very important because it covers most of our vital organs. The heart and lungs are covered by the breastplate. In order to have a breastplate of righteousness we turn to Jesus. God made him to be sin so that he could pay sin’s wage on the cross, paying our debt, and setting us free. The righteousness that we have is not something that we have earned or would ever be able to earn. In order for us to have spiritual righteousness we have to come to Christ and believe into him. And when that happens Christ becomes for us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, (1 Corinthians 1:30). Since we have put on the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness it is essential that we have…
Shoes to carry the Gospel. Let’s look at Isaiah 52:7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The Roman soldiers had a very special kind of shoe, or sandal, that was fitted perfectly to the foot and securely strapped up onto the calf. The sandal had many iron spikes protruding through the sole giving the soldier the ability to stand and fight.
Spiritually speaking, we need the kind of shoe that will allow us to carry the gospel wherever we go.
I’m reminded of Jesus’ great commission! Let me paraphrase it. Jesus said that all authority in the spiritual world and on earth was given to him. As a result of that those who believe in him should go in that authority and disciple the nations. The word that we translate “go” could, and perhaps should, be translated “as you go”. Wherever we go the world around us should be changed. Too often it is the Christian that is changed as they are going! We should not be overwhelmed by the world rather we should be transformed by the renewal of our mind. When we are we will be able to see more clearly God’s will for the world we live in.
With truth wrapped around our waist and righteousness from God covering our chest and sturdy shoes making us able to stand against all that the enemy throws against us we can take up…
The shield of faith. Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
The typical Roman personal shield was made of thick oak and covered with leather. As a result of its construction it could stop arrows and even flaming darts. Our shield is not constructed of wood and leather it is constructed of faith!
The writer of Hebrews tells us what faith is. Faith is believing that God exists and that he rewards those who reach out to him. I have to offer a word of caution given to us by James, the Lord’s half-brother. He said, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder” (James 2:19). That knowledge does not mean that the demons are saved. Knowledge alone is not enough.
Knowing the facts and agreeing with them is just not enough. Nicodemus knew that Jesus had come from God. This did not mean that Nicodemus had saving faith. He still had to put his trust in Christ for salvation! He had to believe in him! Knowing about God and agreeing with that knowledge does not constitute faith. King Agrippa was confronted with the gospel when he was examining the apostle Paul. Paul asked him if he believed the prophets and then added, “I know that you believe” (Acts 26:27) the king’s reply to Paul shows us that he did not have faith.
Knowing the facts and agreeing with them are steps in the right direction. Someone has quoted saving faith as “trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God.” Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, P 710.
Saving faith is not just a belief in facts but a personal trust in Jesus to save me. An unbeliever becomes aware that sin has separated him or her from the fellowship with God that we were made to have. That awareness of separation is designed to cause the unbeliever to come to Christ so that he or she can enter into a genuine relationship with God that will last forever.
Faith is not simply believing in the existence of Jesus or even that he died on the cross for our sins. At the same time faith is certainly not a leap in the dark! It is not believing something that is clearly not true. Biblical faith is a personal trust that God will do what he said he would.
In the beginning of his Gospel, John said that all who received him who believed in his name receive the power to become children of God (John 1:12). So, when we think of…
The helmet of salvation. We should turn to John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
At one time John 3:16 was the most commonly known and most often quoted verse in Scripture. Today, people seldom quote Scripture out of a probable fear of rejection by society in general. Hopefully we are now coming into a period of time when the word of God will be more acceptable in public. The helmet of salvation that we receive from God protects the most vital organ — the brain! I suspect that our souls live in our brain. I don’t know how to prove it but it seems certainly logical to me.
Our faith in Christ is based on more than his having been sent into the world. Our personal faith in Christ is based on his having taken our sin to the cross, and burying it in a grave and leaving it there. He took our sins into his own body and nailed it to the cross. Therefore, we are able to believe into him and receive eternal life. The prophet Micah wrote, “He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You (referring to God) will cast all our sins into the depth of the sea” and Miss Corrie ten Boom said that God posted a “NO FISHING” sign over them.
The word of God is essential to our faith. Therefore it is very important that we understand that it is trustworthy as well. Throughout Scripture we are told that the Bible’s words are completely true and without error. The Bible is God’s word and it tells us that God cannot lie! The words of God are like pure silver refined in a furnace. The original manuscripts does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact. Having protected our vital organs and having put on the belt of truth we see that the Bible is…
The sword of the Spirit. Let’s turn to Hebrews 4:12. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
After nearly 2000 years of examination the Bible stands out as the truth. There are constantly attempts being made to proclaim the Bible as a book of myth. After all that time there is no strong candidate for a book or letter to be added to the Bible and there is no strong objection to any book presently in the Bible.
There are a good number of books or letters written in the early centuries of the church none of which have the quality of the included books. I am so grateful to God that he has given us a book that is alive and active enabling us to know the mind of God. Everything we need to know is found in this book — the word of God! You can trust its veracity!
The prophet Jeremiah characterized the word of God as being like fire which consumes its enemies and like a hammer that breaks up opposition. (Jeremiah 23:29) It’s very important that we know what the Bible has to say. If we know what the Bible says, even if we do not understand it at the moment, when we need it we will understand it and be able to apply it to our personal situations. The word of God calls upon us to believe into the Lord Jesus Christ. And such belief produces salvation. Don’t put off trusting in Jesus. Let today be your day of salvation. And having assurance of salvation take your stand and see the salvation of God.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society