~~By James Fire
The ARMOR and Its ACCOMPANYING PARTS – Section One: The Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness:
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Due to the fact that we Christians still retain a sin nature, we likewise are vulnerable, susceptible and prone to fall under the onslaught and attacks from our enemy. He is a spiritual enemy, and so no tactics of the flesh or the natural realm will avail. Only spiritual weapons can affect a spiritual foe.
~The most effective weapon against a tank is another tank; a military jet with another military jet; a submarine with another submarine; likewise with our spiritual enemy.
We’ve probably all seen the films Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Tony Starks (played by Robert Downey Jr.) was like any other man physically (certainly not intellectually) and was prone to injury and mortal wounds like any one else. It was the fact that he was so mortally wounded that he required an extraordinary device that enabled his heart to function and be protected from the shrapnel embedded in his chest. This arc energy device was utilized in powering an exo-skeletal prosthesis that enabled him to perform incredible feats of strength, was imperversious to bullets and explosive devices, and gave him the ability to fly and fire high energy repulsion beams.
So also we are no match for Satan and all his spiritual evil hosts while armed with only our limited minds, understanding, intellect and strategies; we must don this spiritual armor and remain within it if we ever hope to be protected from his weapons, and be impervious to his onslaughts while we raid his kingdom of darkness in seeking out lost souls to rescue. Even prior to donning said armor, we must firstly be “strong in the power of His might”. Iron Man was a suit of high tech armor, but without the arc energy powering it, it was useless.
Likewise without the power of God and His might, the armor of God cannot function as it should. Both are necessary; both must be utilized in the life of the saintly warrior!
The Purpose of This Armor is Two Fold –
1) To protect ourselves from the enemy who would seek to compromise us and ruin our spiritual integrity, and nullify our usefulness in God’s Kingdom.
2) To enable us to safely navigate into the enemy’s domain and bring deliverance to lost souls via the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It’s all about UPRIGHT (1, standing and walking in Truth) and OUTREACH (2, preaching the Gospel; INREACH: equipping the saints). Without the first, we are powerless to effectively engage in the second. In this armor we are well able to stand, and not fall into sin, but “withstand in the evil day” that is to resist the hurtful, malignant and ruinous intent of the enemy who would destroy us, whether that intent is to lure us into sin or to launch an assault to attack us and our faith. Together we “withstand” in our ranks, remaining faithfully in the place that God has positioned us in, and not abandoning our posts and fleeing.
With all of the preceding information laid down as the foundation for this study, let us now examine the Armor - not of the Saints, not of the Angelic hosts, but of GOD Himself!
The FIRST PIECE – The BELT of TRUTH:
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth [and having on the breastplate of righteousness]
The LORD Jesus Christ declares Himself to be the embodiment of Truth in John 14:6; thus putting on the belt of Truth is to put on Christ Who is Truth.
“Loins” here may refer to a number of things, and in the context of this verse, I believe all are applicable: the seat of passion and procreative power (Heb. 7:5, 10); the center of strength; the ‘girding up of the loins’ speaks of ready and active service for the LORD (Lk. 12:31-40) in the light of His imminent return (which we are obligated to watch for diligently) as the primary motivator; specifically used here in Eph. 6:14 to denote “bracing oneself up so as to maintain perfect sincerity and reality as the counteractive in Christian character against hypocrisy and falsehood”.
Any actions toward passions and lusts must be bound up and restrained, held in check, reined in like a voracious wild dog, by the Word of Truth (see: 1 Cor. 9:27 – The idea behind this passage is “to buffet and debilitate to the point of having mastery over the passions and carnality of the flesh or sinful nature.
What should be understood about this dealing with the carnal, sinful flesh is the error of monastic disciplines in which monks and friars of certain orders sought to literally buffet the body with various tortures so that the sinful nature would be tamed. This is a natural method employing human effort, and is therefore useless.
What Paul spoke of in this passage of 1st Corinthians is employing the efficacy of the Cross and his identification with Jesus Christ in His death, and counting his own self to be dead indeed unto sin; see also: Romans 6:11, 13; as well as 2 Cor. 6:3-10; James 1:18). If the enemy can cause us to fall into sexual or any other kind of impurity, it is because we have not girded up the loins and brought them under subjection to the Truth, that is:
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof (see also vs. 13-14).
