Love One Another
The Armor of God
My wife suggested I write a post on the “Armor of God” because of the confusion within the Body-of-Christ regarding the purpose of it. So, I desire in this post to break down what Paul is actually dealing with in his letter to the Ephesian church and why he concludes it with “putting on the full armor of God.”
First, if you are familiar with Paul’s letters to the churches you will realize there is a common theme in most of them. The theme is the Church, meaning the Body-of-Christ as a whole, and how, specifically, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus“ (Gal. 3:28, emphasis mine). Paul seems to need to continually remind his readers of this truth. Why? Because the history of “Jew and Gentile” and the hostility and competition between the two cultures had deep roots which were difficult to “uproot.” Therefore, these verses are placed right at the center of his letter to the Ephesians: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:1-6, emphasis mine). And this is what the armor of God is for!
Why it is important that we understand the purpose of Paul and the Holy Spirit telling us to “put on the full armor of God” is due to the fact that many Christians forget that all the books of the New Testament were written for a specific purpose; written to specific groups; dealing with specific issues. And they were all meant to be read as a “letter.” When we pick and choose certain passages out of individual books of the New Testament without grasping ahold of the context of the book and who it is written to and why it is being written, we end up with passages of scripture saying “to us” what it is not actually saying at all!
Second, Satan’s priority is to destroy the Church. We know he can’t. But he cannot help himself. He has and will always seek to divide and destroy. And he accomplishes his task when we “wage warfare against one another” in the Body-of-Christ. When we divide over “non-biblical” issues. When we argue over “worldly” things. When we argue due to pride, and selfishness. When we argue and build walls within the Church over insignificant things. NOW, he never tells us to not “battle” for the truth! He never tells us to just “wash over” true biblical doctrines and issues. He always tells us to stand for the truth and wage warfare for the truth. Otherwise, we will allow the lies of the evil one to creep in among the Church and “water down the gospel of Christ.” But regarding food, celebrations, cultural background, days of the week, color of skin, education, political views which have nothing to do with God and His Word, (But ones that do, must be addressed “biblically”), and all differences ethnically, and historically, must be put aside for the sake of Christ and His Church. Because, as Jesus said, how will the world know HIM? By our (the Body-of-Christ’s) love for one another! For, Jesus said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, emphasis mine). And this is what the full armor of God is all about: Putting on truth with one another. Speaking the truth in love (Belt of truth). Guarding your heart with right “doing” towards one another (Breastplate of Righteousness) Yes, it is true that Christ is our righteousness, but Paul is not talking about that here. Walking in “peace” towards one another, because we both (Jew and Gentile) have peace with God and one another having been “reconciled” through the cross of Christ (boots of the Gospel of Peace). And it is our “unified faith” that we are now ONE and together are saved and sealed by the cross of Christ (Sheild of Faith) “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:14-16, emphasis mine) This is THE THEME. Also, do not fear, doubt, or be deceived, but renew your minds with the truth of your Salvation. Guard your thoughts with the hope of the gospel; remembering you all are One New Man in Christ (Helmet of Salvation) looking up! And STANDING FIRM being unified on the foundation which all truth is weighed by…THE WORD OF GOD (Sword of the Spirit). Praying at all times “in the Spirit” meaning, in context of the passages, praying with “One heart, One mind, in Unity, through the Spirit of peace, in agreement with God!”
So, if you are a Christian who is constantly fighting demons in the world and tearing down evil spirits in the world. And you are putting on the armor of God to go out into the world and defeat evil by “battling.” Then you have misunderstood your call and the purpose of the armor of God biblically. Because we are to “put on the armor” that we might stand against the schemes of the enemy who is seeking to “destroy our unity” as Christians. These verses have nothing to do with the world. The world is already “blinded by the god of this world.” They are already under the spell of the devil. They are already children of Adam and therefore, children of the devil (biblically speaking). They are continually in darkness. Our job as Christian’s is to “bring Salt and Light” by the gospel of grace to the darkness, through love and truth.
Finally, know that our battle is not against “Jew and Greek” or in other words, not against those within the Body-of-Christ no matter their ethnic background. For we are not waging war against one another “in the flesh” but our battle is against the darkness who seeks to destroy the Church, and which seeks to divide us.
In summary: Paul ends his letter to the Ephesian Church this way. Reminding them of the “mystery of the Gospel of Christ” which is the …. CHURCH (the Body-of-Christ) One unit. One Faith. We all have unique gifts and callings of God. We all fit in this ONE Body. And this is the purpose for the “Armor of God”: Therefore, “keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel,” (Eph. 6:18-19, emphasis mine).