Armor of God

 

Armor of God Doctrine Page Header PicDoctrine of the Armor of God
2017 – Eph 6:13-17

In our main outline of the book of Ephesian, we are on the fourth section, “The warrior’s resources.”

E. The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles, Eph 6:10-20.

1. The Exhortation to Arms, The Believer’s Warfare, Eph 6:10-13.

a. The warrior’s power, Eph 6:10.

b. The warrior’s armor, Eph 6:11.

c. The warrior’s foes, Eph 6:12.

d. The Warrior’s Resource, The Explanation of Our Armor, Eph 6:13–17.

Full Armor of God 23. The Equipment, vs 13-17.

Eph 6:13, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.”

Therefore,” is DIA HOUTOS that could be translated, “because of this, for this sake,” in reference to our wrestling with Satan and his cosmic legions. It is a call to charge, a call to mount up, a call to, “take up the full armor of God,” ANALAMBANO, in the Aorist, Active, Imperative for a command that means, “take up, take on board, receive to oneself,” we will see this word again in vs. 16, regarding the shield of faith. In the LXX this word was used for the “taking up” or rapture of Enoch and Elijah, Gen 5:24; 2 King 2:11. Then we have HO PANOPLIA HO THEOS. We noted PANOPLIA in vs. 11, for “full or complete armor,” that includes both offensive and defensive weapons. Therefore, we are commanded by God to put on God.

We also noted PANOPLIA in Luke 11:22, “But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied, and distributes his plunder.”

Luke 11:22, speaks of being defeated in spiritual warfare. The “taking away his armor,” is analogous to the spiritual blindness Satan brings to the one who does not utilize the full armor of God when wrestling with the enemy; Satan and his cosmic system.

Therefore, in your warfare against “the schemes of the devil,” you are to arm yourself with spiritual armor in the same way that the Roman soldier was customarily equipped for his physical warfare, (perhaps one was chained to Paul at the moment of writing this); one piece at a time until he was fully equipped. That means we are to learn the word of God line upon line, precept upon precept, Isa 28:9-10.

Isa 28:9-10, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

Next, we have the HINA clause which begins with “that,” HINA, “that, so that, in order that, etc.,” which introduces the final purpose-result for why we need to put on the armor of God. It has two parts.

Part 1, “You may be able to resist in the evil day.”
You may be able” is the Aorist, Passive Deponent, Subjunctive of DUNAMAI, δύναμαι that means, “be able, have power to do, have capacity for.” It is inherent power to do something, the God given power and ability to stand your ground against the schemes of the Devil and his cosmic system.

The Constative Aorist views the entirety of the action of “resisting” the devil’s schemes

The Passive-Deponent voice, says that you receive this inherent power from God. This power or strength is founded in the armor of God, and the deponent here tells us we receive it through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine, while filled with the Holy Spirit. The deponent gives this an active sense while being passive.

The Subjunctive Mood is for potential. We have the potential to have the inherent power and strength of God, but it is a volitional issue, depending on whether or not you decide to buckle down to learn and apply God’s Word in your life.

Notice that the DUNAMAI is a cognate of the Noun DUNAMIS, one of the definitions of divine power the fallen Angelic race has. Once again, we see that we are on a level playing field. We are qualified for the wrestling match, and we too can have the inherent power of God to not just compete, but to win, by standing firm in our faith and resisting the scheme of the Devil.

“Resisting,” ANTHISTEMI, ἀνθίστημι, “to oppose, resist, or withstand,” in the Aorist, Active, Infinitive. The root word HISTEMI, which we will see below, means to, “stand, stand firm, place firmly, etc.” The prefix is ANTI, “against, instead of, in the place of.” This makes us the “anti-devil.”

This Constative Aorist tense also views the entirety of the Action of holding your ground.

The Active voice means you have to produce the action. In other words, once you have received the Armor of God, you have to use it. It does you no good to have the power of God and then leave it on the self, leave it at home, or better yet, leave it in your Bible or your study notes. It does you no good there. But when you do apply it, it does a world of good within your life and for your spiritual walk with Christ.

The Infinitive is for Purpose-Result to indicate the outcome produced by having the inherent power of God resident within your soul. You will be able to resist the schemes of the Devil, when the time comes. This is not a one-time event and then you are done. No! This is something you need to do throughout your life. Even though the trials, tribulations, and temptations come at you one event at a time, they will keep on coming throughout your life. So, we need to resist the Devil every time he rears his ugly head. That is noted in the next phrase.

ANTHISTEMI is also used in James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9; cf. Luke 21:15; Acts 6:10.

James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” 

1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

When we put on the full armor of God, our adversary will not be able to oppose nor defeat us.

Luke 21:15, “For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.

Acts 6:10, “And yet they were unable to withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.”

In the evil day,” is the Dative of EN HO HEMERA HO PONEROS. Here we see PONEROS, which is a cognate of PONERIA that we noted in vs. 12, regarding the “spiritual forces of wickedness.” Therefore, when Satan or his demons attack you with a temptation, trial, or tribulation, you are prepared for it and can stand firm. In other word, you can “resist the devil.” Even though this phrase is in the Singular, it does not assume a “once in a life time event.” Rather, it is speaking of the moment by moment events that come your way, yet one at a time. This is an Adjective to describe that the “day” HEMERA, is PONEROS, πονηρός that means, “painful, serious, grievous, bad, wicked, evil, depraved, etc.”

Remember, Satan looks for the unguarded times and areas of your life where he can get a beachhead and mount an attack against you, Eph 4:27. Therefore, this day can be “painful, serious, grievous, bad, wicked, evil, depraved, etc.” In other words, it is not always “rainbows, unicorns, puppies, and kittens” i.e., fun, to have these types of attacks. But, regardless of the severity, we have more than enough power from God to handle it and win!

As Paul noted in Eph 5:15-17, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Part 2, “Having done everything.”

The second purpose we have in this passage for “putting on the armor of God,” is “and having done everything.”

It begins with the Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and” that adds part 2 to part 1. Here the exhortation is to do everything we possibly can to hold our ground in the wrestling match we are a part of.

Having done” is the Aorist, Middle, Participle in the Nominative Plural of KATERGAZOMAI, κατεργάζομαι that means, “accomplish, achieve, bring about, work out, or result in.” It is a compound word from the Preposition KATA that means, “according to,” and the verb ERGAZOMAI that means, “to work, be active, do accomplish, carry out, or perform.” Generally speaking, this word places more emphasis on the end result of the action rather than on the actual act or work itself.

The Consummative or Culminative Aorist tense views the entirety of the action with emphasis on the end results or conclusion.

The Middle Voice means the results of your own actions of putting on the armor of God benefit you the believer.

The Participle in the Normative plural tells us that this then becomes a position in which we stand, a goal in which we are to accomplish.

In the ancient Greek writings of Sophocles and Plato, this word was sometimes used for, “tilling soil, cultivating land, and to practice or work at something.” Therefore, we see the imagery that we need to prepare the soil of our souls to receive the armor of God so that it takes root and blossoms in our life, so that we are victorious in the battle, cf. Mat 13:8, 23; Mark 4:8, 20; Luke 8:8, 15.

The word appears in the Septuagint, (LXX), 11 times, translating 8 different Hebrew words. While the basic meaning varies among these passages, both of the basic definitions seen above also appear. During this period, another meaning also appeared in non-canonical writings; namely, “to overpower and conquer,” e.g., 1 Esdras 4:4. This is its meaning in our passage Eph 6:13.

All of this is also some of the imagery of KATERGAZOMAI, as used in Phil 2:12; James 1:3.

Phil 2:12, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

James 1:3, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Now, this action of “having done” is emphasized by the Adjective, “everything,” which is HAPAS, ἅπας in the Greek that means, “all, whole, every, altogether, etc.” It means there is no stone left unturned. It means we have done everything in our spiritual walk to be prepared for the day of evil, (trials, tribulations, temptations), when it comes. We have done everything necessary to put on the full armor of God.

Then finally, we are “to stand firm,” the Aorist, Active, Infinitive of HISTEMI, the root word of ANTHISTEMI which we noted above.

The Consummative Aorist views the end results that we are able to stand firm in this spiritual wrestling match we are in.

The Active voice tells us the believer with the armor of God in their soul completes the action of standing firm.

This Infinitive is appositional, in that in the finality of this sentence, it links the two purposes together: 1) resist in the evil day, 2) having done everything. In fact, the latter should come first, “doing everything necessary” to put on the armor of God so that we can “resist in the evil day,” i.e., when the temptation comes. Therefore, when we put those two together, we then have the result of standing firm, and therefore we “stand firm.” This Infinitive is also like putting a semicolon before “stand firm” in English.

So, “to stand firm,” emphasizes that 1. “We are able to resist in the evil day,” and 2. “We have done everything necessary.”

Therefore, we could translate this Eph 6:13, “Because of this, (i.e., the schemes of Satan and his cosmic system), take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, (i.e., in the trials, tribulation, and temptation of Satan’s cosmic system), and having done everything; stand firm.

It is likely that Paul had in mind Isa 59:9-21, and particularly vs. 17, when he wrote these passages. They describe the hopelessness in our own power and strength against the adversary, and our hopelessness regarding our own sin. Yet, God came to our rescue through His Son Jesus Christ, who Himself came with the armor of God to win the victory for us, so that now we too can be victorious through Him and His Word resident within our souls, i.e., the armor of God. Cf. Isa 11:4-5.

Isa 11:4-5, “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.”

As our Lord said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

See this video, Titanium, a song by French DJ and music producer David Guetta, featuring vocals by Australian recording artist Sia, which was written by Sia, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuinfort and Afrojack. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsrnGyRS6l4

Therefore, we are commanded to put on the armor, that is, take the weapons of God, and withstand Satan, all of which we do by faith. Knowing that Christ has already conquered Satan, and that the spiritual armor and weapons are available, by faith we accept what God gives us and go out to meet the foe. The day is evil, and the enemy is evil, yet Rom 8:31 tells us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Armor of God IntroIntroduction to the Armor of God.

Like Isa 59:17, several other NT passages speak about putting on the armor of God. Notice that there are variations in the analogies used for the specific pieces of armament. That tells us that the entire Word of God is part of our “full armor,” not just the few doctrines noted in Eph 6:13-17. Nevertheless, what we have in our passage is vital to putting on and utilizing the power of God for victory in our spiritual warfare.

Rom 13:12, “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

In this passage, the helmet is the same, but the breastplate varies from “righteousness” in Ephesians, to “faith and love” in 1 Thessalonians. Both were written by Paul.

In Eph 6:14-17 the “full armor of God” includes 6 pieces of equipment: girded loins and a breastplate, vs. 14; footwear, vs. 15; a shield, vs. 16; and a helmet and sword, vs. 17.

Each of the pieces of armament are accompanied by a doctrine found in God’s Word. They include: truth and righteousness, vs. 14; the gospel of peace, vs. 15; faith, vs. 16; and salvation and the Word of God, vs. 17.

These are all Christ-like virtues that we are to take on as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. These virtues that are connected with the pieces of armor have already been mentioned by Paul in the Book of Ephesians, and some will be after these passages:

  1. Truth, Eph 1:13; 4:15, 21, 24-25; 5:9.
  2. Righteousness, Eph 4:24; 5:9.
  3. The Gospel, Eph 1:13; 3:6; of Peace, Eph 2:14-18; 4:3; 6:19, 23.
  4. Faith, Eph 1:13, 15, 19; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13; 6:23.
  5. Salvation, Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23.
  6. The Word of God, Eph 1:13; 5:26

Eph 6 - Part 3 ( vs. 13 ) - (7) Books of the BibleVs. 14, Truth and Righteousness

Eph 6:14, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

This verse begins with the same command as in vs. 13, “stand firm,” with the Aorist, Active, Imperative. With this is the Inferential Conjunction OUN, “therefore.” to set up the conclusion to the preceding discussion. In other words, this is how we fight and win in the angelic conflict, this is how we stand. Here, we have six pieces of armor and weaponry to be victorious. Vs. 14, gives us two parts of the conclusion:

  1. “Having girded your loins with truth,” PERIZONNUMI HO OSPHUN HUMEIS EN ALETHEIA.
  2. “Having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” ENDUO HO THORAX HO DIAIOSUNE.

