———————Spiritual Warfare and the Armor of God————————
After reading this the other night in youth, I saw a word repeated. Stand. This word is defined in the concordance as oppose, resist. I noticed that those words take an offensive stance. (…interesting…)
The next thing I noticed was the meaning behind what we are fighting against. The above passage states, “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get curious about wordplay and definitions. So, I researched rulers (principalities), authorities, and cosmic rulers and discovered a little treat. All of these were not referencing the same idea, but different degrees of a similar concept. In other words, powers to rulers to the executive prince.
In verses 14 through 20, the armor is listed. Upon first glance, I dissected the wording. The first piece is the belt of truth. This one is pretty self-explanatory since it resembles the truth. The second is not tricky. The breastplate of righteousness is defined in the concordance as a breastplate of justification. Justification is a term for salvation and redemption. The third piece is the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace (NKJV). This one is simple: peace. Following this is the shield of faith, defined as a reliance on Christ for salvation. The last two are the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.
First, the little thing I found out by looking at patterns was cool! Although I am unaware of any specific way the Romans would put in armor, I noticed Paul states these in a pattern. If you use the theory of reductionism to reduce everything to its simplest meaning, you are left with these concepts: truth, justification, Gospel, faith, mentality, and your defense. That order is laid out beautifully since it details the “steps” of a Christian. Truth — we are born with it written on our hearts (Romans 1:18; 2:1-…). Justification — when we are made aware of Christ’s work on the cross and accept His love. Gospel — making disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)(preparation of the gospel). Faith — fully relying on God daily for salvation (not promoting the belief that you can lose your salvation, but Jesus says to take up our cross DAILY). Mentality — guard your mind, if Satan controls it, he can control lots of other things too. Lastly, your attack — opposition (Heb. 4:12). Did you see the progression? Finally, we are to be in constant communication with our commander (v.18-20).
In conclusion, God doesn’t expect a newborn Christian to do everything. Nor does He expect a mature Christian to just make disciples. In this passage, we see disciple-making comes before offense (I am not promoting a free-love-for-all type of Christianity– 1Peter 3:15). Secondly, in the NKJV, it says the preparation of the Gospel of peace. That would infer we are only to tell and plant or water, NEVER to do the work of the Holy Spirit.
(One quick thing— in Roman times the shield would be wet leather so it could extinguish the fiery arrows. Also, we as Christians are born again through water and Spirit (John 3:5)… pretty cool…)