Ephesians 6: 14 – 24
“Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armour of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
21 To bring you up to date, Tychicus will give you a full report about what I am doing and how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper in the Lord’s work. 22 I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you.
23 Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you love with faithfulness. 24 May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Chuck Swindoll gives us some historical information about the belt. “This heavy, six-inch wide leather belt secured the soldier’s tunic so that the material wouldn’t hamper his movement. It also helped hold in place his breastplate and the sheath for his weapon. The belt thus had the important function of keeping him free, protected, and agile enough to attack of defend, whichever the situation in battle required.” (p. 309, Living Insights)
Paul compares this belt to truth. In North America today, truth seems to have faded far away. We hear about fake news; we’re told we can’t believe what the newspapers and TV reports say. And it’s certainly true when you listen to various sources of news, that you get a different slant on the same information. We wonder if the information we get about the pandemic is accurate. Are our various governments handling things well? I often wonder about news reports on my Facebook page posted by various friends and family. Some seem so ‘way out there’ that I doubt they are actually true. Even in the religious realm, there are so many versions of various faiths. People seem to shrug it off as whatever suits you is fine.
Yet in Ephesians, we are told it is important to wear the belt of truth – a key piece of our protective armour. What truth? 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” That is where we start – knowing that the Bible is true, and what it tells us is true. John 14: 6 says, “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’.” That is a basic truth that each Christ follower accepts. We know that “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us”. (Romans 5: 8) We also know that “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Romans 5: 1)
Why is this so important? When we understand that the Bible is truth, then we can build our lives on what it says. We can know we have a close relationship with God, and that our sin has been taken care of. We can know that living with the principles taught in Scripture will bring a free and satisfying life. Jesus told his disciples, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. (John 8: 32) For example, as we read through Ephesians, we found out that we need to live in peace with each other, be patient, control anger, work hard for our employers, etc. As we read these instructions all through the Bible, we need to take them in and live by them with God’s help. We also need to be aware of the spiritual warfare promoted by Satan who does not want us to live by God’s truth. John 8: 44 talks about Satan when it says, “He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” That is something we want to be protected from.
“The Roman breastplate was a large piece of leather, bronze, or chain mail that covered both the front and back of a soldier from his neck to his thighs. It’s purpose? To protect the warrior’s vital organs – the core of his physical life, without which he wold die in minutes. As such, the breastplate was an essential piece of armour. No soldier would consider stepping into battle without it.” (p. 309, Living Insights) Paul says that this breastplate is “the body armour of God’s righteousness”.
Romans 8 tells us about God’s righteousness, and how it is given to us. We don’t earn it or do wonderful things to get God’s approval. This is exactly how it happens.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” (v. 1 – 4)
Here is more reassurance from Romans 8: “And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you”. (v. 10 – 11) “So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory”. (v. 15 – 17)
Satan will try to tell you that you really aren’t accepted by God. He would love for you to work hard hoping for God’s approval and feel guilty when you know you’ve goofed up. Satan loves it when you look around you at other believers and feel that you are not as good, when you turn down opportunities to serve in church ministries because you feel inadequate. Put on that breastplate of God’s righteousness and protect yourself.
Our song for today is Truth Be Told by Matthew West