God’s Armor for Our Victory
In Jesus Christ is found all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. By sending Jesus, God showed that His intention was that we are blessed, covered with His grace, and victorious in Him. He chose us, determined to adopt us, redeemed and forgave us. He intends for us to be holy and blameless before Him, and all “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” Read Ephesians 1:3-14 to get the context and be impressed with what God wants for us in Jesus Christ.
God has also provided a means of protection for us, and this spelled out in Ephesians 6. “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (6:10). We cannot win this battle on our own. The strength we find must come from God. To ensure victory for us, God has provided the way in which we may find and maintain the strength. Paul uses the analogy of armor, something that the people of that region would have been familiar with as they would have seen Roman soldiers in the area.
The battle in which we are engaged is real. There are spiritual forces seeking to devour us and rip the heart out of our blessings in Christ. We, like God's people from many years earlier, need to learn to trust Him to win this battle. Israel either succeeded or failed in their battles depending upon whether they trusted God or self. The battle for our hearts and minds is filled with distractions that will lead our minds astray and make us vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy. “Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (v. 11). Without God's armor, we will not be able to endure it.
What is the armor in Ephesians 6?
1. The Belt of Truth. The belt wrapped around and was the piece on which the soldier could wear his dagger, sword, and metal apron. It was foundational for the soldier to be able to fight. Truth serves as our foundation for holding our spiritual lives together.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness. Breastplates served a protective function over the vital parts of the chest. This was essential to survival. Christians should understand that God's righteousness, not our own, protects our hearts from the evils that are lurking about. Without the righteousness that comes from God, we can have no relationship with God.
3. The Sandals of Peace. Without something on their feet, the soldiers would be unable to go long distances and they would be unprepared for battle. The greaves allowed them to continue marching and fighting. By analogy, God's peace gives us the ability to go the distance in this battle.
4. The Shield of Faith. The shield was vital against arrow attacks. While they could defend themselves individually, the soldiers would also get together under an attack to create one giant shield. Faith, of course, is our shield. As the devil shoots his arrows of temptation at us, our faith wards them off. Dropping the shield makes us vulnerable to any of Satan's attacks. Yet we may also band together to help one another.
5. The Helmet of Salvation. The helmet protected the head and would save many lives. The salvation given to us by God keeps our hearts and minds in the right place. Whatever tempts us we can weigh against the importance of our salvation.
6. The Sword of the Spirit. We are not without an offensive weapon. The sword, used skillfully, not only could help protect from attacks, but could also be used to attack the enemy. Our sword comes from God's Spirit, and so has power unmatched by any metal invention. This is the power of God’s word (cf. Heb 4:12-13).
Let’s also take a moment to reflect on how these are fulfilled in Jesus:
Truth: "I am the way, the truth, and life. No one comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6).
Righteousness: "not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (Phil 3:9).
Peace: "For He Himself is our peace" (Eph 2:14).
Faith: "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith" (Eph 3:17); "for you are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:26).
Salvation: "For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom 5:10).
God's Word: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1).
Paul wrote, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom 13:14). By putting on Christ, we are putting on God’s armor. In Him we can be strong.