Monday, July 16, 2012

The Whole Armor – Part 1

Ephesians 6:10-14 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  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.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"
 
Those verses talk about the whole armor of God, but there’s more.  In our last post, we went into spiritual warfare a little bit.  This time, let’s look at the the armor that warfare made necessary.

Verse 10 says to be strong in the Lord and His power.  If you’ve seen any of the recent Ironman or Avengers movies,  I have a mental image of the believer not only being protected by the whole armor, but gaining a new level of strength from God.  And, in verse 11, we’re told to put on the armor for that very reason.  To have the strength to stand.  The Greek word is histemi.  It speaks of standing in front of an accuser or authority.  When that authority is Christ, there is an implied expectation of final approval.  And the verse says what we stand against are the devil’s wiles or devices, methodeia.  The subtle cold war tactics we spoke of in our last post.

Verse 12 goes into the variety of the enemy ranks that is probably best dealt with in its own study, sometime in the future.  Verse 13 reiterates the need to have the armor.  And that’s something to keep in mind.  When things are repeated in the Bible, close together, it’s a pretty good indication God considers it important.  We can easily conclude that God wants us protected by the armor.

The first part of the armor is the “"girdle” (having your loins girt).  If you’ve ever seen some of the old Bible story type movies, you may have noticed that people mostly walked around in long robes.  That was normal attire.  But, in battle, the Jews suddenly had clothing that didn’t go below the knee.  That was one function of the girdle – to get the robes out of the way of feet and legs so the fighter could maneuver more easily. 

Roman soldiers were depicted as starting with shorter attire, but still having the girdle belt.  There are several other reasons for the girdle besides lifting up the garment.  It was protection for the lumbar and hip areas – one of the body areas known for strength and, of course, the area where the seed of procreation came from.  So, the added support and protection were important. 

There’s one more thing with the girdle’s protection.  Often, the Bible refers to the emotions by speaking of some of the soft organs in this same part of the body.  The emotions are a good thing.  But not when they’re damaged and, certainly, not when they’re taking the lead in our spiritual life.  So, the spiritual girdle adds strength to keep the emotions in place and protected.  And what are we to be girt with?  Truth.  The Word of God.

When we get to the second half of verse 14, we see the next part of the armor, the breastplate.  The movies don’t always get that one right.  There sometimes is no back piece.  Just some type of strapping to hold the front piece in place.  With good reason.  What soldier in his right mind, in the midst of battle, is going to turn and retreat knowing that he then shows the enemy an exposed area?  It was sometimes put on that way for that very reason.  The soldier had to face the enemy, not turn and run.

The breastplate protected the lungs and heart.  Spiritually, the soul was considered to be a core part of our being, too.  While it may not have been considered to physically reside in that same area, there is an inference that the spiritual breastplate protected that, too.  Protected by righteousness.  But that righteousness is not our own.  Read Isaiah 64:6 to see what God thinks of our own righteousness.

There’s more.  But consider a few things before we go on.
  1. God considers our having the whole armor important enough to make that point twice.
  2. The source of the Word of God (Truth) is God, Himself.
  3. The only possible source of true righteousness is, again, God Himself.
The only way we get the armor is as a gift from God.  That makes us very special.  We’ll continue with the armor, next time.  But do you realize how important you are to God when He’s willing to give of Himself for your protection and joy?

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