Did you know God gives us resources to ward off the enemy? Maybe you have read about the armor of God in Ephesians 6:11-17. Paul’s metaphorical descriptions of the “armor of God” along with instructions on how we should wear it to protect ourselves are clearly listed. But did you know he gets many of the parts from the OT, in the book of Isaiah? He even quotes Isaiah in the book of Romans that relates back to the armor of God. We sometimes dismiss the OT for different reasons, but there are many great messages and instructions for us in those books. The entire Bible is composed by people just like you and me whom God revealed his Word so that we could benefit from it, even today. It is God’s story. Everything in the OT points to the coming of Christ and everything in the NT is about Jesus’ life on earth in human form as well as His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. It is there for a reason, not to just take up space.
Regarding the armor, Paul gets the belt of truth or faithfulness from Isaiah 11:5, “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.” The ESV study Bible explains that the Messiah is not clothed with the trappings of human ego but is truly qualified to rule the world. Isaiah 52:7 is quoted in Romans 10:14-15, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who bring the good news, who publishes peace, who brings news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, your God reigns.” Isaiah 59:7 states, “He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head, he put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.” God “put on” the powers of a fully equipped warrior to fight off sin. He was committed to His victory from the depths of His being. We are to do the same with the resources God gives us. Like a soldier going to battle we can fight off our enemy, Satan, because of Jesus Christ.
The Greek word for “whole armor” is panoplia and relates to the complete equipment of a fully armed soldier with shields and weapons. The metaphors Paul uses for spiritual resources are given by Christ and are truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God are all aspects of God’s and the Messiah’s own character and work, as depicted in Isaiah, with which Christians are now equipped. The armor of God is the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace (always ready to proclaim the gospel), helmet of salvation, sword of the spirit (word of God) and he adds to this perseverance and to boldly proclaim the gospel while staying alert for the enemy. Did you know the opposite of perseverance is disobedience? So, in essence our basic obedience to God helps us fight off our spiritual attackers and helps us cloth ourselves in God’s armor.
Human resources are not enough, we must take up the whole armor of God to go up against spiritual forces. These are made available to all believers. We can stand firm against the enemy as Christian soldiers in a battle. The weapons of warfare are spiritual because they are rooted in prayer, the main and most powerful resource we can use. Paul says to pray “at all times”, “with all perseverance”, and “in the spirit”. Jesus’ prayers, when he was on earth, were always heartfelt and tearful. His prayers were answered then and He now stands with every Christian to intercede on their behalf so that ours are answered now.
We, as children of God, because of Jesus, can come boldly to the throne, in fact we are encouraged to do so. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) That is only possible when our sins are forgiven through sacrificial and the intercessory ministry of Jesus. God’s throne implies that Christians have the privilege of a personal relationship with God and can have confidence to speak to Him honestly without fear. Just like a good father expresses to his children and wants them to come to him; we can go to God.
Jesus did not leave us unarmed and unprotected when He ascended into heaven. Jesus Himself prayed for us as future believers before he ascended. I find that comforting. He also left us the gift of peace, and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and protect us until He comes back for us.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
“it is to your advantage that I go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” (John 17:20)
Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages and notes referenced are in the English Standard Version.