Scripture Reading: Ephesians 6:13-18, esv
The Apostle makes use of metaphoric language pertaining to the implements of warfare that were common to a Roman Soldier to get his point across. Soldier Sam will help us track through the armor of God, understanding what it is, and how it is useful.
Belt of Truth: If you been around the KJV much, you’ve likely heard the phrase “…gird up your loins….” It’s a very strange statement in our culture, but it has a very practical meaning.
Borrowing from that imagery, Paul likens the TRUTH of God’s Word to a BELT that secures the LOOSE thoughts and emotions that can trip us up when we engage a hostel world.
The Apostle Peter also used this imagery in 1 Peter 1:13, NKJV
Like the free-flowing garment, our minds can live in the realm of undisciplined, unrestrained thinking can take us to places that isn’t conducive to being alert and ready for spiritual attacks upon the mind.
Your mind is one of Satan’s most successful places to attack.
TRUTH POINT: How one thinks impacts how one lives.
This is why Paul calls for a renewing of the mind in Romans 12:1.
KNOW THIS: attack on your thinking is inevitable. 1 Timothy 4:1
Psalm 119:11 gives us the answer.
Commit these passages to memory and meditate, so you can fend of attacks to your thinking when they come.
Satan says temptation is too strong, you can’t help yourself: 1 Corinthians 10:13
Satan says you’ve sinned one too many times, God’s grace is gone, only condemnation remains. Romans 8:1
Look at all the trouble you are going through, Satan says. Where is God’s love? If He loved you He would fix this problem. Romans 5:8
To be fighting fit in the spiritual realm means that our minds are firmly secured by the BELT OF TRUTH.
The BreastPlate of Righteousness
Often made from leather with overlapping slices of animal hooves or metal pieces sown on, the breastplate protects the heart, lungs, intestines from invasion of the enemy’s sword.
Now the BREASTPLATE in this context has a direct connection with the BELT OF TRUTH in that the Jews saw the HEART as representing the mind & will and the BOWELS seat of emotions.
Paul draws upon this imagery to convey the idea that “righteousness” protects our mind & emotions from spiritual attack.
Let’s define what Paul means by “righteousness.”
· NOT referring to self-righteousness - Isaiah 64:6
· NOT referring to the imputed righteousness of Christ - 2 Cor. 5:21
· The righteousness referred to here is what is called “practical righteousness.”
o Practical righteousness is our faithful obedience to the instructions of God’s Word.
o When we choose to hear and heed God’s Word our obedience becomes like a breastplate, protecting our mind and emotions from the accusations of Satan concerning our unworthiness of God’s love
How many times I have thought to myself, or heard another believer bemoan the fact that we are unworthy of God’s love. True enough, but that is not the point!
Despite unworthiness, God has chosen, in Christ, to give us His love and He wants us to know that love and live confidently in it.
Truth Point: God’s love for His children is never in question… It is a constant. However, when we are lax in our obedience, our conscience is damaged and our ability to enjoy the experience of His love, is hampered.
This becomes a point of attack where Satan can accuse us because he knows our transgressions and as he accuses, we begin to side with him, agreeing that God could not possibly love us and we begin to doubt.
Truth is: God’s love is right there, never flagging, never failing… Laminations 3:22-23 …but when our heart is damaged by the sword of accusation it can be difficult to enjoy God’s mercies because we are living in the fog of confusion over our spiritual injuries.
God puts on our imputed righteousness, we must put on our practical righteousness
Shoes of The Gospel of Peace
Do not forget that the reason Paul is instructing us on the armor is because God wants us to STAND on the ground of Victory and Freedom that Jesus won for us. To STAND on that ground, our spiritual feet must be covered in The Gospel
Soldier Sa: I am told his shoes were important because of the difficult terrain soldiers were required to walk. If his feet got cut up from the rocks he couldn’t fight. His shoes protected him from the rough places he walked.
But, there’s another aspect to Soldier Sam’s shoes that speaks not to walking, but to STANDING. Little spikes affixed to the shoe, gave him traction so that he could better STAND his ground when fighting off an offensive onslaught.
This is The Gospel’s impact for the child of God.
The Gospel is the good-news that God is not asking us to make ourselves acceptable to Him to receive His love and acceptance. Instead, Jesus took on our unacceptability at the cross, He paid the price, took our punishment, absorbed our death and then rose to life with sin, Satan and death under His feet.
When a sinner turns away from sin by faith and embrace the righteousness of Jesus, His righteousness, purity, and acceptability is laid upon us and God sees us through His Son.
That’s why Paul refers to it as “The Gospel of Peace”
What Jesus accomplished for sinners brings peace between God and sinners, making sinners into dearly loved sons and daughters of God. Romans 5:1-2
We find that when we STAND in The Gospel, which makes peace between us and God, we STAND in the…
…confidence of His LOVE,
…confident that we are UNITED with Him,
…confident in His COMMITMENT to fight on our behalf.
The Armor of God is NOT a one time for all time suiting up. Each day we are called to:
· Cinch up the Belt of Truth,
· Strap on the Breastplate of Righteousness,
· Lace up the Shoes of The Gospel of Peace.
You ask: What does that mean exactly?
· …each day you are rehearsing truths of God’s Word in your mind so that His truth is at your fingertips when you are tempted to believe Satan’s lies.
· …each day when God’s instruction comes before you, you surrender yourself to it, giving yourself to obedience to Christ’s commands.
· ...daily you preach The Gospel to yourself, that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin… that you are not called to earn God’s approval… In Christ you already have it and you rest in it.
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