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. (Ephesians 6:13)
It Takes The Whole Armor
The Imperial Roman Army was one of the most feared armies in the history of mankind. James Lloyd writes, “The Roman army, famed for its discipline, organization, and innovation in both weapons and tactics, allowed Rome to build and defend a huge empire which for centuries would dominate the Mediterranean world and beyond.” The early Christians were well versed in the presence of the Roman Army as it extended throughout the known world. Soldiers filled the streets and garrisons dotted the landscape. Jesus preached the kingdom of God and the early church spread the gospel of the kingdom of Christ. The spiritual battle between righteousness and unrighteousness was depicted as a war and its participants, soldiers. Paul wove the imagery of the Roman soldier into the fabric of New Testament doctrine as a defining means to show the nature of the child of God.
War was common in the Roman Empire. Rebellions were frequent, uprisings and disturbances spread throughout the empire and the Roman Army was tasked with keeping the empire’s sovereignty together. Describing the warfare of the Christian, Paul uses the armor of the Roman soldier as an example of the spiritual character needed for those who fought on the side of Christ. Steeped in Old Testament language, the apostle shows the armor of God with waist girded with truth, wearing a breastplate of righteousness, feet shod with the gospel and with the sword of the word of God in one hand and the shield of faith in the other; the soldier of Christ will defeat the wiles of Satan. Wearing the helmet of salvation assures the victory over the rulers of the darkness of the hosts of wickedness. The armor of God is a complete set of defensive and offensive weapons to destroy Satan. With it, no evil can subdue, but without it, evil will gain the victory.
When a soldier engages in combat, he knows to take all of the things prepared for him to engage the enemy and while remaining safe from the actions of those who oppose him, to strike death to all who seek his life. The armor of God is of little value if it is not taken as a whole unit. If a man seeks to go into battle without his sword, how can he expect to win the battle? Without a breastplate of righteousness, no one will survive the onslaught of evil that is thrown before them. All of the elements of the armor are necessary. Paul says to take up the whole armor of God. He wants the brethren to put on all the armor so they can stand firm against the wiles of Satan. The logical conclusion is when the Christian goes into battle undressed, he will die.
God designed each part of the armor for its own unique function. Truth is necessary to battle the lies of Satan. The body armor of all that is right protects the body’s vital organs. There is a right and wrong and wearing righteousness deflects the false teaching of Satan. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so powerful that Satan has no response. The devil knows how immense the influence of the good news of Jesus will be on the heart and fears its presence. Faith shields the heart from the fiery arrows of Satan constantly sent to destroy. The helmet of salvation encompasses the mind knowing all the promises of God are true. The soldier needs to have a clear mind when he fights the adversary. With the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, the Christian soldier defends against falsehood and attacks the lies of Satan with what is true.
The whole armor of God is required to fight the devil. No one piece is exclusive to the other, but every part depends on the other. Going to war takes training to know how to use the equipment created to fight the foe. Fighting Satan requires the teaching of God’s word on how to put on the armor and how to use the armor. The kingdom of Christ is at war. Through the victory of Jesus Christ, the victory has already been given. Satan knows he has lost the war. He is now trying to take as many of the soldiers of Christ with him to perdition as he can. His task is not to win the war. The work of Satan is to destroy the soldiers of Christ. Paul said to put on the whole armor of God. Put it on Christian – all of it. Never leave without all your armor.