We are described by the apostle Paul as good soldiers for Christ, stating in 2 Timothy 2:3: “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” That means, we have a fight on our hands. This is not referring to fighting in a physical war, but rather to a spiritual fight against spiritual forces. Ephesians 6:12 tells us: “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.” Paul uses the armory of a soldier at that time and compares it to what we need in order to overcome the spiritual battle we are in.
No Roman or Greek soldier at the time of Paul would go to war without checking out his equipment to ensure it was not compromised in any manner. He would check his helmet for any deficiencies, knowing how important a helmet was. The breastplate which protected all his vital organs would be examined for any cracks or deficiencies and also his shoes to ensure the leather was supple and not cracked in any way. His belt would be inspected to ensure it was in good shape to hold the scabbard in which his sword was kept when it was not used in battle, and his shield would be examined to ensure that it hadn’t been weakened by previous battles and could withstand another onslaught of arrows and sword blows from the enemy.
It was also most important that his sword would be polished for maximum efficiency, and that it was sharp and free of any defects since he would not want it to fail in the heat of battle. All his equipment was for defensive purposes and protection with the exception of his sword which was his only offensive weapon.
Paul compared the human soldier’s armory with the spiritual qualifications that a Christian must have, emphasizing that we need the whole armor of God.
In Ephesians 6:14, we read that our waist must be girded with truth. We know that the commandments of God are truth. Psalm 119:151 says: “You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.” We must have the commandments internalized in our hearts and minds when we want to obtain spiritual protection.
Ephesians 6:14 also tells us that we must put on the breastplate of righteousness. Romans 10:4 says that Christ is the end or goal of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. We must believe that Christ, living in us, will enable us to keep the law so that the righteous requirements of the law can be fulfilled in us (Romans 8:4). It is not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ in us, which helps us to keep God’s laws and be obedient to them.
Ephesians 6:15 continues that we must have shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We must have the gospel of peace internally in our hearts, and we must be involved in the work of getting that gospel out to the world.
Ephesians 6:16 speaks of the shield of faith which we must possess. We have to have faith, which is the hope for things not seen. Our hope is in the resurrection which we have not seen yet, but we have the faith that God will resurrect us to enter the kingdom of God.
We also need the helmet of salvation, as Ephesians 6:17 states. Salvation is a free gift from God which we cannot earn but we can lose it if we do not endure to the end, but instead become negligent and ultimately commit the unpardonable sin.
As mentioned, the only offensive weapon of the Roman or Greek soldier at the time of Paul was the sword, and Ephesians 6:17 compares it, spiritually, to the word of God which is the Bible. We have to have the word of God firmly entrenched in our hearts to be able to fight this spiritual battle we are in, and we are in it to win.
So, the big question is: How does our spiritual armor look, and will it carry us through to the end?