We begin with, “Having girded your loins with truth.”

Belt of Truth Pic 1“Having girded,” is PERIZONNUMI, περιζώννυμι that means, “to gird around or about, to bind around.” It comes from the root word ZONNUMI, that means, “gird or bind about.” The prefix Preposition PERI means “around or about.” So, together it means, “to gird around,” which we could also say, “wrap around.”

In the LXX, it was used for being girded with strength or gladness, Psa 18:32; 30:11.

In the NT era, it had its literal meaning, yet it also developed a specific meaning, such as, “to put on a girdle,” which acquired the meaning of, “make oneself ready to go,” or “to take off a girdle” meant, “to rest” or “to be at leisure.” As such, sayings like, “everyone who wears the girdle,” came to mean, “men fit for war.” Thus, the wearing of a girdle took on the meaning of one who is “ready” or “prepared” or “strengthened for service or action.” Therefore, for a soldier, before the armor could be put on, he had to bind the loose, flowing garments worn by people of that day, so he could enjoy freedom of movement. To tighten the belt meant a soldier was ready for duty, and to loosen it meant he was going off duty.

In our passage, it is in the Aorist, Middle, Participle in the Nominative Plural.

The Aorist is used for simple past tense “having girded.”

The Reflexive Middle voice means we receive the benefit of the past action of being girded.

The Participle of Means is used here to define how we are to, “stand firm” and also gives us contemporaneous, as well as antecedent time. In other words, we have girded ourselves in the past and remain girded in the present to fight and win.

PERIZONNUMI occurs six times in the NT. In the three occurrences in Luke it means, “to prepare oneself for service” and thus is translated in Luke 12:35, “Be dressed ready for service,” (NIV).

In Luke 12:35, the NASB has, “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight.” It should read, “Let your loins be girded about, and keep your lamps burning.”

Luke 12:37, “Blessed are those slaves whom the master shall find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.” 

Luke 17:8, “But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink’?” 

In Rev 1:13 and 15:6, the verb communicates the idea of wearing a “golden girdle” or “golden sash” (NIV), around the chest of Jesus and the angels, (see Dan 10:5), which is a mark of priestly service and triumphant royalty.

Rev 1:13, “And in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle.” 

Rev 15:6, “And the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles.”

In Acts 12:8, some manuscripts have PERIZONNUMI, while others have the root word ZONNUMI. Nevertheless, the sense of readiness, to get up and go, is in view.

Acts 12:8, “And the angel said to him, ‘Gird yourself and put on your sandals.’ and he did so. And he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me’.”

In Ephesians, it is the metaphoric use and conveys the idea of girding oneself around with the truth of God and His Word, to gain protection from the attacks of evil spiritual forces.

The area of the body girded in our verse is “the loins,” HO OSPHUS, ὀσφῦς that means, “waist or loins.” It represents anywhere in the mid-section of the body. Literally, it was used for the strong trunk of the body that gives stability and power for vigorous action. It is the part of the body where a belt or girdle gives support or binds the clothing out of the way for work, travel, or battle. In the NT, OSPHUS is used literally only in reference to John the Baptist who wore, “a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt about his waist / loins,” Mat 3:4; cf. Mark 1:6.

In the Scriptures, “loins” are used often to signify strength, and girded loins means the opposite of self-indulgence, ease, or carelessness.

Isa 11:5, “Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.”

In the Greek culture, it stood for virility and strength, and metaphorically, for the innermost source of power for living, for working, and for passing on a heritage to posterity.

The common phrase, “gird up the loins” means, “to prepare for sustained and effective effort, to make ready for action,” Ex 12:11; 1 Kings 18:46; Job 38:3; 40:7; 1 Peter 1:13.

1 Peter 1:13 (KJV), “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, to be girded about your loins, speaks to your inner strength and power.

Next, we have the thing we are to gird around our loins, “with the truth,” the Dative of sphere of EN ALETHEIA, ἀλήθεια that means, “truth, dependability, freedom from error, and integrity.” Originally, the word denoted something which was not hidden or a disclosure of something which was hidden. In Greek philosophy, the word often carried the sense of that which really exists, “the reality behind all apparent reality.

In the NT, it is used for “that which is true and correct; that which is certain and on which one can depend; that which is pure and genuine.” At the same time, the NT uses ALETHEIA to center on Jesus Christ, as grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, John 1:17, who is Himself, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” John 14:6. It is also used for the Word of God, and with the girding of the loins it means, Bible Doctrine resident within the soul. 

2 Peter 1:12, “Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.

Therefore, Paul compared the wide leather belt of the soldier to the “belt of truth” worn by the Christian who stands literally, “in the realm of truth.” The person who operates in the realm of the truth of God’s Word will not be defeated in battle.

Principles of Truth

As we have noted, truth is a part of the Christian’s armor of God. To have the armor of God, we must have the truth within us. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn and know the truth.

First of all, God is absolute truth or as we also call it, veracity, Ex 34:6; Psa 31:5; 89:14; Isa 65:16.

Psa 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; lovingkindness and truth go before You.”

It is one of His main attributes:

The 10 Major Attributes of God are:

S Sovereignty
+R Righteous
J Justice
L Love
EL Eternal Life
OS Omniscience (All Knowing)
OPt Omnipotence (All Powerful)
Opr Omnipresence (Everywhere)
I Immutability (Unchanging)
V Veracity (Absolute Truth)

God’s attributes have three major characteristics; they are Eternal, Functional, and Directional.

Truth is both an “absolute attribute” of God as part of His perfection, and a “relative attribute” being His Veracity.

“Absolute Attributes” mean, they are inherent and intransitive to His being, (i.e., it does not require an object to complete its meaning). The “absolute attributes” are primary and incommunicable, (they cannot be related to something we understand). We do not come into contact with these. These attributes are most important in God’s relationship to God; they are not related to man.

“Relative Attributes” mean they are related to mankind and communicable, (we can define and understand them). They are also transitive, that means they express an action which is carried from the subject to an object, and they are anthropopathic, meaning that God often reveals Himself in terms of man’s experience and activities. Therefore, God reveals Himself to man only in terms of truth or veracity.

John 4:24, “God is a spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Spirit and truth are both immaterial, yet we need both in order to know and walk with God, which He provides. 

Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Truth is defined as, “Conformity to knowledge, fact, actuality, or logic; fidelity to an original or standard; reality and actuality. It is a statement proven to be or accepted as true. It is sincerity; integrity; honesty. Truth is most commonly used to mean correspondence with facts or with what actually occurred.”

Truth is:

  • That which is real, as compared to the fictional or imaginary. (The God of the Bible is the true God, while the gods of the heathen are vanity and nothing, mere imaginary beings, having neither existence nor attributes.)
  • That which completely comes up to its idea, or to what it claims to be. (A true man is a man in whom the idea of manhood is fully realized. The true God is He in whom is found all that deity implies.)
  • That in which the reality exactly corresponds to the manifestation. What you see is what you get. (God is true, because He really is what He declares Himself to be; because He is what He commands us to believe Him to be; and because all His declarations correspond to what really is.)
  • That which can be depended upon, which does not fail, or change, or disappoint. (In this sense also, God is true as He is immutable and faithful. His promises cannot fail; His Word never disappoints.)

Veracity is defined as, “Habitual adherence to the truth; conformity to truth or fact; accuracy; precision. Veracity implies factual accuracy and honesty, principally with respect to spoken or written expression.”

Veracity is that perfection of God, which makes all His actions and words conform to the truth. God is truth means He cannot lie because He is absolute truth, Num 23:19; Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18.

Titus 1:1-2, “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.”

Heb 6:18, “So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.

Veracity (a transitive word) is the truth of God in relationship to His creatures in general, and to His people in particular, Psa 138:2; John 3:33; Rom 3:4. 

Psa 138:2, “I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.”

John 3:33, “He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true.”

His veracity provides truth in His Word for us, 1 Kings 17:24

1 Kings 17:24, “Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth’.”

God means what He says in all His revelation, including; mandates, promises, judgments, and warnings, Psa 19:9; 119:142, 151; Rev 16:7. 

Psa 119:142, “Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, And Your law is truth.” 

Psa 119:151, “You are near, O LORD, And all Your commandments are truth.”

Rev 16:7, “And I heard the altar saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments’.”

Armor of God Resurrection SundayResurrection Sunday

As we celebrate our Lord’s death and Resurrection today, I wanted to share with you a passage I have always been drawn to. It is the passage when Jesus Christ was before Pontius Pilate during His trials for crucifixion. In that scene, we see Jesus having a brief discourse with Pilate regarding who He is. In that event, Jesus was using the opportunity to witness the truth to Pilate for salvation. John, in his gospel, writes more about this scene than any of the other gospel writers.

John 18:33, “Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’”

The question Pilate asked Jesus in vs. 33, “Are You the King of the Jews?” is a most significant question for Pilate. It was asked to determine whether Jesus constituted a threat to Roman civil order. Such order could be threatened by rival kings. So, he asked Jesus whether He considered Himself King of the Jews or not. 

John 18:34, “Jesus answered, ‘Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?’”

This is a pointed question. You see if Pilate had said this on his “own initiative” it would have meant that he was on the path to believing in the Messiah. 

John 18:35, “Pilate answered, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You up to me; what have You done?’”

This was a disheartening response by Pilate, because he had not contemplated who Jesus was. He was only going along with what the Pharisees wanted him to do. Nevertheless, if Pilate later recalled this conversation, he might have pondered Jesus’ question.

John 18:36, “Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”

Jesus’ reply to Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world,” was a way to tacitly admit that He was the King of the Jews, vs. 37, but clarifying that He was not a king such as the Jews or Romans were expecting. He was a Priestly-King in the order of Melchizedek, (Heb 5:6-10; 7:1), who came to sacrifice and save.

Heb 7:1, “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, …” 

Heb 5:6-10, “Just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” 7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, 10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In addition, we see something of the Angelic Conflict here, as this world is currently not Jesus Christ’s kingdom. It is currently Satan’s kingdom, as noted in Mat 4:8-10.

Mat 4:8-10, “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; 9and he said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘ YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'”

Now back in John 18:37, “Pilate therefore said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth (MARTUREO ALETHEIA). Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”

Jesus’ purpose as The King was the unusual one of testifying to the truth. His reply to Pilate that He came from heaven, from God the Father, to witness the truth means, He came to teach the way of salvation to all of mankind, including Pilate and the Romans who were about to crucify Him. 

John 18:38a, “Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”

Unfortunately for Pilate, he did not understand the truth at that time. Maybe, later in life, when reflecting upon his interactions with Jesus he did, but at this time, and as far as scripture is concerned, we see that Pilate did not know the truth, even when it was standing right in front of him, as Jesus is, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life,” John 14:6.

John 18:38b, “And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.”

It is fascinating that after Jesus admitting that He was a King, when rival kings where a threat to Rome, that Pilate finds, “no guilt in Him.” Oh, from the mouths of babes! Pilate did not understand that Jesus was the Messiah King, yet he declared that He was without guilt, as Jesus Christ is the spotless lamb, the perfect sacrifice according to God’s Law.

And as you know the rest of the story, after the back and forth between the Pharisees, Herod, and Pilate, Pilate decides to grant the Pharisees their wish and have Jesus crucified. As a result, the true sacrifice for Israel and the entire world was completed, Heb 9:11-2.

Heb 9:11-12, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Heb 9:26b, “… but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”

The spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the Cross paid for our sins. His physical death demonstrated the completion of God’s plan for our salvation. Then three days later, Jesus rose from the dead to signify the victory won over sin and death.

1 Cor 15:54-58, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. 55“O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Now that the victory over sin and death has been won by Jesus Christ, it is our job to go out and tell the whole world of this eternal truth, just as the Apostle began to do on the day of Pentecost, 50 days after our Lord’s resurrection, Acts 2:21-36.