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
Being the very center of human strength, the loins must be girded with the Truth of God (our own strength, even our greatest strength will prove of no avail in obtaining favor with God or standing in righteousness before Him); so that we will have no tendency to rely upon our own might, but resort to the Truth in which is our ultimate strength. To be true, and to speak the truth are both applicable in “truth” which we are to gird about ourselves. This speaks of integrity or ‘inner truth’ (Ps. 51:6) with which we must be empowered by Christ alone and not ourselves.
If there is any hypocrisy, any deceit, anything false in us, Satan will sift and seek it out until he finds it and work upon it until we fall from our integrity and are no longer living out truthfulness; thus the desperate need for this spiritual armor to both empower and protect us!
In biblical times, people tended to wear robes, and when engaged in any sort of service, they would gather these up and bind them under their belts in order to allow freedom of movement.
Our garments in scripture metaphorically refer to our lives (Gen. 35:2; speaking of the putting away of idols, and change garments or ‘life style’; Ex. 28: 2 referring to Aaron’s holy garments, that is the holy life suitable for a priest of God; Ps. 133:2 speaking of the anointing oil that even fell to the garments of the priest, speaking of the Holy Spirit’s influence on the life; finally Rev. 19:8 speaks of the fine linen being the “righteousness of the saints”). Our lives are to be unencumbered in lesser matters when we are in service to the LORD, thus they are bound up and removed out of the way so that we may serve in liberty and without constraints of worldly matters.
We deny ourselves, our own claims to life, and see that they are bound and held captive while we engage in God’s greater purpose and the life of Christ Jesus in us.
The belt is therefore essential as that part of the armor upon others rest. If our lives are founded on Truth, if we believe, adhere and walk in the Truth of God’s Word, we have a sure foundation that cannot be moved (see Matt. 7: 24-27; Ps. 26: 3-12; 1 John 1:6 and Ps. 86:11).
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. (see also: Deut. 32:4)
Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Realize that walking* in God’s truth will influence the heart and unify it to reverence God in all ways; double-mindedness will diminish as we walk in the singularity that is truth. Double-mindedness, that is, having a mind to worship and obey God as well as a mind to worship and obey our sinful lusts, impulses and will shall spell out certain defeat!
The unification of our heart (or even as our LORD expressed it in His admonition to us to “let thine eye be single” Matt. 6: 22) to fear God above all else is the express goal for the saint, and no less the warrior in God’s kingdom. I am fond of Chuck Missler’s expression: “Jesus Christ doesn’t want to be number one in our lives on a list of ten; He wants to be number one, ON A LIST OF ONE!”
* - Note: walking from a physiological point of view requires the working of abdominal, lumbar and flexor muscles (all in the region of ‘the loins’); so too our spiritual walk in truth, personal integrity is vital if we are to walk wearing the “shoes shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace”. The saint who would be an evangelist or preacher of the Gospel must have integrity, lest his preaching become invalid by deception, sin and hypocrisy in their life.
For more benefits from the Truth of God, see also 1 Sam. 12: 24; Ps. 15: 2; 40: 10; 61:7; 145:18; Prov. 16:6; Is. 10:20; Zech. 8:16, 19; Mal. 2: 6; 1 Cor. 5:8; Eph. 1:13; 4: 15.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
There is nothing so liberating as the Truth; one only need submit to and obey it in order to find the freedom afforded by it. Conversely those that walks in the counsel of the ungodly, that stands in the way of sinners, and sits in the seat of the scornful are not at all free, but degenerate into complacency, and apathy and spiritual slumber (note the regression is Psalm 1: 1 – “Walking, … standing, … sitting”) for those who do not delight in the Truth as contained in God’s Law (vs. 2; the Word).
In regards to truthfulness in the believer see: Prov. 12: 19; Zech. 8: 16; Eph. 4: 15, 25; and also –
And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.
It is worthy to note that in the above passage, the degeneration of the spiritual condition of Israel as recorded in this 2nd chapter. This is the unavoidable consequence of the abandonment of truth spiritually, intellectually, morally and actually.
See the following article by Dr. Chuck Missler:
Our Quest for Truth
So we see that for the Christian warrior, the complete conformity to the Truth both in word and in deed, is a conformity to the living embodiment of Truth, the LORD Jesus Christ, and to assure spiritual victory, this conformation must be realized in the life of every one seeking to engage in a successful campaign of warfare against the enemy.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
For more on this issue of ‘truth’ see the following articles entitled:
Now, as well with the girding up of our loins with Truth, we have the next piece of armor in this warfare to put on:
The SECOND PIECE – The BREASTPLATE of RIGHTEOUSNESS:
[Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth], and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
1 Cor 1:30
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Jesus Christ Himself is our righteousness and so He has granted us this Breastplate of His Righteousness (see also Phil. 3:9; 1 John 3:7).
