What does the Bible mean when mentioning the armor of God and why is it important?
The Apostle Paul mentions the armor of God in Ephesians chapter 6 and the command or necessity to “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:10-11). We will certainly need this armor because “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:12). It would be easier to battle a visible enemy, but an invisible enemy makes it harder to see the enemy’s attacks coming. We simply have to be prepared ahead of time and expect the fiery darts of the enemy are going to come our way. That’s why we need the armor of God, so what exactly is this armor and why does Paul keep mentioning our need to “put on” the “whole armor of God?”
The Belt and Breastplate
The armor of God is totally useless…unless you put it on. It’s no coincidence that Paul tells us several times to “put on” the armor of God, and again in Ephesians 6:13 he says “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” Part of what you and I need to put on every day is the belt of truth. We stand on the solid rock of God’s Word and it never varies and is always the truth. Stand firm on that truth, but then take up and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Remember, this is God’s armor, not ours, but when we have trusted in Christ, we have imputed on our behalf, Jesus’ very own righteousness (2nd Cor 5:21), so stand firm “having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Eph 6:14).
The Shoes of the Gospel
We don’t think of shoes like what Paul was probably referring to because the Roman soldier had shoes that had spikes in them so that they could stand their ground, and in this chapter, Paul reminds us to put on “shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15). Don’t overlook the shoes because that’s how a soldier was able to enter into battle. Unless his shows were fastened tight, he couldn’t stand ready to fight. These shoes are the “gospel of peace” that we are to bring into enemy territory so that some might be saved.
The Shield of Faith
Without a shield, the soldier was vulnerable to all kinds of flying objects. For the Christian, without the shield of faith, we’re defenseless against the fiery darts of the enemy, and so Paul reminds us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Eph 6:16). These darts are nothing more than spiritual attacks sent our way, but with the shield of faith in Christ, we know that there is nothing that can separate us from God (Rom 8:35), not even the Devil and his demons.
The Helmet and Sword
Next, Paul tells us again, to “put on” “the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph 6:17). The helmet protects our knowledge of God and the sword helps us use the Word of God to assault the enemy with God’s Word, just as Jesus did in resisting the Devil in the temptation in the wilderness. Jesus would cite Scripture in its proper context to answer Satan’s taking verses out of context. Remember, the Devil knows the Word of God probably better than we do, so we must internalize or memorize His Word, so that we’ll have it when we need it. So the helmet protects what we know as believers and the Word of God is our primary weapon against the enemy. Satan is a liar, but the verses we can quote are always the truth because God’s Word is truth.
Prayers for All
The Apostle Paul concludes by adding that we should be “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18). Prayer is our communication behind enemy lines. We’ll need that vital communication between us and God if we’re to effectively battle the invisible enemy. It’s not something we can do without. Imagine not keeping in constant contact with the Commanding Officer? That could prove disastrous, so Paul stresses the importance of praying at all times but doing so in the Spirit but also praying that we “keep alert” and “with all perseverance” while we’re praying for or “making supplication for all the saints.”
If we fail to “take up” and “put on” the armor of God, we are less prepared for the enemy. We need this armor every single day of our lives, and the day that we decide to leave home without it, the enemy can see that we’re vulnerable to all kinds of darts. As long as you are in the battle, that’s a good things, because then you know which side you’re on, or really, Whose side you’re on.
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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