And if anyone has a doubt about the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Darrel Bock wrote a nice short piece regarding the veracity that Christ was resurrected:

“The story of the four gospels stands in contrast to the culture around them, which did not regard women as reliable enough to be witnesses. All four Gospels insist that Jesus first appeared to women. This detail, running against the larger, ancient culture as it does, is one of the key evidences that these Resurrection stories were not invented by a church trying to give Jesus a higher status than He really had. Had believers merely invented these appearance-and-empty-tomb stories with the hope that they would convince the culture about Jesus, they would not have unanimously picked women to bear the story’s burden to be true. That Jesus selected women as the first witnesses to God’s great act is an affirmation of their value and merit before God.” (Breaking the DaVinci Code, pages 138-139)

So, the truth is:

  • That which the Lord brought with Him when He came down from heaven, John 18:37.

John 18:37, “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’.”

  • The gospel of truth came by Jesus Christ, John 1:17.

John 1:17, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”

  • Jesus Christ is, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” for salvation because, “no one comes to the Father but through Me,” John 14:6.
  • The Word of God that sanctifies, John 17:17.

John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

  • Receiving the truth of salvation results in eternal security, Eph 1:13.

Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

  • Having been saved, we are to go out and communicate the truth of salvation, just as the apostles did, 1 Tim 2:7

1 Tim 2:7, “For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.”

Pontius Pilate asked our Lord one of the most important questions in life, “What is truth.” In Satan’s world, which views all things, all thoughts, all ideas, etc., as “truth,” it is a very difficult and confusing question for people to answer.

One of the favorite sayings of the ultra-liberal, politically correct, crowd of today is, “your truth,” meaning everyone has their own truth. In other words, if you think something is true, then it is to you, and that is ok. What that means for everyone else is that we are to accept and respect each individual’s truth, as truth, and leave them be. We are not to try to change their mind about “their truth” with “our truth.” Everyone has their own truth and that is good. Well, in reality that is not good, in fact that is anarchy. And, no society can function under anarchy. In addition, the ones who support the claim of “your truth,” do not even follow their own mantra, because as soon as another “truth” is put forward that contradicts their “truth,” they begin to get violent to force their truth to the front.

You see, that is the way of Satan and His cosmic system. It is part of the system of chaos that Satan has created. Satan’s “truth” is that he wants to be like the Most High God, Isa 14:14. But in reality, there is only one “Most High God.” Satan wants God to accept his truth, that he is co-equal with God and deserves to have his own kingdom. But the truth is, there is only “one God,” Mal 2:10; Mark 12:32; 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6; 1 Tim 2:5

So, if we accept Satan’s truth as true and God’s truth as true, which contradict each other, then “what is truth?”

Fortunately for mankind, the One God, The Most High, has given us the absolute “truth,” which is found in His Word, The Bible. When we look to the Bible, we can know the truth without doubt or wavering. At the same time, we will also understand the “untruths” or “lies” of Satan’s cosmic system that we are to reject, refute, and reprove as needed.

In fact, one of the most loving things you can do for someone, is to set them straight from the falsehoods and lies they have been operating under, thinking that they were truth. Ask yourself this question, if someone told your friend an outright lie, and you knew about it, would you just “let it be,” and let your friend operate under a lie? Or, would you do your best to give them the real truth and set them straight.

In essence, that is what we should be doing for those who are in our lives and are unbelievers. They have been told a lie about God, Jesus, and life. We need to give them the truth. We need to set them free from Satan’s lies, and we can only do that with the truth of God’s Word, John 8:32.

John 8:32, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Think about it, apart from the element of truth in God, there would be no certainty at all in this life, and we would wander on in comfortless perplexity not knowing where we came from or where we are going. For those who reject God and Jesus Christ, that is the state in which they live.

On the other hand, truth in God is surety that what He has disclosed is according to the true nature of things and that His disclosures may be depended upon with complete certainty. This certainty characterizes every revelation from God.

God is truth means He is absolutely dependable, without falseness of any kind. God’s plan, principles, and promises are completely reliable, accurate, real, and factual, Isa 25:1.

Isa 25:1, “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.”

  • The Father is said to be truth by the Son, John 7:28; 17:3.

John 17:3, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

  • Jesus Christ is, “The way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6.
  • Regarding the Holy Spirit, “The Spirit is the truth,” 1 John 5:6.

This attribute of God is the ground of all our assurance, as God’s truthfulness is a rock of assurance for the people of God, Deut 32:4; Micah 7:20.

Deut 32:4, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

God’s veracity is evident in:

  • His words. The setting forth of God’s truth is in the Bible. It, being the Word of God, is true in all its parts. There is a vast array of truth, themes, and subjects about which man could not know by himself. The Bible supplies this dependable information, 2 Sam 7:28; Psa 12:6; John 8:45‑46; 17:17; 2 Cor 6:7.

2 Sam 7:28, “Now, O Lord GOD, You are God, and Your words are truth, and You have promised this good thing to Your servant.”

John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

Psa 12:6, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.”

  • His works, Psa 33:4; 111:7-8; Dan 4:37.

Psa 111:7, “The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure.”

  • His ways, Psa 25:10; 86:15; Rev 15:3.

Rev 15:3, “And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations!’”

Regardless of how things seem in this life, because God is truth, we can count on the Lord, always. Therefore, understanding who and what God is and relying upon His perfect character for both adversity and prosperity builds a foundation of confidence and inner peace. The results are wise decisions and actions in every circumstance of life.

Many ask, “How do I know if I am learning truth or receiving truth?” Well, the simple answer is, Truth will cause you to be stable, certain, and sure. As we have noted, the basic Hebrew word for Truth is EMETH that means, “stability, certainty, and trustworthiness.” It means that which produces faithfulness, stability, and security. Therefore, truth is firmness, security, and integrity of mind. If you lack faithfulness, stability, and security, it is usually because you lack Truth, (i.e., Bible Doctrine in your soul) in your life. 

Prov 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, also buy wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

God’s righteousness loves to see His Truth in action, especially in you when you have stability of mind and soul. Therefore, truth is something we must be taught. It does not come naturally, it must be “put on,” Eph 6:14. Cf. Psa 25:5; John 8:31-32.

Psa 25:5, “Lead me in Your Truth and teach me: for You are the God of my deliverance.”

John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My Word then are you My disciples indeed. And you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.”

To reveal Himself to mankind and angles, God can only do so in terms of truth. Therefore, Bible doctrine is absolute truth and perfectly reveals the truth and holiness of God. The whole purpose of the Gospel and the object of salvation is to bring us to the truth about God, Psa 31:5; 40:11; 91:4.

Psa 31:5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.”

Psa 40:11, “You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.”

Psa 91:4, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His truth is a shield and bulwark.”

Bulwark is the Hebrew word SOCHERAH (so-kay-raw’), used only here in the entire O.T. It is something surrounding the believer similar to the analogy of the “armor of God,” especially the girding of the loins with truth. Truth protects us and surrounds us.

Truth protects us and keeps us from deception. This is why the apostle Paul warns us that in the last days truth will be rejected and deception accepted. There are many false doctrines which oppose and supplant the known will of God which can only be rejected by those which believe and know the truth, 2 Thes 2:10-11; 1 Tim 4:3; 2 Tim 3:5-8; 4:1-4.

1 Tim 4:3, “Men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” 

Truth is always accompanied by God’s grace and mercy, which combined provides blessing to man, Psa 26:3; 85:10-11; Isa 65:16; John 1:14.

Isa 65:16, “Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth.”

Psa 85:10-11, “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”

Therefore, we should be presenting our hearts to the Lord as, “teachable,” to receive the truth of His Word, Psa 25:5; 86:11.

Psa 25:5, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” 

Psa 86:11, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”

Truth must be taught. This is why fathers are told in Deut 6:6-9; Isa 38:19, to make truth known to their children.

Deut 6:6-9, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Truth must be taught. This is why in Mat 22:16, our Lord taught the way of God in truth.

Truth must be taught. This is why the apostle Paul tells us that God’s will for all mankind is, “to be saved and then to come to the knowledge of the Truth,” 1 Tim 2:4.

Truth must be taught. This is why we are commanded in Prov 3:3, to bind it to our necks and have it written upon the tables of our hearts, so that it will never be lost.

Prov 3:3, “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

Truth must be taught, because God desires truth to be within us, 2 Cor 11:10, “As the truth of Christ is in me….,” because without Truth it is impossible to properly worship God, John 4:23-24.  

John 4:23-24, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Truth must be taught, because God is to be served in truth, and our walk before Him is to be done in truth, Josh 24:14; 1 Sam 12:24; 1 Kings 2:4; 1 John 1:6.

Josh 24:14, “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.”

1 Sam 12:24, “Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider what great things He has done for you.” 

1 Kings 2:4, “…If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.” 

Psa 86:11, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.”

Truth must be taught, because Truth is to be meditated upon, believed, and embraced, Phil 4:8; 2 Thes 2:12.

Truth must be taught, because Truth is the basis for our Christian fellowship and love for one another, 1 Peter 1:22.

1 Peter 1:22, “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart.”

Truth must be taught, because love will always rejoice in the truth, 1 Cor 13:6.

1 Cor 13:6, “Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.”

Truth must be taught, because Truth is according to godliness, Titus 1:1. 

Titus 1:1, “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen (the elect) of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness.”

Truth must be taught, because Truth abides continually with the saints, 2 John 2.

2 John 1:2, “For the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever.”

Truth must be taught, because our prayer life will be more effective when we walk in Truth, 2 Kings 20:3.

2 Kings 20:3, “Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.”

Truth must be taught, because the fruit of the Spirit is accomplished in the sphere of Truth, Eph 5:9.

Eph 5:8-9, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light, 9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).”

Truth must be taught, so that the people of God, as His servants, always speak the Truth, especially to one another, Zech 8:16; Prov 12:17, 22; 2 Cor 12:6; Eph 4:15, 25; Col 3:9.

Zech 8:16, “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.”  

Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,”

Eph 4:25, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.”

Truth must be taught, even if others do not always appreciate hearing the Truth spoken, Gal 4:16.

Gal 4:16, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?”

Truth must be taught, because Truth is what will judge the believer at the Bema Seat Judgment, and the unbeliever at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

John 12:48, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the Word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” 

Psa 96:13, “For the Lord is coming to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His Truth.”

This is why if a Pastor really loves and worships the Lord, he will 2 Tim 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”

And He will feed the flock of God, John 21:15-17, “If you love Me, feed My sheep, … lambs…” Feed them what? Truth, 2 Cor 6:4-8.

2 Cor 6:4-8, “But in everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, 5in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, 6in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, 7in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, 8by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true.”

It gives the Pastor and God great joy to see His children walking in truth, 3 John 1:4.

3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”

The Breastplate of Righteousness

In Eph 6:14, we now address the second piece of armor, “the breastplate of righteousness.” The verse reads, “Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness.

And having put on,” is KAI ENDUO, where ENDUO is in the Aorist, Middle, Participle in the imperative sense, which continues the command to put on the armor of God. We noted ENDUO in vs. 11, for “putting on the whole armor of God.” Here it relates to just the breastplate of righteousness.

The Culminative Aorist tense contemplates the entirety of the action with a view to the past completed action of “having put on” this portion of the armor.

The Middle Voice is reflexive. We benefit from the action of “having put on,” yet it is not the active voice, because as we will see, God is the One who gives us righteousness. We do not achieve our own righteousness. But in faith, we appropriate the righteousness of God, which is a grace blessing to us. So, the reflexive Middle correlates with the non-meritorious act(s) of faith we apply and, as a result we benefit.

“The breastplate,” is the Nominative singular of HO THORAX. Generally, this word denotes a “breastplate” as a piece of protective armor worn in battle or which covers the chest.

In English, “thorax” is used in anatomy where it is the part of the body of a mammal between the neck and the abdomen, including the cavity enclosed by the ribs, breastbone, and dorsal vertebrae, and containing the chief organs of circulation and respiration; the chest. In Greek, the THORAX is the armor that protects that vital area of the human anatomy. “The breastplate,” was usually composed of metallic plates, chains, or scales, but sometimes made of leather or bronze, covered the torso, (neck to waist), both front and back, and protected the vital organs of the body; the heart, the lungs, etc. The breastplate often saved the Roman soldier from being mortally wounded.