Just as the loins are girded with truth, the breast must be covered with righteousness, and in the vernacular of this metaphor we can aptly perceive that in the physical, a breastplate is required to cover the vitals, that is, the heart and lungs. A wound to the arm or leg may be debilitating but a wound to the chest will more than not prove fatal!
In the natural realm of our physiology, the heart speaks of blood, the lungs speak of breath. The heart is a pump that causes blood to flow throughout our body, bringing vital nutrients for the sustaining of life; the lungs are likewise pumps that deliver the necessary air by our breathing into the blood stream.
In the spiritual realm, the blood of Christ must affect our entire being, covering every aspect of our lives, and any fiery dart that penetrates our heart that interferes with this flow will be disastrous, for it’s by the blood we can rightfully claim the righteousness of Christ Jesus imputed to us through the grace of God (see Romans 5:9, 21).
Likewise in the spiritual realm, it is the Holy Spirit, the very breathe of God (In the Greek, the word used for ‘spirit, wind, air and breath’ is ‘pneuma’ and it’s ‘ruwach’ in the Hebrew) that brings to us life, spiritual life and efficacy in our walk with Christ (See Gen. 2:7; 2 Sam. 22:16; Job 4:9; Isaiah 11:4; 30:28; Ez. 37: 5, 9 as well as John 20:22 and Acts 2:2)!
Anything that would interfere with the Spirit infusing us daily with His power will likewise bring about our debilitation!
As our hearts may indeed be prone to sin and unrighteousness, and vulnerable to the fiery, poisonous darts of the wicked one, this piece of armor has obvious worth!
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
We have previously mentioned that the righteousness Jesus Christ demonstrated was flawless: no one, be they Pharisee or lawyer, Roman Procurator or Satan himself could find a single, solitary flaw in this sinless, pure, holy and gentle Lamb of God (See John 8:46; 18:38; 14: 30)! It is this same righteousness (See Is. 59:17 and 1 Thess. 5:8) with its supremely Divine quality that is granted to us to wear in this spiritual war! Do you think for a single moment that Satan could pierce such a breastplate as this? Could all the powers of hell even so much as dent or scratch it? Never and I say again, NEVER!
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Let’s examine more closely the issue of ‘righteousness’:
“Righteousness in the Greek is dikaiosune, meaning “equity of character, or act; justification, righteousness.
It denotes an attribute of God (Rom. 3:5); it is found in the sayings of the LORD Jesus; whatever is right and just in itself that conforms to the revealed will of God (Matt. 5:6, 10, 20; John 16: 8, 10; whatever has been appointed by God to be acknowledged and obeyed by man (Matt. 3:15; 21:32). It can also refer to the sum total of requirements by God (Matt. 6:33, religious duties (Matt. 6:1 – 15).
It is used of that gracious gift of God to men whereby all who believe on the LORD Jesus Christ are brought into right relationship with God. This righteousness is unattainable by obedience to any law or by any merit of man’s own, or any other condition than that of faith in Christ. The one who trusts in Christ “becomes the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21), i.e., becomes in Christ all that God requires one to be, all that he could never be in themselves. Faith is imputed to the believer and thereby righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus (Rom. 4:6, 11). This faith exercised brings the soul into vital union with God in Christ and inevitably produces righteousness of life, and conformity to the will of God.”
Everywhere the righteousness of God is spoken of in scripture, and is considered an integral part of His Person, just as is holiness for these two are closely related. The Psalms overflow in their exaltation of God’s righteousness: Psalms 48:10; 65:5; 97: 2; 119: 137; 145:17.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We are admonished to follow after righteousness, and to be righteous in the scriptures: Hosea 10:12; Matt. 5:20; 1 Cor. 15:34.
Compare Jeremiah 23: 6 where the LORD Himself is ascribed as the very righteousness to be apprehended by the saints with Matt. 5:20 where the LORD Jesus warns His followers that . . .
. . . except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Obviously the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was external and had to do with observances and acts involving in part, the mind, and the body, but not the spirit (the essential nature of man, which if unregenerate is incapable of true righteousness), nor the entirety of the mind which is to be wholly sanctified, that is pure of any sin.
