Ephesiansby Robert M. Solomon
Paul must have looked at his Roman guards and used their military armour to explain the spiritual armour he had in mind. He also mentions the pieces of armour in the order a soldier would put them on. The point is that God has given us spiritual resources to protect us fully against the enemy. With this spiritual armour, we can continue standing in battle. But we must put on the whole armour.
The belt holds all the pieces together. It represents God’s truth (Ephesians 6:14) as found in the Bible and as proclaimed in the gospel. Where there is “truth decay” in the church, there will be spiritual casualties in battle.
The breastplate protects the vital organs and is another important part of the armour. It represents righteousness (v. 14). What protects us is not our own experiences or feelings—not, as preacher Martyn Lloyd Jones put it, “the breastplate of experiences”—but the righteousness of Christ. If we have this objective protection from God, Satan cannot wound us.
“Combat boots” for the feet represent the evangelistic readiness to proclaim the gospel of peace (v. 15). The church that is ready to go out with the gospel message is in a far safer position than one that is sluggish and living in its own well.
The shield of faith (v. 16) protects us against the flaming arrows of the enemy. The material of the shield is able to not only stop the arrows, but also put out the fire. Our faith in Christ does the same.
The helmet of salvation (v. 17) protects us against doubt and other forms of attack, such as discouragement and fear. Satan can discourage us by turning up the heat of the battle, leading us to despair and wonder if victory will ever come. But God has promised to save us: we can trust Him even if our present circumstances look bad.
The sword of the Spirit (v. 17) is the only offensive part of the armour, and is clearly identified as the Word of God. Jesus is our model when He overcame Satan’s attacks and temptations by using God’s Word (Matthew 4:1–11).
We can stand our ground by wearing God’s armour fully, from head to toe, and relying on all that God has provided us for the spiritual battle. He has not left us defenceless.
Reflect on the way you are wearing God’s armour. Is there any part that is missing or wrongly worn? What actions do you need to take to ensure that you have full protection?
The shield of faith should be taken up in “all circumstances” (Ephesians 6:16 ESV). When do Christians neglect to do this? Why is faith important for all situations? (see Romans 14:23)