Similarly, the person who is “righteous” will not be mortally wounded in the spiritual warfare in which he is engaged. The breastplate is held in place by the belt of truth, and it becomes obvious that this righteousness is totally dependent upon truth, Bible doctrine in the soul.

THORAX is used here and in 1 Thes 5:8; Rev 9:9, 17.

The NT primarily uses it figuratively, describing the protective power of “righteousness,” during the Angelic Conflict, similar to Isa 59:17, which describes the Lord Jesus coming with salvation, cf. Wisdom 5:18.

Isa 59:17, “And He (the Lord) put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”

In 1 Thes 5:8, we see portions of the armor of God noted. There, the “breastplate” represents “faith and love,” as opposed to “righteousness,” as in our verse. Therefore, we see that “faith and love” go hand in hand with righteousness. As faith appropriates righteousness and love expresses it.

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

This word is used in Rev 9:9, to describing the appearance of the torturing locust set loose during the Fifth Trumpet judgment of the Tribulation. The locus will torment only unbelievers during that time.

Rev 9:9, “They had breastplates like breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle.” This may be how John was explaining his vision of a helicopter? Or better, it is a literal tormenting creature of the Tribulation.

Finally, THORAX is used in Rev 9:17, during the Sixth Trumpet judgment, to describe the angelic horsemen who will kill one third of mankind on earth at that time. The color of the breast plate is fiery red/orange and dark blue/purple.

For the believer of the Church Age, our breastplate is described as being, “of righteousness,” which is the Genitive of Material of HO DIKAIOSUNE, δικαιοσύνη that means, “righteousness, uprightness, equity, or justice.” In other words, the breastplate is made out of “righteousness.”

Righteous is defined as, “meeting the standards of what is right and just; morally right; guiltless.” Synonyms of righteousness include, “virtue, morality, justice, decency, uprightness, honesty, blameless, etc.”

Like “truth,” we see that God is absolutely righteous in all that He is and does, and man can have and experience that righteousness in his life. When He does, it is armor for his soul.

Divine Righteousness:

1. God possesses eternal, unchangeable, and perfect righteousness.

2. All justice is administered from the perfect righteousness of God, cf. Lev 19:2; 1 Sam 2:2; Psa 22:3; 47:8; 119:9; John 17:11; Rev 3:7; 4:8; 6:10. Many passages tell us that behind God’s justice and judgments is the other half of Divine holiness, which is God’s perfect and absolute righteousness.

3. God is absolute Good. Absolute good is perfect righteousness, Psa 25:8; 34:8; 86:5; 119:68; Luke 18:19.

4. God is perfect, both in His person and in His character, Deut 32:4; Psa 7:9; 11:7; 97:6; 113:3; 119:137; Jer 23:6; John 17:25; Rom 1:17; 10:3; 1 John 2:29.

5. God is totally free from sin. God has never sinned. God cannot tempt or solicit to sin. God cannot in any way be involved in sin except to judge it, James 1:13.

6. The righteousness of God is the principle of Divine integrity. The justice of God is the function of Divine integrity. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God fulfills.

7. God’s righteousness is seen in two ways:

  • He is a righteous Person, James 1:17.

James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

  • He is righteous in all His ways, Rom 3:25-26.

Rom 3:25-26, “Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Righteousness in God means that all that He does is perfect and absolutely right/correct. God never makes a wrong or unrighteous decision. All of God’s judgments are righteous, as well as being holy in nature, (i.e., they are without sin and evil), Rev 16:5-7.

When His righteousness combines with His love, it results in grace. The grace pipeline….

Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 

1 Cor 1:30, “But by His (God the Father’s) doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom (truth) from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

As perfect and absolute righteousness, God rejects all relative standards of righteousness, and therefore, all human standards of righteousness, with the one exception of human compliance with the laws of Divine Establishment. Isa 64:6, tells us exactly where human righteousness will get us with God.

Isa 64:6, “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteousness is as filthy [menstrual] rags, and all of us wither like a leaf, and all of our sins like the wind take us away.”

God cannot accept anything less than perfect righteousness, and God cannot bless anything less than perfect righteousness. We possess that perfect righteousness as a double portion (the imputation of God the Father’s righteousness and sharing the righteousness of our Lord who is the head of our body) at the very moment we believe in Jesus Christ. This perfect Divine righteousness resides in every believer from the moment of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Mat 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Rom 3:22, “Even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, (between Jew and Gentile).”

Phil 3:9, “And may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”

Jesus Christ was made to be our substitute at the Cross in order that we might receive the forgiveness of all our sins with the result of the imputation of God’s righteousness, so that we could walk/live in righteousness.

The noun “righteousness,” DIKAIOSUNE, its related adjective “righteous,” DIKAIOS, and the verb “to justify, to pronounce/treat as righteous or put right,” DIKAIOO are found in Paul’s writings over 100 times. The sheer volume of occurrences in their various usages and meanings indicates the central place they had in the theology of the apostle.

For the believer, there are three aspects of righteousness that we see within the Bible.

  • The righteousness of God that is imputed to the believer at the point of salvation; Positional Righteousness.
  • The walk in righteousness post salvation; Experiential Righteousness.
  • The ability to be blessed in time and eternity because of righteousness in us; Ultimate Righteousness.

1. The Righteousness of God Imputed to the Believer at the Point of Salvation; Positional Righteousness.

The imputation of God’s righteousness to the believer at salvation is one of two judicial imputations of God. They are judicial because there is no affinity between the thing imputed and the one receiving the imputation. It is judicial because in God’s perfect righteousness and justice He is able to impute something to someone that does not have a natural coalescence for or identification with the thing being imputed.

There are two judicial imputation of God:

  • The personal sins of every member of the human race to Jesus Christ on the Cross.
  • The perfect righteousness of God to the believer at the point of salvation.

God’s perfect justice allowed for both as part of His plan of redemption. Because of the first, the second was made possible.

2 Cor 5:21, “He (God the Father) made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, (as a substitute for us), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Christ accomplished what the Law could not do: through His spiritual death upon the cross, believers are made righteous, Rom 8:3-4; 10:4; 2 Cor 5:21; Gal 2:21; cf. Gen 15:6.

Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” 

Gen 15:6, “Then he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”

There is also another category of Divine Imputations called “Real Imputations” that includes 5 imputations:  1) Human life to the soul, 2) Adam’s original sin to the Old Sin Nature, 3) Eternal life to the human spirit, 4) Blessings in time to perfect righteousness, and 5) Blessings in eternity to the resurrection body.

Because of the judicial imputation of righteousness to the believer at the moment of salvation, God is also able to provide the real imputation of blessings in time to the believer because he possesses perfect righteousness in his soul, and He is able to provide blessings in eternity to the resurrected believer. Some of those blessing are based on the imputation of God’s righteousness giving us Positional Sanctification, and others based the application of righteousness in our lives, our Experiential Sanctification. We will discuss this further below.

Paul states that righteousness in believers is the result of a word, or declaration, of God. In Rom 4, where Paul interprets Abraham’s relationship with God as a scriptural foundation for his understanding of the believer’s “justification by faith,” explained in Rom 1-3, righteousness is said to be “reckoned to or credited to” Abraham by God on the basis of Abraham’s faith, (i.e., believing / trusting in God), Rom 4:3, 5-6, 9, 11, 22, rather than on the basis of his works. In Gal 3:6, Abraham’s faith in God is “reckoned to him as righteousness.” Here, Abraham’s trusting submission to God is evaluated as “righteousness.”

Closely related to the above are those passages where righteousness is stated to be a gift of God reigning in the believer, Rom 5:17, 21. Here it is seen as a reality which dominates or directs the life in Christ, cf. Rom 8:10.

Rom 8:10, “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.”

This righteousness results from God’s grace, for if it were possible to achieve it via obedience to the Law, Christ’s death would have been in vain, Gal 2:21.

Gal 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”

In addition, in Gal 3:21-22, righteousness is equated with life, which the Law is powerless to produce.

Gal 3:21-22, “Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”

Therefore, righteousness is first a grace gift of God, given to the believer at the moment of faith in Christ as your Savior.

Knowing that we have the grace gift of the perfect righteousness of God is a part of “putting on” the breastplate of righteousness. Having the perfect righteousness of God means you have the perfection of God in you and you are eternally saved. Both factors should give you tremendous confidence going forward in life. Knowing that regardless of how you sin or fail, you have perfection inside of you, and God will never abandon you, regardless of how badly you may mess up, Rom 5:1, 9, 18-19.

Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Rom 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” 

Rom 5:18, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.”

Rom 5:19, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” 

Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” 

This also tells us of the importance of justification. Justification, “the establishment of a right relationship with God,” is based upon God’s gift, Rom 3:21-24, to be received by faith, not by man’s actions, Rom 3:25; 4:3-22; 9:30; 10:3, 6ff; cf. Gal 3:6; Phil 3:9; Titus 3:5.

You see, justification is the result of the imputation of perfect righteousness at salvation. God sees His own perfect righteousness in us and justifies us by virtue of possessing that perfect righteousness. Justification is God recognizing perfect righteousness wherever it resides. It is God recognizing His own perfect righteousness imputed to you at the moment of faith in Christ, Rom 3:24; 8:30; 9:30; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:7. 

Rom 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” 

1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 

Rom 8:30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” 

Rom 9:30, “That the Gentiles who did not strive for divine righteousness have attained divine righteousness, that is the righteousness from the source of faith in Jesus Christ.”

When we truly realize that God has given us His perfect righteousness from the moment of our salvation, and that He will never take that Divine righteousness away, we realize we are also justified in God’s eyes to be members of His eternal family. Therefore, when Satan accuses us, it is the righteousness of Christ in us that assures us of our salvation. With the knowledge of the position we stand in, and the Divine blessings of righteousness and justification, we stand confidently before God, angels, and man. We stand confident in the position and relationship we have with the Lord. Standing confident in the knowledge of our positional righteousness is part of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness.”

2. The Walk in Righteousness Post Salvation; Experiential Righteousness

The second part of “putting on the breastplate of righteousness,” is our daily walk in righteousness, also called our experiential sanctification. This is our faithful walk in righteousness.

Prov 2:20, “So you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.”

Prov 8:20, “I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice.”

Hosea 14:9, “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the righteous will walk in them, but transgressors will stumble in them.”

Rom 8:4, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

1 John 2:29, “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

In 2 Cor 6, when Paul is discussing his servanthood to God, one of the things he mentions is having “righteousness” as a weapon for fighting the spiritual warfare in vs. 7.

2 Cor 6:7, “In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left.” 

Therefore, we see that righteousness is the mark of the Christian way of life; acting rightly, justly, morally, in contrast with evil, falsehood, inequality, etc. It is a weapon for both hands, because it can be used in all aspects of our life. As a warrior, Paul wore the whole armor of God with weapons of defense in his left hand and offense in his right, just as we can too. Righteousness is both a defensive and offensive weapon in the spiritual warfare.

With this we also note that, “the word of truth in the power of God” creates this armament as experiential righteousness is based on having the belt of truth, (God’s Word), resident within your soul. It is the Word of God that gives us the understanding and means of walking in righteousness; defensively and offensively, just as the gospel gave us the understanding and means of receiving positional righteousness at salvation.

The use of righteousness is then in an ethical sense. It characterizes the life of obedience to God and His Word of those who have been justified. That is why Rom 6:13, 18-20, contrast lives/bodies as instruments or slaves of wickedness with lives yielded to God as instruments of righteousness. In these and other passages, is the expected result of life lived in relationship with Christ, right-living that is in keeping with God’s purposes. Righteousness, together with peace and joy, is that which marks the believer’s relationship with God and others, (rather than judging or offending others), and is the result of God’s reign in your life.

Rom 6:13, “And do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”

Rom 6:18, “And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

Rom 6:19, “… For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

Just as righteousness began in us by faith, it should continue to operate only by faith after our salvation, Gal 3:1-14.

Gal 3:11, “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH’.” Cf. Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Heb 10:38.