Our righteousness must exceed this religious form of righteousness; it must transform us in our spiritual life, it must bring us to conformity in the will of God; it must be the making and working of the Spirit of God within us or it is absolutely worthless!
By following ‘the rules’ the religious leaders believed they could attain to righteousness, but the rules they were following was the Law of God, and this was not the purpose of the Law (see Romans 10:3; 1 Tim. 1:9). Likewise we in the church could place ourselves under ‘rules and regulations’ and think we can please God by observing these, and not wholly depending on the righteousness of God already provided for us in Christ Jesus. Beware of legalism and its deadly effects, because as it’s been said, legalism doesn’t need God, nor does it seek after His righteousness, but rather seeks to produce its own righteousness – it is ego-centric and not ‘Deo-centric’ if you will. It is carnal and not spiritual!
Only the LORD our RIGHTEOUSNESS has that quality of equity in character, and action that is instilled into the heart of one reborn by the Spirit of God, through faith and believing on the LORD Jesus Christ.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
2 Cor 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
In a positional sense, we are already “made righteous” by the blood of the Lamb; upon entering into the kingdom of God via the new birth, we instantly hold the position (it is “imputed” that is, laid to one’s account by God because of the Cross) of righteousness before the eyes of our holy God equal to that of the LORD Jesus Christ Himself! Astounding (see Rom. 4:11, 22; James 2: 23)!
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak. (see also Is. 11:5)
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. (see also Rev. 19:11)
There is also the practical sort of righteousness that is an extension of the righteousness imputed to the believer by faith in Christ Jesus; this is the sort of righteousness that is grown in the believer and affects his character and every day living. Remember that earlier we spoke of garments being a metaphor in the scriptures for our lives?
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Here we have a picture of the bridegroom, the LORD Jesus and the bride, His church; as both are in garments and jeweled decorations, beautified in all the attributes of God, we understand that these are integral to the LORD Jesus Who is Holy, and that these same attributes of God’s nature are imputed to us, His bride. The quality is one and the same!
Also note that this verse speaks of the ‘garments of salvation’ and the word for garment in Hebrew, especially where clothing for humans is concerned usually intimates inner wear, something worn underneath (and unseen). Note that ‘garments’ is in the plural, denoting all the various aspects of salvation.
Compare this to the ‘robe of righteousness’. Immediately you notice that this is in the singular form, for there is only one brand of righteousness that is suitable before God (Matt. 22:12); all others are rejected by the Holy One.
In addition, understand that the ‘robe’ as opposed to the ‘garments’ denotes outer wear (thus observable). Just as salvation is the work of the heart and is unseen, it nevertheless manifests itself in the production of righteousness in the believer’s life. This is the practical aspect of righteousness. It is the ‘working out’ in our lives that which God ‘works in’ our hearts: the work of salvation which includes justification and sanctification.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Notice that that which God works in us, brings about both a will and an inclination toward action that is well pleasing to the Father, just as He is well pleased with His Son (Matt. 3:17; 17:5).
We have covered this subject of salvation and the aspects of justification and sanctification, in depth on TTUF in the series entitled:
The Sanctifier is the Saint's Fire
We can sometimes become slack regarding the spiritual responsibility of growing in righteousness, maturing spiritually, and bearing this fruit in our lives; for all of us saints there should be a progressive growth that is discernable with the passage of time.
1 Cor 15:34
Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
To “awake” here means to arise from the stupor of the evil influences of bad doctrine, and a returning to soberness (seriousness of mind) and to walk righteously (regarding doctrine in belief and practice).
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
The prayerful exhortation made here by Paul to the Philippians is that they would abound in the love of God (and grow) more and more in knowledge and judgment (discernment) and approve (test with the intent of receiving if proven good) those excellent things, the deeper things of God as found in the Word. Likewise that the saints would be filled with fruits of righteousness: this is not a static result that once acquired, is done with, but a progression and a growth; just as fruit progresses in its growth until it ripens and multiplies, we are to progress in righteousness to maturity (See also: Prov. 11:5; 1 Tim. 6:11-12, 14; Titus 2:10-14).
To conclude this segment I thought you would be blessed to read/listen to this segment of the radio program Search the Scriptures Daily with Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon. You may listen to the program by clicking on the "mp3" green button (on their site, link below).
Do You Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?
This concludes this fourth segment to our SPIRITUAL WARFARE: The Armor of God series. Next we shall examine the shoes of the Gospel of Peace, and time permitting, the shield of faith. In the meanwhile saints, continue to FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH!
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.