Series 3 - The Great Teachings of the Bible and What They Mean for You:
The Armor of God
Hi, friends! Welcome to Lesson 1 in "The Armor of God" series. Chances are, you've already heard about this powerful and important set of armor that Paul describes in Ephesians chapter 6. The breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith—these are terms you might already know. But how much have you looked into them? It turns out that, upon close examination of the function of each piece of armor and the attribute Paul assigns to it, there are some incredible lessons to be learned. Let's check them out.
Lesson 1: Taking Up the Whole Armor of God
Paul tells us to take up the whole armor of God. But what is this
armor, and how do we put it on? Is it still relevant for Christians
Paul, an apostle of God's first-century Church, has a story for us today:
Accused of sedition, beaten, arrested, almost assassinated, shipwrecked,
attacked by a snake and placed under house arrest: Most would call this
list an unfortunate run of bad luck. Paul would recognize it as just part
of his job description.
Imprisoned in Rome for two years under the watchful eyes of Roman soldiers,
Paul was able to write four epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
and Philemon) and continue preaching "the kingdom of God and teaching
the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ" to all those who
came to hear him (Acts 28:30-31).
Living for two years with soldiers of the Roman army must have made an
impression on Paul. Likely he saw the soldiers' armor enough to become
well acquainted with it, learned to understand the function of each piece,
what purpose it served and why it was important.
At some point, a God-inspired analogy began to form in Paul's mind. Just
as the Roman soldiers required physical armor to fight their wars, we
Christians require spiritual armor to successfully fight ours. As the
pieces fell into place, Paul saw that each piece of Roman armor had a
powerful correlation with our own spiritual defenses. It is this analogy
that the church in Ephesus received and which God has preserved for two
thousand years for our benefit.
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What Do We Need Armor for, Anyway?
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but
not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed"
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
How is it that, as Christians, we are expected to withstand incredible pressures
and not be defeated? How can we possibly stand up against everything the world
has to throw at us and still expect to emerge victorious?
The answer lies not in ourselves, but in a divine and unbeatable defense:
the armor of God.
What is the armor of God?
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the
wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this
age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 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.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate
of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel
of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able
to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all
the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open
my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an
ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The armor of God is an amazing metaphor for action we need to take in our
spiritual lives. Paul sets the scene for us: We are fighting a war, and the
stakes are higher than they have ever been in human history.
Our enemy? Not flesh and blood, no human foe—we fight against a much more
fearsome opponent whose forces are described in Ephesians 6:12. Our adversary,
Satan the devil, and his host of demons have a single, driving purpose: Obliterate
the children of God.
Faced with the cares of this world, we can easily forget about the severity
of this battle. But make no mistake: Our spiritual lives and future in God's
Kingdom are on the line. If we lose this war, we lose everything. What can
we do in the face of such overwhelming odds? Is there any hope?
Paul has the answer. In Ephesians 6:13, he gives the call to arms. By putting
on all of God's armor, which we will be exploring piece by piece in the following
lessons, we can be assured of withstanding our enemy's onslaughts.
Are there any other references to this armor in the Bible?
For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on
His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad
with zeal as a cloak.
Yes! Though the passages may not explicitly call it the armor of God, there
are sections of the Bible that further elaborate on the topic—even in the
Old Testament! Isaiah 59:17 refers to two familiar pieces of armor—the helmet
and the breastplate—and introduces two other pieces—the clothes of vengeance
and cloak of zeal.
We won't be looking at the clothes of vengeance, since they belong exclusively
to God (Hebrews 10:30). The cloak of zeal, however, is an interesting study
and one we'll be spending some time reviewing.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;
for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is
far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness,
and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day,
not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife
and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the
flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Paul admonishes the Romans to put on both the "armor of light" and "the Lord
Jesus Christ." This passage reveals both that wearing the armor of God is
synonymous with having the character of God and that this armor cannot be
worn if we are still wearing the "works of darkness"—a lifestyle of sin that
separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2).
2 Corinthians 6:7
...by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness
on the right hand and on the left...
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For
the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling
down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts
itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity
to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when
your obedience is fulfilled.
In these passages Paul calls it the armor of righteousness and reveals its
purpose. We put on the armor and strength of God to effectively wage war against
our enemy, the devil. Without it, we are helpless—but with it, we are soldiers
of the living God, and "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans
Before proceeding to the following lessons, take a minute to review Ephesians
6:10-20. Get a piece of paper and a pen and answer the following questions:
What pieces of armor are listed? What spiritual qualities are they coupled
with? What similarities do the armor and the qualities share for Paul to
have linked them together? As you go through the rest of the lessons, compare
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The Armor of God - Part 1
The Armor of God - Part 2
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