Positional and Experiential Righteousness are gifts of God’s grace that come to believers in the context and through the instrumentality of faith. When Paul speaks about righteousness and faith, it is almost always contrasted with a legalistic, or Law-oriented, righteousness. Thus, in Rom 4:11, 13-14, the “righteousness of faith” is said to be based neither on circumcision nor on the deeds of the Law. In Rom 9:30-32; 10:4-6, 10, the righteousness that comes by faith is contrasted with that which is based on the Law and the doing of the works of the Law. Only the former leads to life, to salvation.

Phil 3:9, speaks of the righteousness that results from faith in Jesus, rather than “my own righteousness” based on Law. This righteousness by faith is of course the righteousness from God, “which depends on faith.” This conviction is affirmed by Paul in contrast to his own former experience where, on the basis of Law-based righteousness, he judged himself as “blameless,” yet that was not good enough to save him, Phil 3:6. Such moral perfectionism as that which Paul had by pedigree and personal endeavor does not, however, bring one into right relationship with God. According to Titus 3:5, believers are saved, not because of deeds done in righteousness, (here righteousness means “legal obedience”), but by God’s merciful, atoning work in Christ.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Therefore, that brings us back to Gal 3, were Paul is making the argument, “if we began in righteousness by faith, let us continue to walk in righteousness by faith.” That is why in 1 Thes 5:8, the breastplate is made up of “faith and love.” When we walk by faith, we produce AGAPE love which is the righteousness of God in us.

That is why righteousness is that quality of life which bears fruit, i.e., Divine Good Production, 2 Cor 9:10, Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11.

2 Cor 9:10, “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” 

Phil 1:11, “Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Walking in God’s righteousness is one of the marks of those who are “children of light” in distinction from those who perform “unfruitful works of darkness,” Eph 5:9.

Eph 5:9, “For the fruit of the Light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.”

Likewise, in Eph 4:24, righteousness is paired with “holiness of the truth” as resembling God, in contrast to corrupt, deceitful living.

Eph 4:24, “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

As such, Experiential Righteousness is not passive; it is to be pursued. It is the mark of the believer, and without active “doing” there is no real relationship (i.e., righteousness) with God. Therefore, we are exhorted to “pursue righteousness,” 1 Tim 6:11; 2 Tim 2:22, and receive “training in righteousness,” 2 Tim 3:16; the context is clearly that of moral, ethical living based on faithful application of Bible Doctrine resident within your soul, cf. 1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; James 2:17.

1 Tim 6:11, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.”

2 Tim 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 

1 John 3:7, “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous (experientially), just as He is righteous, (positionally).” 

“Practices righteousness” in 1 John 3:7, refers to spending time living in, celebrating, or experiencing the imputed righteousness of God by applying truth, (His Word), in love to both God and man. This is also called Experiential Sanctification. In contrast, 1 John 3:8, tells us that the one who “practices sin” does not practice the righteousness of Christ and is a child of the devil, i.e., fully engrossed in Satan’s Cosmic System.

When it says, “the devil has sinned from the beginning,” it is first a reference to Satan’s rebellion in eternity past and second to his work in the Garden of Eden where he tempted the perfect man to sin, thereby destroying the perfect righteousness in man created in the image of God, as he did with the fallen angels in eternity past. To remedy the loss of perfect righteousness in man, God sent His Son, as we have seen and again see in this verse.

Now, 1 John 3:9 says, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

This verse tells us that the one “born of God” has a new regenerated nature and spiritual life found in their Human Spirit. The Human Spirit is a place of perfect Divine righteousness and is without sin. Sin is in our bodies and can penetrate our souls, if we let it, but sin never penetrates our Human Spirit. Our new Divine nature can “never” sin and is the very righteousness of God, cf. Eph 4:24.

Eph 4:24, “And put on the new man, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holy observance of the truth.”

Notice how “holy observance of truth” is linked with righteousness. This is our walk in righteousness.

The regenerate Human Spirit provides the believer the means by which the Holy Spirit can reproduce the righteousness of God experientially in the soul and body of the believer who is obedient to the Word of righteousness, 1 Cor 2:12-14.

Our new Christ-like nature provides us with the capacity to “practice the righteousness” of God, which is manifested by obeying the Lord Jesus Christ’s command to love one another as He has loved the believer, 1 John 3:11, 16, 18.

If we are living the life that God has given to us, we will avoid sin(s) within our lives. We have the perfect righteousness of God inside of our new perfect nature. With that, plus the righteousness from the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit and the righteousness of the Mind of Christ (Bible Doctrine) in our souls, we should be living unto God, abiding in Christ. Yet, many believers do not utilize the righteousness of God in their lives and do not take in the Word of God on a consistent basis. For them it is inevitable that they will be living just as an unbeliever lives, in sin, as a child of the father of sin, the devil himself.

The imputation of perfect righteousness at salvation becomes both motivation and momentum in the Christian way of life: motivation to persist in the perception of Bible doctrine, and momentum for continuing the metabolization of Bible doctrine. The result is maximum doctrine resident in the soul producing spiritual maturity adjustment to the justice of God, and the practical righteousness of everyday living and conduct. The Truth (Word) of God trains the believer to live in the righteousness of God since it is the mind and thinking of Jesus Christ Himself, 2 Cor 6:7; Gal 3:11; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Cf. John 1:1.

2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Gal 3:11, “Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH’.”

2 Cor 6:7, “In the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left.”

And, remember that this is not a righteousness of our own morality or human good works, it is a righteousness appropriated by faith in the Word of God and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself warned us that except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees; we shall in no way enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The only righteousness that exceeds theirs is a faith based one; a righteous living in faithful obedience to God and His Word seeking His grace. We noted this word in Eph 4:24; 5:9.

Eph 4:24, “And put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 

Eph 5:9, “(For the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth).”

Conclusion

Therefore, put on those righteous qualities associated with your new life in Christ, the same righteous qualities reflected in the life of Jesus. Put on the breastplate of righteousness, so you do not give an inch to Satan in the areas of impurity, lust, greed, or injustice. Realize who you are in Christ, and live out that new identity in righteous living.

The imputation of God’s righteousness at salvation results in our Positional Sanctification, while living in the righteousness of God after our salvation results in our Experiential Sanctification.

Rom 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith (for positional righteousness) to faith (for experiential righteousness); as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’.”

Rom 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.”

Satan is the accuser, but he cannot accuse the believer who is living a godly life in the power of the Spirit. The life we live either fortifies us against Satan’s attacks or makes it easier for him to defeat us, 2 Cor 6:1-10. By appropriating God’s righteousness, believers are to act righteously in their dealings with God and people. As a soldier’s breastplate protected his chest from enemy attacks, so sanctifying, righteous living, Rom 6:13; 14:17, guards believers’ hearts against the assaults of the devil, cf. Isa 59:17; James 4:7.

Righteousness is expressed by our actions; Christians thus confirm their relationship to God by living in it, Rom 6:13, 16ff.; 2 Cor 6:7; 9:10; Phil 1:11; 2 Tim 3:16. Indeed, our very lives testify to that relationship, Rom 1:17; 2:13. Having been freed from sin is to become “servants to God,” Rom 6:22, and “servants of righteousness,” Rom 6:18. God’s righteousness is revealed in the present, Rom 1:17; 3:26, and has provided true righteousness for the believer. Since righteousness is by faith alone, any supposed “righteousness by works,” i.e., obedience to the Law, has been abolished. The righteousness of God comes only through faith, Rom 1:17; 3:22,26; 4:3f.; 9:30; 10:4,6,10.

1 John 3:7, “Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.”

Our most significant defense is the evidence that we have been made right with God, and that this righteousness has been created in us by the Spirit. This righteousness is manifested in character and in conduct, and as the breastplate guards the vital organs from assault, it will keep the heart unwounded. Only the righteousness of Christ can enable the believer to stand before men, angels, and before God, but the heart that is to be protected should be a heart that is not condemning you. It is an awful condition to have sin in the life while we are trying to carry on the battle. We can never win it that way. Therefore, righteousness is to be put on. It is to be put on primarily by faith in the Word of God. It is given in Christ to simple belief. He that has faith thereby has the righteousness which is through faith in Christ, for in his faith, he has the one formative principle of reliance on God, which will gradually refine character and mold conduct into whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, however slowly it may transform his conduct. The faith which is a departure from all reliance on works of righteousness, which we have done, and is a singularly focused reliance on the work of Jesus Christ, opens the heart in which it is planted to all the influences of that life which was in Jesus, that from Him it may be in us. 

Therefore, the putting on of the breastplate requires effort (pursuit), as well as faith, and effort will be vigorous in the measure in which faith is vivid, but it should follow, not precede or supplant faith. Moral teaching without Gospel preaching is little better than a waste of breath.

3. The Ability to be Blessed in Time and Eternity Because of Righteousness in Us; Ultimate Righteousness.

Because of the judicial imputation of Divine perfect righteousness to the believer at salvation, it allows God the Father the opportunity to provide the real imputation of blessings to the believer post-salvation. The real imputation of blessings includes both logistical grace blessings in time and the potential for greater grace blessings in both time and eternity. The potential for greater grace blessings is dependent on the believer walking in righteousness, Mat 6:33; Rom 8:17; 2 Cor 5:10; Gal 3:29; Eph 3:6; Titus 3:7; Heb 9:15; James 4:5-7; Rev 19:8.

To put it in a formulaic equation, we could say:

R1 (imputed righteousness at salvation) = B1 (logistical grace blessings in time and inherited blessings in eternity).

R1 + R2 (Experiential Righteousness post-salvation) = B2 (escrow blessing in time and eternity).

Mat 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

James 4:5-7, “Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us?’ 6But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’ 7Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Heb 9:15, “For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” 

2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 

Rev 19:8, “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” 

All blessings come from what we call God’s “Grace Pipeline.” The judicial imputation of perfect righteousness establishes a “grace pipeline” by which God is able to bless the believer. This pipeline is encapsulated by the integrity of God, (His perfect righteousness and justice), and is motivated by His love.

On the giving end of the pipeline is the justice of God, the function of Divine integrity. On the receiving end is the perfect righteousness of God in you, the principle of Divine integrity. Grace is the policy of the justice of God in imputing blessings to the resident perfect righteousness of God in the believer.

Perfect righteousness demands perfect righteousness; perfect justice demands justice. Perfect God can only demand in man absolute perfection, which God provides. Therefore, the believer has perfect righteousness in his soul from the moment he is saved, and is capable of being blessed by God in both time and especially in eternity, because of the perfect righteousness in the believer.

God’s grace pipeline is always based on Divine perfection and righteousness. It is never based on human works, talent, or ability; it is never based on anything that emanates from the flesh, Rom 3:20‑26; 4:3‑12, 22-25; 9:30. Therefore, all blessings God provides are fair, just, equitable, and right

As such, the imputation of perfect righteousness establishes the potential for great blessing in time, both logistical and escrow, as well as surpassing grace blessings in eternity, Eph 2:7.

Eph 2:7, “So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

“Logistical” means God’s provisions for your every need, both spiritual and physical, while here on earth. These blessings are given by God to the believer regardless of his faithfulness because of God’s righteousness in you.

2 Tim 2:13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” That is, He cannot deny His righteousness that is imputed to you, the believer.

