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The Armor of God
In Ephesians chapter 6 we see Paul instructing the Ephesian church to make sure they had on the whole armor of God. Today we are going to look at each part of that armor, beginning with the Helmet of Salvation.
Helmet of Salvation
To begin looking at this we must understand what the helmet looked like at the time this was being written. It did not just sit on the top of the head like many soldiers have today. It totally covered the head with only a small area cut out for the ears and had plates of metal that came down the sides toward the chin. Some of the helmets of the time totally encased the lower parts of the face leaving only the eyes visible so they could see the enemy attacks coming from all angles. Many also had a piece of metal at the back extending down to the neck.
Now why would the Bible instruct us to take the Helmet of Salvation? Salvation comes from a change in the heart toward God with a spirit of repentance so why salvation for the head? Because Satan attacks through our mind most often. If he can get our minds to start to doubt or question our salvation it is easier for him to get to us. That is why we must ensure that our mind is covered with the helmet. We have to know beyond a shadow of a doubt about our salvation so Satan cannot take any opportunity to get to us through our mind.
Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate is a piece of armor that covers the chest areas. Where do we find the heart? In the chest. The righteousness will guard our hearts from the enemy's attacks. Now what is righteousness? According to the dictionary righteousness means a concern with the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, or moral and immoral. So by this definition we know that our concern with doing what is good and moral is our breastplate that protects our heart from Satan's attacks.
Why righteousness for a breastplate? Because what we do and the way we act follows the heart. Even though our mind knows better than something our heart will guide us differently sometimes. If we are living with righteousness then we will do the right thing, our heart is pure and the righteousness will keep it that way
Loins Girt with Truth
To understand this we must understand that the loin is where the Hebrew people (and many others of the time) believed that the generative power came from or the power to reproduce. If the loin is girded or surrounded with truth, this would allow only truth to be passed on or reproduced. That is why this is so important. We should make sure that we only have truth surrounding the parts that have the capability to reproduce. This is not physical reproduction as in having children as we would think of it today but basically whatever we want passed on is what is going to be coming from the loins in the way of the thinking of that time. Therefore if we want our lives to pass on truth to those who come after us (the joy of the Lord and the power he has and gives us) then we must have the loins girded with truth. Lies simply won't protect us as truth does.
Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
Protecting the feet of a soldier is an important part of the armor. If a soldier's feet become wounded how can he walk into battle? How can he stand to fight? Even though we don't think of feet as being necessary to fight in essence they truly are one of the most important things.
Paul is instructing them to make sure they have their feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. What exactly is it that he is saying? He is telling the people they should be prepared at any time to go and share the good tidings (gospel) of Christ who has brought them peace in their spirit. They have to be ready. One cannot go out to war barefoot and it is just as necessary for fighting against the enemy as having a breastplate or helmet in their armor. So they needed to make sure that they had the knowledge and ability to share the gospel wherever they would be called to go.
Shield of Faith
What is a shield? It is a piece of armor that is used to deflect attacks from the enemy whether it be darts, arrows or whatever. The shields of the time were often very large items and were used in battle to deflect the enemies attacks. It was held in one had so that the other hand was free to wield a sword in the battle. A shield had to be strong in order to deflect the attacks. As a result obviously a wooden shield was stronger than a leather one but a metal shield was more strong than a wooden one. They were also heavier. To someone first going into battle, they didn't go to the front lines, nor were they equipped with a very strong shield. Only as their strength grew could they carry a heavier (stronger) shield.
Now take this example and use it with faith as our shield. Starting out our faith isn't very great, we aren't very strong in the Lord. But the more we believe and the more we act, the stronger our faith becomes. The stronger our faith becomes the stronger our shield is and the more we can move toward the front lines of the battle. Of course the closer we get to the front lines of the spiritual battle, the more we can expect enemy attacks. That is when we have to make sure all our armor stays in tip top shape.
Every day a soldier before he goes into battle has to make sure his armor is good and secure and able to protect him. He can't take a chance that there is a gap where a bullet or arrow or whatever could pierce through if he wants to fight another day. If an enemy attack gets through a chink in his armor it could wound him for life or even kill him. Satan's darts can wound us spiritually or even kill us spiritually if we are not prepared. That is why it is so important to make sure every day as you go into battle that your armor is in tip top shape. We don't fight against physical soldiers, we are in a spiritual war and it must be fought on spiritual terms.
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