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ARMORED IN CHRIST – Ephesians 6:14-17

Posted by Pastor Greg Allen on September 6, 2017 under AM Bible Study |

AM Bible Study Group; September 6, 2017 from Ephesians 6:14-17

Theme: To put on the armor of the believer is to put on Christ Himself.

(All Scripture is taken from The New King James Version, unless otherwise indicated).

In our last passage, we began to consider Paul’s instruction to the believer in spiritual warfare. We considered that this is a part of his general instruction “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1). We considered that we are in a spiritual combat zone in which a powerful enemy threatens us—not one of flesh and blood, but of spiritual realms (Ephesians 6:10-13). And as Paul 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” (v. 13).

So few of us who are followers of Jesus do what we are told in this passage; and so—sadly—so few of us stand in the moment of battle. We often try to stand against the forces of the devil in our own power and resources and cleverness; and because our resources are fleshly—when our enemy is spiritual—we fail. But even if we have failed in the past, we can repent of our failure and learn to take up the provision that God has given us.

And as we will see in this study, all of these pieces of armor—each one being absolutely necessary—are summed up in the person of Jesus Christ. God never asks us to put on armor that is somehow independent of Him. Instead, He calls to do nothing less than to be clothed in Christ Himself (see Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27). Only then can we stand against the enemy.

Note, then …


Paul writes, “Stand therefore …” (v. 14a). Those are simple words; and the significance of them is easy to pass by. But it is vital that we pay attention to these two words. They constitute the main command of this passage. The point of Paul’s teaching in this passage is not merely to put on the armor; but rather, to “stand”—with he putting on of the armor as the essential means by which this is to be done. In the battle for the faith, the command is not merely to ‘survive’. And it is most certainly not ever to ‘retreat’ or ‘hide’ from the attacks of the enemy. Our command is a bold and victorious one—to stand! We can; because Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:16).

There are a few exceptions to the command to “stand”, however. Paul taught the Corinthian believers, “Flee sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18), and “flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14). When talking to Timothy about the dangers of the love of money, he write, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith …” (1 Timothy 6:10-12). He also told him, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). In order to effectively “stand”, we need to know when God’s word tells us to NOT try to stay and fight, but to flee—and what we are to pursue instead. Strategic ‘fleeing’ is key to successful ‘standing’; and it makes it possible for us to do as it says in James 4:7; “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

And then, note …


First, we are told to stand “having girded your waist with truth” (v. 14). Paul would have probably been looking at or visualizing a Roman soldier while he wrote these words—since he was in prison (v. 20). One of the things that he would notice about a soldier is that he wears the important ‘belt’ or ‘girdle’ that holds his garments and weapons together. It is a foundational piece. And in a spiritual sense, that piece, for us, is “truth”. Here, the idea is more than the idea of ‘revealed’ truth (although it must, of course, involve that). Rather, it’s the idea of ‘truthfulness’ or ‘integrity’ in that truth. It was demonstrated in Christ Himself, who was characterized as having”righteousness” as the belt of His loins, and “faithfulness” as the belt of His waist (Isaiah 11:5). Without being girded with integrity in Christ, we ourselves cannot ‘run the race’ to win (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

We are also to stand “having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (v. 14). An essential part of the soldier’s armor is that which protects his vital parts—his heart, his lungs, his organs—from the blows of the enemy. If a soldier had a breastplate on that was incomplete—that is, if it had holes in it or had spaces between pieces—then the enemy would go right for those holes and spaces. In our case, the ‘protection’ of our vital parts is we are first clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and are then increasingly growing in ‘practical righteousness’—that is, living in such a way that there are no moral ‘spaces’ in our lives in which the enemy can jab at us and thrust us through. This too is demonstrated in Christ Himself; who, “put on righteousness as a breastplate” (Isaiah 59:17).

Verse 15 tells us that we are to stand “having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. Just as a soldier must have good footwear in order to stand in battle, so do we. For us, that footwear is the “preparation” of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to make sure that we ourselves take our stand in the gospel and thus have peace with God (Romans 5:1); and then, we are to make sure we stand together in it and have peace with one another (Ephesians 2:14-15); and finally that we stand ready to share it with others so that they too can have peace with God (Romans 10:14-15). The news about Jesus is “good news” that makes the feet of those who proclaim it “beautiful” (see Isaiah 52:7). Are we ready to stand in it and march forward with it?

Paul then says, in verse 16, that “above all”; and some take this to mean that what follows is of a different nature than what came before. The belt, the breastplate, and the boots—these were pieces that a soldier would always have on. He doesn’t wait until he sees the enemy before he wears them. (You’ll note that the words Paul uses to describe how we are to relate to them involve ‘putting on’ statements—“having girded”, “having put on”, “having shod”. But in those moments of attack, the soldier quickly grabs hold of the other three pieces.

First, with respect these ‘take up’ pieces, we are to stand “taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (v. 16). The shield here is not the short, round one we often think of Captain America using. Rather, its the large, ‘door-sized’ shield that fits together with the other shields that the other soldiers also carry. It was covered in leather and soaked in water; so that when the enemy shot arrows dipped in pitch and ignited with fire, those arrows wouldn’t strike the shield, splatter, and ignite the shield; causing the soldier to throw the flame-engulfed shield down and making himself an easy target. The devil attacks that way; firing darts at us that tempt us to throw down our faith in Christ—and thus become open and vulnerable to his subsequent attacks. “Faith” as the writer of Hebrews tells us, “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). When the devil attacks, we must hold on to God’s promises in Christ; and not doubt that all that God has said He will do for us in Jesus will come to pass.

We also stand as we “take the helmet of salvation” (v. 17). The helmet protects the head—where our mind is and were our belief in God’s promises are processed. And here, we’re called to stand as we protect our thoughts with the knowledge of salvation—keeping in mind that what God has begun in us in Christ will be completed (Philippians 1:6), and that when we see Him we will be like Him (1 John 3:2-3), and that He is able to make us stand before Him in glory (Jude 24-25). We’re to set our minds on these things (Colossians 3:1-4). This ‘helmet of salvation’ was also one that Christ Himself took up on our behalf (Isaiah 59:17).

And finally, we are to stand as we take up “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (v. 17). The sword here is not the large broadsword that was sometimes used in heavy combat, but rather the shorter, precision sword that a soldier would keep at his side. It was for precision hand-to-hand fighting. And note that it is the sword of the Spirit, “which is the word of God”. The word here is not logos; but rhema, which speaks of a specific saying or utterance. And we have it demonstrated for us in Jesus Himself; who when the devil came to tempt Him, responded each time with, “It is written … It is written … It is written” (see Matthew 4:1-11).

* * * * * * * * * *

We dare not think of these vital pieces of armor in any other way than in the strongest connection with Jesus Himself–being “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (v. 10). May we put on Christ, and rest in Christ, as we think of putting on the armor God has provided for us.

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