The first blessings we receive are the 40 things God provides at the moment of salvation to execute the spiritual life. We are qualified to receive these because of the judicial imputation of God’s righteousness given to us at salvation, of which even that imputation is from His grace pipeline of God. They include:

The first blessings we receive are the 40 things God provides at the moment of salvation to execute the spiritual life. We are qualified to receive these because of the judicial imputation of God’s righteousness given to us at salvation, of which even that imputation is from His grace pipeline of God. They include:

1. Efficacious grace, (GtHS makes our faith effective for salvation), Eph 1:13.
2. The sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit, Eph 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22.
3. An eternal inheritance, Rom 8:17; Gal 3:29; 4:6-7; Eph 1:14, 18; 3:6; Heb 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4; 3:7.
4. Regeneration, 2 Cor 1:22.
5. Eternal life, John 3:15-16; 10:28; 6:47; 1 John 5:11-13.
6. The imputed righteousness of God, Rom 3:22.
7. Resultant justification, Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16; Titus 3:7.
8. Reconciliation, Rom 5:10; 2 Cor 5:19; Col 1:20, 22.
9. Beneficiaries of propitiation, Rom 3:24-25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.
10. Beneficiaries of unlimited atonement, 2 Cor 5:14-15, 19; 1 Tim 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Heb 2:9; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 2:2.
11. Beneficiaries of redemption, Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Gal 3:13; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Titus 2:14; Heb 9:12-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
12. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 12:13; Gal 3:26-28.
13. Created a new spiritual species, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.
14. Entered into the Royal Family of God via adoption forever, Eph 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9.
15. Equal privilege and equal opportunity of our election and predestination. (Equal privilege is provided in the royal priesthood; equal opportunity is provided in logistical grace), Gal 3:26-28; 6:15; Col. 3:9-11.
16. Positional Sanctification, being “in Christ,” Rom 6:2; 1 Cor 1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thes 2:13; Heb 2:11; 10:10, 14.
17. The asset of Election, Rom 8:33; Eph 1: 4; Col 3:12; 1 Thes 1:4; 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim 2: 10; 1 Peter 2:9; 5:13.
18. The asset of Predestination, Rom 8:29; Eph 1:5; 1 Peter 1:2.
19. The universal priesthood of the believer, 1 Peter 1:5,9; Rev 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.
20. The Royal Ambassadorship of the believer, 2 Cor 5:20.
21. The indwelling of God the Father, John 14:23; Eph 4:6; 2 John 9.
22. The indwelling of God the Son, John 14:20; 17:22-23; Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24.
23. The indwelling of God the Holy Spirit, Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor 6:16.
24. The unique availability of Divine power due to Their indwelling, Rom 1:16; 9:22-24; 15:13; 1 Cor 4:20; 2 Cor 4:7; 2 Tim 1:7.
25. The unique Pre-designed Plan of God, Eph 1:3-4.
26. The filling of the Holy Spirit, Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16; John 4:24; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9; 11:24; 13:52; Luke 1:15, 41, 67; 4:1; 1 John 1:7; Eph 5:1; 2 Cor 3:3; 2 Peter 1:4.
27. The distribution of spiritual gifts, 1 Cor 12:11.
28. All judgment removed, John 3:18; Rom 8:1; Heb 9:27-28.
29. Deliverance from the kingdom of Satan, Col 1:13a.
30. Transferred into the kingdom of God, Col 1:13b.
31. We are a gift from God the father to God the Son. We are a gift in that we are formed as the royal family of God, John 10:29; 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 24.
32. We are delivered from the power of the old sin nature, Rom 7-8; 2:29; Phil 3:3; Col 2:11.
33. We are given access to God in prayer, Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 4:14, 16; 10:19-20.
34. All scar tissue is removed from the soul, Isa 43:25; 44:22.
35. Recipients of escrow blessings, Eph 1:3.
36. We are on a secure foundation, 1 Cor 3:11; 10:4; Eph 2:20.
37. We are related to God the Son by eight Biblical analogies:

  • The last Adam and the New Creation, 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 5:17a.
  • The Head and the Body, Col 1:18a.
  • The Great Shepherd and the Sheep, Heb 13:20.
  • The True Vine and the Branches, John 15:5a.
  • The Chief Cornerstone and the Stones in the building, Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:5-6.
  • The Great High Priest and members of the Royal Priesthood, Heb 4:14a; 1 Peter 2:9a.
  • The Groom and the Bride, our wedding occurs at the Second Advent, Rev 19:7.
  • The King of Kings and the Royal Family of God, Rev 19:14-16.

38. Recipients of eternal security, John 10:28; Rom 8:32; 2 Tim 2:13; Gal 3:25; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 Cor 12:27.
39. Guaranteed a resurrection body forever, John 11:25; 1 John 3:2.
40. We have been glorified in Christ, John 17:22; Rom 8:17, 30.
41. Beneficiaries of the 11 Problem Solving Devices.

“Escrow” means, “an amount granted to somebody but held by a third party and only released after a specific condition has been met.” In regard to God the Father’s blessings it means, set aside in an account to be distributed later by Jesus Christ, the third party, when earned in time. That “later” includes both in time and in eternity at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ after we receive our resurrection bodies, 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 2-3.

As such, God’s escrow blessings, (B2), are only potential until they are linked with (R2); walking in righteousness by the application of Bible doctrine in your soul by means of faith through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit mixed with your non-meritorious faith produces your walk in righteousness, (R2), which results in (B2), blessings in time and eternity. And remember, we are qualified to receive B2 because of R1, the imputation of Divine Righteousness at the moment of salvation. We will see more of this below.

If God can impute His perfect righteousness to us at salvation (R1), which takes greater effort than blessing us (B1 and B2), then He can certainly bless us at the point when we produce Divine Good, John 15:2-16; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; Phil 1:11; Col 1:6-10, and reach spiritual maturity, which takes far less effort on God’s part. When God is able to bless us in any fashion, it becomes part of the glorification of God through our lives.

Phil 1:11, “Having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

Heb 12:11, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (The blessing of Divine discipline in our lives can produce R2 in our lives that results in B2).

James 3:18, “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Eph 1:3, “Worthy of praise and glorification is God even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”

The blessings we can receive from God in time are part of the “all things” of Rom 8:28, 32.

Rom 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”

These blessings include:

1. Spiritual blessings:

  • Maximum capacity for love; occupation with Christ; capacity for life, love, happiness and blessing; sharing the +H of God.
  • The ability to cope with any disaster in life; freedom from slavery to circumstances of life.
  • Ability to correctly interpret contemporary history and correctly evaluate current events in terms of the Word of God.
  • Grace orientation, which is understanding and functioning under the grace principles in life.
  • Flexibility to adapt to the changing circumstances of life.
  • Maximum function of the Royal Family Honor Code.
  • A total sense of security in relationship to the Plan of God.
  • Dying grace and a total preparation for death, having confidence in God’s place, manner, and time for your death.

2. Temporal blessing:

  • Wealth, received or acquired.
  • Success, prominence in one’s sphere of life, promotion.
  • Prosperity socially, sexually, technically, culturally, professionally, mentally, and in the area of establishment.
  • Leadership dynamics, the ability to assume authority apart from pseudo‑motivation and apart from emotional inspiration, plus stability of character.
  • Good health is not in our genes, but a blessing from God.

The mature believer can expect some of these, though not necessarily all of them. Some people are not suited to certain kinds of special blessing.

3. Blessing by association:

The mature believer is a blessing to those in his generation, both during his life and after his death, to those who were associated with him until their death. This is often why the wicked prosper. This can be illustrated by the pastor of a local church. No one exceeds their right pastor’s spiritual growth. Those in a congregation are blessed throughout their life by association with a mature pastor.

There are two categories of blessing by association:

Direct blessing from God and indirect blessing from God, in which the believer shares his blessing whether it is spiritual or material.

There are six areas of blessing by association.

  1. Spiritual periphery from association with mature believers in the local church.
  2. Personal periphery includes loved ones. When someone in the family reaches maturity, the rest of the family is blessed.
  3. Professional periphery can include schools, military organizations, teams, etc.
  4. Business periphery.
  5. Social periphery includes friends, clubs.
  6. Geographical periphery can include the city, state, or nation.

There is also a “heritage factor” of blessing by association. Blessing by association is perpetuated to those with whom the mature believer had association after his death until they die. This is why the wicked prosper, Jer 12:1. Even reversionists prosper, because they were associated with the mature believer. Prov 24:19, “Do not be jealous of the wicked.”

4. Historical blessing is the salt or pivot principle:

If the pivot of mature believers is large enough, then the nation is preserved, blessing all who dwell in it.

5. Undeserved suffering: This suffering is designed to demonstrate the power and provision of God’s grace, 2 Cor 12:1‑10.

2 Cor 12:9, “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

2 Cor 12:10, “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Undeserved suffering teaches the value of Bible doctrine in the soul, Psa 119:67‑68, 71. It is designed to manifest the ministry of God the Holy Spirit, 2 Cor 4:8‑11, and put muscle on faith through the operation of the faith‑rest drill, to accelerate spiritual growth, and to keep the believer occupied with his eternal future, Rom 8:36; 5:3‑5.

6. Dying blessing:

Dying grace terminates the life of the mature believer. The curse of death with its fear and pain is removed, causing it to become the greatest experience in life. Dying grace is the transition between the real imputation of blessing in time and the real imputation of blessing and reward in eternity. The mature believer has the best in life, something better in dying, and better than the best in eternity, Psa 116:15; Phil 1:21.

Psa 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly (mature) ones.”

Phil 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

As far as the mature believer is concerned, God delivers him from death until it is time for him to die. Then He delivers him from the usual horrors of dying, Job 5:20; Psa 23:4; 33:19; 56:13; 116:8.

Psa 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

God’s decision is based on prior knowledge of all the facts. The general characteristics of Christian death include:

  • No appointment with judgment, Rom 8:1.
  • Being face to face with God, 2 Cor 5:8.
  • No more pain, sorrow, death, or tears, Rev 21:4.
  • The anticipation of an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and cannot be lost, 1 Pet 1:4‑5.
  • A new home in heaven, John 14:1‑6.
  • The reality of eternal life, 1 John 5:11‑12. We do not have the reality of eternal life until our soul is outside the body and in the presence of the Lord.
  • Death is a promotion and gain, Phil 1:21.
  • Death is a victory, 1 Cor 15:55‑58.

7. Next, we see in Scripture that there are Escrow blessings from God in eternity:
This is the imputation of Divine blessing in the eternal state that provides motivation to the believer in time. This is what we call “Hope Three,” confident anticipation of blessing at the BEMA or Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:10; 1 Cor 3:10-15.

The mature believer has a special confidence, knowing that he will receive the seventh imputation of blessings from the justice of God to the resurrection body. This is the confidence throughout the rest of the mature believer’s lifetime. It is a fantastic confidence. Heb 11:13, describes it as saluting eternity as you cross the high golden bridge. It is a reality of eternity while still alive.

Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”

Rom 12:12a, “Rejoicing in hope (3).”

Col 1:5, “Because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel.”

Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope, (this is not the Rapture but the imputation of eternal blessing which glorifies God forever), and appearing of the glory of the great God, even our Savior Christ Jesus.”

1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope (3) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Cf. Heb 6:19‑20; 1 John 3:2‑3.

This is the imputation from the justice of God of our eternal escrow blessings and rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ occurs right after the Rapture while the seven years of the great Tribulation are occurring on the earth. Jesus Christ will be the judge of all Church Age believers at His judgment seat.

John 5:22, “But not even the Father judges anyone, but He has delegated all judgment to the Son.”

This explains 2 Cor 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Cf. Rom 14:10.

There are four categories of rewards mentioned in scripture, in addition to those mentioned in Rev 2-3:

1. Cities, Luke 19:13‑26. Some believers will rule cities during the Millennium.

2. A special city, Heb 11:10, 13, 16; Rev 21:2, 10‑11.

3. Analogy to the harvest, Mat 13:3‑9, 18‑23.

4. Crowns:

  • The Crown of Righteousness, 2 Tim 4:7-8, which is given for the fulfillment of perfect righteousness in time, i.e., receiving the imputation of special blessings to the mature believer. On the basis of “faithful service,” the crown of righteousness is granted, “to all who have loved His appearing.”

2 Tim 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

  • The Crown of Life, James 1:12; Rev 2:10, is given to those who advance in the spiritual life. The Crown of Life is given for living the spiritual life inside GPS bringing maximum glorification to God. It is awarded to invisible heroes for maximum production of divine good through the execution of the Plan of God with emphasis on invisible impact while persevering under trial.

James 1:12, “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

  • The Crown of Rejoicing, Phil 4:1; 1 Thes 2:19, is for the believer who wins souls for the Lord.
  • The Crown of Glory, 1 Peter 5:1-4, is the crown for the believer who is willing to feed the flock of God.
  • The Order of The Morning Star, 1 Cor 4:8; 2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26-28; 5:10. This is a reward of rulership with the Lord in eternity.

