Friday, April 18, 2008

Armor ON!

From a spiritual standpoint, we live every minute of our entire lives on the battle field. This is why Paul commands us in Ephesians 6:10-20 to take up and put on the full armor of God. This is written in the imperative mood indicating that it is a command, not an option. The fact that this command is written in what is known in Greek grammar as the middle voice indicates that it is something you must do to or for yourself. You do not automatically wear the armor of God by being a Christian. You must put it on. The fact that this command is written in what is called the aorist tense shows that it is to be done once and for all. The armor of God is not like clothing or like a uniform that you take off at the end of the day or when the game is done. We must live in our armor. The word “full” indicates that every piece is essential meaning that success depends on putting on “all” the armor so that we do not give Satan any opportunity (Ephesians 4:27). It is by wearing all of our armor all of the time that we are able to resist the Devil (James 4:7). The word “resist” is a military term for holding a position while under attack. It is written in what is known as the subjunctive mood indicating that is it only a potential action which is contingent on putting on the full armor of God.

The first piece of our spiritual armor we can describe as the authority of salvation. We are to have our loins girded with the belt of truth (Eph 6:14). This was an outer garment made of a large piece of square material with holes cut out for the head and arms. Ordinarily it draped loosely over the soldier’s body. Before battle, it was carefully tucked inside a leather belt (known as girding up one’s loins) to give more flexibility of movement in hand to hand combat. The belt that prepares us for spiritual battle is that of spiritual truth. Spiritual warfare is not a power struggle. It is a truth struggle. We don’t out power Satan, we out truth him.

The second piece of armor is what we will describe as the activity of salvation. We are to wear the breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14). A breastplate was a sleeveless piece of armor that covered the full torso. The purpose was to protect the heart, lungs and other vital organs. Our heart (the real us…the center of our intellect, emotion and will) must be protected by having it wrapped with the practical righteousness that comes from obeying God’s Word (Daniel 1:8). This is living daily, moment by moment, in obedience to the Father. The more we allow sin into our lives the more vulnerable we become to the schemes and dangers of the Evil One. We must wear the breastplate of righteousness.

The third piece we will call the assertion of salvation. This having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). With all the marching and traveling that soldiers did, shoes became an extremely important part of their armor providing traction (often nails were put in them for this purpose) and for protection. Preparation is the idea of readiness (Titus 3:1) and the covering is the good news that we are at peace with God. This is our standing in confidence of God’s love for us and commitment to fight for us (Romans 8:31, 37-39). We will talk further of these first 3 pieces of the armor this Sunday here at Grace Church as we strive to be “always ready”.

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