Ephesians 6:10-20Read Text
What is the Armor of God? It’s obviously not literal, physical armor which we pull from the closet and put on while we drink our coffee and get ready for work. I also don’t believe it is something we have to “mentally” put on literally through prayer. Yes, we pray about such things as spiritual warfare because it is real. What I mean is that I don’t believe the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write this section so that we would go through some mental checklist in prayer, such as: “I take up the helmet of salvation today.”, “God, I now fasten on the belt of truth.”, and so on.
This passage isn’t about us and what we are to do anyway. Yes, I know it is a command for us to “put on” the armor, but what does that mean? What is he saying? What is the armor? How does this help me practically to stand against the devil and his schemes? It’s easy to tell someone who is struggling in a difficult season to just “Put on the Armor of God, brother and you’ll be alright.”. It gets more difficult when someone asks “I agree, but how?”.
I believe the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle Paul, is giving us a great word-picture of how these important concepts of our Christian faith work in our lives to protect us. Concepts such as truth, faith, salvation, righteousness, etc. are hard to grasp sometimes. But when someone who truly understands those concepts, or better yet, created said concepts, tells you “It’s not exactly like this, but a lot like this, and this is why it’s important.”. Then we begin to understand and can grow in that understanding.
I believe this is just another way of stating what he has already said to us so many times in the New Testament. We are to “put on the new self” (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) or “put on Christ” (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27). In the same way we “put on the whole armor of God”. We need to stop making it about us and putting on “our armor”. This is about us standing steadfast in faith in the One who has already defeated our enemies!
Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is our righteousness. It is His gospel which gives us His peace. Our faith is in Him and His work for us, and He gives us the faith as a gift as well! He is the One who has purchased our salvation. And it is His Word we use in defense against attacks as we stand. It’s still all about Him! As we pray, we pray in the Spirit with supplication (pleading, not decreeing and declaring). It’s only through faith in Christ (which He gives) that we have the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us. And only through His work on out behalf that we can even be heard by a holy God, our Father. God did it all! The Father sent His Son. The Son willfully, loving came to suffer, die, rise again and redeem us into His family. The Son sent the Spirit who also lovingly, willfully comes to give us faith in Christ and point us to Him for everything. The Son, our Lord Jesus, intercedes for us and presents us to the Father (now His and ours) covered in His own righteousness. The Father willingly, lovingly, mercifully accepts us into His family and gives us eternal life with triune God!
We are to be actively growing in this faith. To put on the armor of God is to put on Christ. We should seek to grow in knowledge and understanding of Him and His gospel. This should in turn begin to show in our lives as increased holiness and obedience to Him and His Word. Inwardly, putting on the armor looks like having our minds renewed and conformed to the Word of Truth, disciplining ourselves for righteousness, praying for the Spirit’s help and guidance daily, etc. It looks outwardly like… well, the fruit of the Spirit.
Let’s stop making it about us. Let’s stop making it more complicated than it is. Our job is to trust in Christ, grow in understanding of God as He has revealed Himself in His Word (leading to obedience & holiness), and use the strength the Holy Spirit gives us to… stand firm.