Conclusion

Therefore, just as there are two components to “Truth” that we are to gird our loins with: 1) Truth that is God, His attribute, and 2) Truth that is His Word resident within your soul, there are two aspects of righteousness that protect us, 1) The imputation of God’s righteousness at the moment of salvation that gives us a right standing with God, and 2) The experiential righteousness of the moral high ground we take by means of the intake and application of God’s Word that results in in the deeds we perform in faith; Experiential Sanctification resulting in Divine good production. In addition, we also have the blessed hope of blessings and rewards in time and eternity because of the imputed righteousness of God that is able to be blessed, especially when we walk in God’s righteousness, R1 = B1, and R1 + R2 = B2. Each component of “R” is part of the breastplate we are to put on, as well as the confident expectation of being blessed because of the righteousness in us and performed by us.

“The breastplate of righteousness is our defense against evil. The opposition to temptation is best carried on by the positive cultivation of good. A habit of righteous conduct is itself a defense against temptation. Untilled fields bear abundant weeds. The used tool does not rust, nor the running water gathers scum. The robe of righteousness will guard the heart as effectually as a coat of mail. The positive employment with good weakens temptation, and arms us against evil. But so long as we are here our righteousness must be militant, and we must be content to live ever armed to meet the enemy which is always hanging round us, and watching for an opportunity to strike. The time will come when we shall put off the breastplate and put on the fine linen ‘clean and white,’ which is the heavenly and final form of the righteousness of Saints.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture)

Vs. 15

Eph 6:15, “And having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.”

So far, we have noted two pieces of armor, the belt of truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness. Now, we note the third, the Feet shod with the preparedness of the gospel of peace.

In vs. 15, we have the military shoes, sandals, or combat boots we are to put on to fight the spiritual warfare we are engaged in.

The Greek begins with the Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and,” that links this verse and armament with the overall armor of God.

Having shod,” is the verb hupodeomai ὑποδέομαι that means, “shod, bind on, bind under, or put on.” It is also used in Mark 6:9 and Acts 12:8, and the verb appears twice in the Septuagint, 2 Chron 28:15; Ezek 16:10.

Here, it is in the Aorist, Middle, Participle in the Nominative Plural of HUPODEO.

The Culminative Aorist tense stresses the cessation of the action of putting on your combat boots, with the idea of continuing to wear them during your spiritual warfare.

In the Middle voice it means, “to put on your own combat sandals.”

As a Participle it continues the command to put on and continue to wear the armor of God, and specifically this piece of equipment.

It comes from the Preposition HUPO, “under,” and DEO, “to bind.” Therefore, it means, “to bind under,” as sandals under the feet, to put on sandals, slippers, or shoes. Interestingly, the word DEO in Latin means, “God.” So, we see the authority we are to be under in our spiritual warfare.

In classical Greek, this verb meant to under bind, e.g., to fasten a binding on one’s sandals or put on one’s shoes. The sandal was bound on the foot with leather thongs. The cognates HUPODEMA and HUPODEMATOS mean, “a sandal or shoe,” Mat 10:10; Luke 10:4; 15:22; 22:35; Acts 7:33, quoted from Ex 3:5.

As you may have noticed, the word “sandal” is not used in this verse. The Greek noun for “sandals” is sandalion, σανδάλιον and is only used in Mark 6:9 and Acts 12:8, and is with HUPODEOMAI. Yet, from the root HUPODEO and its cognates, we see the context of the object that is in view for “putting on,” but not the common sandals for the civilian, in Eph 6:15, it speaks to the soldier’s sandals worn when on duty. Therefore, we could say, “having sandaled.” Today, we would say, “having put on your combat boots.”

Eph 6 - Part 4 - vs 15 (1), Books of the BibleThe Roman soldier needed sure footing to enable him to march, to move quickly, and stand his ground when necessary. The Roman sandal or military shoe was bound by leather throngs over the instep and around the ankle, and the soles were thickly studded with nails to permit surefootedness. This would give him a firm sure footing in case of attack.

The analogy we have here is for the Christian soldier to stand firm against the attacks of Satan, his demonic forces, and world system. To do so, we must see to it that our feet are properly protected and equipped.

This word is first used in the NT in Mark 6:9, when Jesus sent out the 12 disciples to evangelize throughout Israel. Notice that this passage has to do with evangelizing, spreading the Gospel of Peace, just as our verse does.

Mark 6:7-13, “And He (Jesus Christ) summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs; and He was giving them authority over the unclean spirits; 8and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belt; 9but to wear (HUPODEOMAI) sandals (sandalion); and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” 10And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. 11And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” 12And they went out and preached that men should repent. 13And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them.”

Here we see several principles about evangelizing we should take note of, but when Jesus told His disciples to provide for themselves only one pair of sandals for their evangelistic trip, He was teaching them to trust in God to provide their needs as necessary during their journey, cf. Deut 29:5. So, we see that we are to faith rest in God, to provide all that is necessary when we go out to evangelize.

Deut 29:5, “I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot.”

The next time HUPEDEOMAI is used, is when Peter was freed from King Herod’s captivity, Acts 12:8.

Acts 12:4-11, “When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads (TETRADION – 4 soldiers per squad) of soldiers to guard him (16 in all), intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. 5So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 6On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself (perizonnumi, Eph 6:14) and put on (HUPODEOMAI) your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” 9And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11When Peter came to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting’.”

Here, the angel had freed Peter from captivity and told him to prepare himself for that freedom. Therefore, we see the results of the gospel of peace; freedom from captivity. That is, the captivity of sin over the life of the unbeliever. As a believer, you are free from sin. That is the message we are to be prepared to deliver to the lost.

Likewise, in the LXX usages, we see the impact the gospel of peace has, as 2 Chron 28:15, records how the Israelites clothed their prisoners, gave them food and drink, and put sandals on their feet. And, in Ezek 16:10, God recounts how He treated the Israelites; He bathed them, vs. 9, clothed them, and placed sandals on their feet. Therefore, we see the provisions of God that accompany the gospel of peace that we are to bring to the lost.

The thing to be “shod or sandaled” is “the feet” HO POUS, in the Accusative, Masculine, Plural. Rather than saying to put on “sandals,” sandalion, we are commanded to shod our “feet.” In other words, we are to wrap the feet, protect the feet, and provide for the feet. As you know, the feet provide great stability for the whole body. That is the first message here. To make sure we are stable in all that we do. The feet also give the body motion: forward, backward, and side to side. With the feet, we can stand still, walk, run, and jump. The feet are a wonderful creation by God to provide these things for us.

All of this is analogues to what the gospel of Jesus Christ provides for our soul; it gives it the potential for motion, momentum, stability, height, depth, breath and width, Eph 3:18, as it gives us spiritual life and the ability to advance in that life.

The Bible is filled with many analogies regarding the feet and the abilities it provides for us:

1. Metaphorically, the way of one’s feet refers to the way of one’s life, e.g., Psa 119:101,105; Prov 4:26.

Psa 119:1, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.”

Psa 119:101-104, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. 102I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, for You Yourself have taught me. 103How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.”

Psa 119:105-106, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances.”

  • “Feet” indicate our righteous acts of Divine good production, 1 Tim 5:10; Heb 12:13.

1 Tim 5:10, “Having a reputation for good works; if she has brought up children, if she has shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has devoted herself to every good work.”

Heb 12:13, “And make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”

  • Though the feet can be used for good, they can also be used for evil, 1 Kings 2:5; Prov 1:15-16; 5:5; 6:13, 18, 28; 7:11; 26:6; Mat 18:8; Rom 3:15, as we see in the seven things God hates, Prov 6:15-19. 

Prov 6:16-19, “There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” 

Rom 3:15, “Their feet are swift to shed blood.”

1 Kings 2:5, “Now you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner, and to Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed; he also shed the blood of war in peace. And he put the blood of war on his belt about his waist, and on his sandals on his feet.”

2. “Feet in sandals,” is also used in an expression of the Lord’s love for the members of His body, His bride, Song of Sol 7:1.

Song of Sol 7:1, “How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, the work of the hands of an artist.”

3. We also note that when things are placed “under the feet,” it represents power, rule, and authority, Psa 8:6; 110:1; Mat 22:44; Acts 2:35; Rom 16:20; 1 Cor 15:25-27; Eph 1:22; Heb 1:13; 2:8; 10:13.

Eph 1:22, “And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.” 

Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”

  • For our Lord to gain His authority and provide us our authority, His “feet” were pierced on our behalf, Psa 22:16; Luke 24:39-40.

Psa 22:16, “For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.”

4. Worship of the Lord includes the feet, in falling at, sitting at, washing, and kissing, Mat 15:30; 28:9; Mark 5:22; 7:25; Luke 5:8; 7:38-46; 10:39; 17:16; John 11:2, 32; 12:3; Rev 1:17.

5. “Feet” are used by our Lord to teach the rebound technique of 1 John 1:9, the cleansing of our sins experientially post-salvation, as they are positionally at the moment of salvation, John 13:5-14. Vs. 14, also speaks to our outreach and service to others, both believers and unbelievers, so that they too can have the cleansing found in Jesus Christ.

6. There is much celebration when a fellow brother or sister is restored to fellowship with God, Luke 15:22, 32, cf. Luke 15:6, 9.

Luke 15:22, “But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet’.” 

Luke 15:32, “But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”

Luke 15:6, “And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!”

Luke 15:9, “And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ 

7. “Feet,” as in our verse, indicates the firm ground we are to stand on in the spiritual warfare, Psa 40:2. 

Psa 40:2, “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.”

8. And, as in our verse, it is used to indicate how God views those who bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost in this world, Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15.

Isa 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

Rom 10:15, “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”

  • When evangelizing, if people reject your message, you are not to take it personally, but put it behind you, forget about it, and move forward to the next opportunity for witnessing. Remember, they are not rejecting you but are rejecting the Lord, Mat 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5; 10:11; Acts 13:51.

Mat 10:14, “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”

Mark 6:11, “Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.”

Luke 9:5, “And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 

Luke 10:11, “Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.” 

  • At the same time, we are to have discernment as when to witness the gospel and when not to, Mat 7:6. 

Mat 7:6, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

  • Yet, when we do have opportunity to witness, we are to use the best of our spiritual abilities to save those who are in darkness and bring them to the peace of God, Luke 1:79.

Luke 1:79, “TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Summary:

  • Our feet symbolize the “path of life,”
    • Both good and bad.
  • They symbolize God’s Love for us.
  • They are a sign of authority, power, and rule.
    • Because our Lord’s feet were pierced on our behalf.
  • They are an expression of our worship of the Lord.
  • They remind us of the forgiveness of sin.
  • They indicate God’s rejoicing over the lost who are found.
  • They symbolize our firm position in God and Christ.
  • They indicate our responsibility to witness to others.
    • God loves it.
    • Forget those who reject it.
    • Have discernment in delivering it.
    • Do it to your best ability.

With all of these in view, our feet need to be prepared to stand firm in Christ during the spiritual warfare we are in.

The phrase, “YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE,” is capitalized in the NASB, because it is a quote from the OT. In this case, it is from the hymn of praise in Isa 52:17, which is also quoted in Rom 10:15, and from the prophecy of Nahum 1:15. Yet, in our verse, it is more of a paraphrase. In addition, Paul previously spoke of this in regard to Jesus’ ministry in Eph 2:17.

Isa 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” 

Nahum 1:15, “Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; He is cut off completely.”

Rom 10:15, “How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’”

Eph 2:17, “And He (Jesus Christ) came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near.”

In all instances, the reference is to the communication of the gospel of salvation that is found in Jesus Christ.

Next, we have, “with the preparation,” in the Dative case of the Preposition EN, “with,” and the Noun hetoimasia, ἑτοιμασία, that means, “readiness, a state of being ready for action, readiness or being ready to do something, preparation,” or even “equipment.” This is the only time this word is used in the NT. It comes from the verb hetoimazo that means, “put or keep in readiness, get ready, or prepare” in classical Greek. In addition, it was used for the tackling of a ship, which meant the ropes, winches, pulleys, and blocks that were necessary to sail a ship. If the ship were not equipped with these things, it could not sail to its destination. Therefore, the ship needed to be equipped with and prepared with the tackle in order to set sail. So, we could translate this, “with the tackle or equipment.”

