The Lord’s Battle: Putting on the armor of God
Though we can never lose our salvation—nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord—we can nevertheless be gravely wounded in our spiritual life. But know this: There are no Christian mercenaries to fight on our behalf. Each of us must take up the armor of God. This is not a task reserved for the super-spiritual among us. All who bear the name of Christ are to be soldiers in His cause, and we require armor to be protected from the battle that wages around us.
We are to take up the whole armor of God — a phrase meant to suggest that it provides complete protection from every angle of attack. It is after having put on all the armor that a believer is equipped to stand firm. There is much that can be said about this armor, and you can find a great deal of resources on this passage. For our purpose, we will focus on the more principle aspects of how the Christian is protected from the schemes of the devil. It was an important piece of the armor, which other pieces fastened onto and which also held his sword.
Christians must hold to what is true because the truth gives us a firm foundation on which to stand for Jesus Christ.
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What is truth? Scripture is. Your word is truth.
Scripture should have an effect on the way we live, raise our kids, do business, vote, and engage our communities. We are trying to rescue those who have been ensnared by false teaching, theological or otherwise. We must be loving yet uncompromising when it comes to truth. To do anything less would be to chip away at our own foundation, the result of which could only be our downfall. We are to live righteously. To be a Christian and walk in a way unworthy of the calling to which we have been called is to march into battle with a chink in your armor. But there is another sense in which the Christian puts on this piece of armor.
When we are made righteous through faith in Christ, we are forever made right with God. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blessed assurance control; That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul. Image Credit. This righteousness that becomes our breastplate is a rightness with God which can only be obtained through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This righteousness brings us peace. These boots, called caligae , had heavy soles with hobnails in them to provide traction for the wearer.
Similarly, the peace of the gospel is what equips us to travel over rough roads as we carry this same gospel to others. It was about the size of a refrigerator door. This was at a time when average height was just over 5 feet, so this was a large shield that gave a great deal of protection. Similarly, faith shields believers from many troubles. These troubles are compared to darts. Darts are an especially helpful illustration as a weapon of Satan. This is not one of hand to hand combat; it is a projectile.
By nature, it is launched from a distance to strike its mark unexpectedly. Like a dart, strong temptations and sinful thoughts come upon us suddenly. Sin seeks to pierce your defenses and inflame lust, pride, anger, contempt, or any number of sinful reactions. But the Roman soldier was not only up against darts, but these darts were often set on fire before being sent out—making them even more dangerous. These were not quite darts as we think of them, nor were they simply lit arrows.
They were more like specially prepared spears that were lit before being launched and designed to spread flamable liquid on the enemy.
Armor of God from the Old Testament
To combat these flaming darts, shields were wet down before battle. If they were not, the shields would be set ablaze. Similarly, when temptations to sin hit their mark, they can set our minds and hearts ablaze with wicked thoughts and desires. This is why we must use the shield of faith, which can extinguish these fiery darts. When temptations come, are we going to believe what the devil says, or are we going to believe God in faith? This is what took place in the garden.
Would Eve believe what the serpent told her—that God was withholding something good from her—or would she believe God? The shield of faith extinguishes the fiery darts when we trust the promises of God, when we know that He is exceedingly more precious than anything that may be sacrificed in His service. So you can start to see how well we are protected by our armor.
The Armor of God
Like a helmet covering our head, our salvation protects us from being dealt a deathblow. Those who are in Christ cannot ultimately be defeated by Satan. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As has been said by others, Christians do not fight for victory, we fight from a position of victory.
Preparation for Personal Revival
But we have not been equipped only for defense but for offense. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We are told that the sword is the very Word of God, given to us by the Holy Spirit. This is an especially helpful illustration because a sword is a weapon used both for offense and defense. So is Scripture. We must not be afraid to use Scripture against any opinion, ideology, or worldview which would place itself in contention with the Word of God.
And so it is with the Sword of the Spirit. We use it to defend ourselves against error and outright attacks on the truth of God by knowing and wielding Scripture. Is this not exactly what we saw Jesus do when tempted by Satan in the wilderness?
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In Matthew 4, Satan tries to tempt Jesus with allurements of food, pride, and power. Can you see how vitally important it is to guard your time in the Word? To intentionally set apart a portion of your day to reading Scripture? This is why we must read our Bibles.
We must study the Word. We must conform our lives to its truth. We need to be memorizing Scripture so that it will be readily available when attacks come. We should meditate on it day and night. No wonder there are a hundred other distractions that get in the way of our time in the Word!
No wonder the Bible is attacked as an ancient book with little relevance today. We must start seeing these things for what they are: calls for us to drop our sword. But we must not do this. What soldier gives up his weapon in the midst of a battle? We cannot put aside our Bible as we engage with others.
To do so is to set aside that which God has given for defending truth and liberating others from deception. What are we doing when we pray? We are approaching the very throne of the holy, almighty, Triune God — the Creator of all things. The God who spoke the universe into existence.
Armor of God: What is it?
The God who made the mountains and the seas. The God who created man from the dust of the earth; the God who parted the Red Sea; God whose sent His Son to deliver us from sin and death. God is eternal, unchanging, all-powerful, all-holy, and sovereign over all things.
And we get to approach his throne in prayer! We pray because through prayer we have access to the throne of grace, where we speak to the One who sustains us. Remember, we rely on His strength. Not just in hard times, when trouble surrounds us and courage fails us. We are to be people of prayer, in both good times and in bad. I will not leave a trail of tension and apprehension. I will leave tracks of peace and stability everywhere I go. I now take up the sheild of faith , Lord.
My faith is in You and You alone.