Today, we also think of the usage of tackle as a word for the gear and equipment necessary to go fishing, which is a direct analogy to being prepared to witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Jer 16:16; Ezek 47:10; Mat 4:18-19; Mark 16-17; Cf. Luke 5:10.

Jer 16:16, “‘Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,’ declares the LORD, ‘and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks’.” 

Ezek 47:10, “And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many.” 

Mat 4:18-19, “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen, (HALIEUS). 19And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men, (HALIEUS ANTHROPOS).”

To follow Jesus was the preparation they and we all need in order to be fishers of men! 

Luke 5:10, “And so also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men’.”

Therefore, readiness to preach the gospel message is seen as part of the soldiers “equipment.”

Occasionally in the LXX, hetoimasia is used for establishing a foundation or a firm footing, Ezra 2:68; 3:3; Psa 89:14; Zech 5:11.

Psa 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation (hetoimasia) of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”

As you can imagine, the foundation we stand on is Jesus Christ and our salvation through Him. So, we could also translate Eph 6:15, “with the firm footing for the foundation.” Cf. 1 Cor 10:4; Luke 6:48. 

1 Cor 10:4, “And all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.” 

This suggests the firm and solid knowledge of the gospel, along with the eternal security that comes with it, in which the believer may stand firm on and not be moved, just like soldiers in their military duty.

The cognates of this word, like the Adjective HETOIMOS, are used in the NT to speak to the concept of “readiness.” This readiness is demanded in three respects:

  1. Readiness for good works, Titus 3:1; cf. 2 Tim 2:21.
  2. Readiness to bear witness to the Gospel, 1 Peter 3:15; Eph 6:15.
  3. Readiness for the return of the Lord, with particular urgency, Mat 24:44; Luke 12:35-40.

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Luke 12:40, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

This readiness gives the Christian life a distinctive dynamic character. It means to be vigilant, that is, to be preparing yourself daily with the knowledge of Christ and His “so great of a salvation,” first for yourself in recognizing the forgiveness of your sins and eternal life you stand in. The sailors of the ancient day did not know when a storm would hit them. So, they had to be constantly prepared for it, so that when it did hit, they could weather the storm and ride it out safely. The same goes for the believer to be prepared to weather the storms of life, and the attacks of Satan and his cosmic system, because you never know when they are going to hit you. Therefore, the best defense is to be always prepared; vigilant.

Secondly, the believer is to be vigilant so that you are prepared to communicate the gospel of Christ whenever the moment arises. You never know when someone will need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, ask you about it, or the opportunity arises for you to communicate it. Therefore, the best offense is to always be prepared to deliver it.

In virtue of it, the life of the believer becomes a life of conscious and vigilant expectation, which assures of salvation and the openness to the possibilities of action determined by it. That is why Paul tells us to “have our feet shod with the preparation.” The preparation is for the readiness of battle inside the Angelic Conflict, and the readiness for active propagation of the Gospel, which is the most effective means of combatting satanic powers. The preparation is first for ourselves to provide confidence for endurance, and secondly to deliver the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, when we witness to others, it causes us to stand more firm on the rock of Jesus Christ.

That leads us into our final phrase “the gospel of peace,” which is the Genitive of HO EUAGGELION HO EIRENE.

The first noun euaggelion, εὐαγγέλιον means, “good news or the gospel,” which is from EU, “good, well,” and AGGELLO, “to proclaim, tell.” The double G in the Greek renders the NG sound like “ing,” in English. Therefore, sometimes people translate the first G as N, as in EUANGELION. We have seen this word in Eph 1:13; 3:6, and will see it again in vs. 19.

Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation – having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Eph 3:6, “To be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” 

Eph 6:19, “And pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”

This word represents the salvation message of Christ crucified, risen, and seated at the right hand of God, who provides forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who believe in Him.

In ancient Greek, the original definition of the noun was a “reward for bringing a good message.” It also stood for the message itself. It became a general term for the triumphant message from the battlefield, and it was used for joyous political proclamations, or for personal messages of good news. Therefore, according to its Greek heritage, as well as its acquired Hebrew background via the Septuagint, it describes a good report from the battlefield, a message of victory.

In addition, the Greeks and Romans used this word in association with the emperor cult, where in one occasion, it is said the birthday of the Emperor Augustus, as he was praised as a divinity, was the beginning of the good news. “The birthday of the god was for the world the beginning of joyful messages which have gone forth because of him,” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament). To the early church, the emperor was a false god who claimed divine rule. Therefore, the Euaggelion of the emperor cult was a false gospel, which opposed the gospel of Christ.

When Christians used the term, they were speaking the familiar language of the day, yet in proclamation of the saving work of Jesus Christ. When Paul spoke of “another gospel,” a very literal sense can be understood, because he lived in an age of “gospel preaching.” He used the term 60 times. In about half of these, he used it in an absolute sense, i.e., without any qualifying definition. For the apostle, as well as for his readers, there was only one gospel.

Generally, the gospel is God’s plan of salvation, its doctrines, declarations, precepts, and promises. The gospel is the message of God’s action in Christ, executed within the framework of human history; what God has done to make our salvation possible. Euaggelion summarizes the Christ event: His incarnation, His earthly life, His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. The gospel is the message of Christ’s victory over the enemy; the strong one has been conquered by the One who is stronger, Mat 12:29. Paul summarized the essential message of the Christian proclamation, i.e., the gospel, twice, Rom 1 and 1 Cor 15. Read Rom 1:1-17; 1 Cor 15:1-19.

In Rom 1:17, it states “for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Here Paul explained that faith and not obedience to the Law brings righteousness. This righteousness is “from faith to faith;” that is, faith in Christ alone produces righteousness, but it is the preaching (hearing) of the gospel that creates faith, cf. Rom 10:17. Where the gospel is permitted to produce faith and where it is received in faith, “it is the power of God for salvation,” Rom 1:16. Only then does the gospel bring peace, Eph 2:17; 5:16, hope, Col 1:23, and eternal life, Titus 1:1-3.

The Biblical pattern for witnessing is found in great detail in 1 Thes 2, and according to Rom 2:16, judgment is also a part of the EUAGGELION; the content of the Gospel.

Rom 2:16, “On the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

The preaching of the eschatological Day of Judgment is a message of salvation since Christ, the Savior of the world, is the Judge. The proclamation of judgment and the message of joy belong together like repentance and joy.

The Gospel is no new teaching. What is new is the name associated with it, that of Jesus Christ. If we were to sum up the content of the Gospel in a single phrase, it would be Jesus the Christ, Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thes 3:2.

1 Cor 9:12, “If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.”

Phil 1:27, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” 

1 Thes 3:2, “And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.”

The Gospel changes darkness into light and death into life. It has many qualifying descriptions:

  1. It is referred to as the gospel of God and Jesus Christ, e.g., Mark 1:14; Rom 1:1; 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 1 Thes 1:8, showing its sovereignty and Divine plan.
  2. The gospel of God’s grace, Acts 20:24, showing its mercy and love.
  3. The gospel of the kingdom of God, Mat 4:23, 9:35; Luke 8:1; Acts 8:12, showing its eternal inheritance and promise.
  4. The gospel of the Son of God, Rom 1:1-3, showing its humility.
  5. The gospel of God’s Son, Mark 1:1; Rom 1:9, showing its planned procedure fulfilled.
  6. The gospel of Jesus Christ, Mark 1:1, showing its fulfillment of prophecy in the God / Man in hypostatic union.
  7. The gospel of Christ, Rom 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Gal 1:7; Phil 1:27; 1 Thes 3:2, showing its deliverance through the anointed one: The Messiah.
  8. The gospel of our Lord Jesus, 1 Thes 1:8, showing its authority to save.
  9. The gospel of Jesus, Acts 8:35, showing its reconciliation in His humanity, the Savior.
  10. The gospel of the glory of Christ, 2 Cor 4:4, showing its eternal eminence.
  11. The gospel of the unsearchable riches of Christ, Eph 3:8, showing its accompanied blessings.
  12. The gospel of “your” salvation, Eph 1:13, showing that it is real, personal, and eternal. As an eternal gospel, Rev 14:6, of peace Eph 6:15, it is “ours” 1 Thes 1:5; Cf. 2 Cor 4:3-6.

1 Thes 1:5, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.”

In addition to the above qualifying descriptions, other phrases are used in the NT to describe the gospel. For example, the content of its message is signified as “the preaching of the cross,” 1 Cor 1:18, and also the “witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” Acts 4:33. This emphasizes both the Lord’s death and resurrection as being vital parts of the Gospel.

Elsewhere we see further description, as the gospel message is referred to as:

  1. The word of God’s grace, Acts 14:3.
  2. The word of salvation, Acts 13:26.
  3. The word of reconciliation, 2 Cor 5:19.
  4. The word of truth, Eph 1:13.
  5. The word of faith, Rom 10:8.
  6. The word of life, Phil 2:16.
  7. The word of God, 1 Thes 2:13.

Nevertheless, the main emphasis of the message is contained in the phrase “preach Christ” cf. Acts 8:5; Col 1:28.

Col 1:28, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.”

Believers are not to be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Rom 1:16; 2 Tim 1:8, and are to govern their life-style by it, Phil 1:27.

Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” 

Phil 1:27, “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

Though believers may be called to suffer on account of the gospel, Phil 1:15-18; they must continue to proclaim it to the ends of the earth, 2 Tim 4:2, cf. Acts 1:8; 13:47; Rom 1:8; 10:18.

It alone heralds the sound words of truth, salvation, reconciliation, and grace, e.g., Acts 13:26; 14:3; 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 1:13. Only the gospel is the word of life, Phil 2:16. Therefore, this gospel is to be preached to the poor and to the captives, who will be set free by its power, cf. Luke 4:18, (quoting Isa 61:1, Jesus used this term as descriptive of His own ministry).

Isa 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners.” 

Spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ is the responsibility of every believer, because we are all in full-time Christian service. We are professionals and our profession is “Christianity,” which includes spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are in full-time Christian service related of our spiritual gift, our Royal Priesthood, 1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev 1:6, 5:10, our Royal Ambassadorship, 2 Cor 5:20; Eph 6:20; Philemon 9, our invisible impact for Christ having a phenomenal testimony to billions of angels, as well as those in our periphery, and our job, either in the home or outside the home. Our function in life is part of our full-time Christian service. Therefore, whether we are an evangelist, Pastor-Teacher, or have another spiritual gift, we are all in the profession of witnessing for Christ, 2 Cor 5:18-21.

2 Cor 5:18, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 

2 Cor 5:20, “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

The Church Age believer has two areas of responsibility in witnessing for Christ:

1. The witness of the life, 2 Cor 3:3, “Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

2. The witness of the lips. Witnessing is the Royal Family communicating the gospel to an unbeliever on a personal basis. It is personal evangelism rather than mass evangelism. It is informal, conversational, whereby one individual communicates the gospel to another individual, cf. 1 Thes 2.

The Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of witnessing. Effectiveness of witnessing depends on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is the doctrine of common and efficacious grace, Acts 1:8; 2 Cor 3:3; John 16:8‑11; 1 Cor 2:14.

1. The witness of God the Holy Spirit in evangelism is the doctrine of common grace; making the gospel understandable to everyone who hears it. The Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit so that the unbeliever can comprehend the gospel issue, 1 Cor 2:14.

1 Cor 2:14, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

1 Cor 2:14, includes the gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the common grace of God the Holy Spirit steps in for this one area to make the gospel of Jesus Christ understandable to the natural man who otherwise could not understand its meaning and intent.

2. The power of God the Holy Spirit in evangelism is the doctrine of efficacious grace; making the faith of those who believe in the gospel effective for their salvation.

Therefore, we communicate the gospel in our own way and then rely upon the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace.

Nevertheless, your ability to witness for Christ is based on your perception and understanding of Bible doctrine. In the communication of the gospel, you must be filled with the Spirit and accurate in your presentation of the gospel. You do not need to lie or embellish the truth. Just witness the truth and make the issue clear. The issue is always the person of Christ, not sin and not trying to add something to faith for salvation.

The weapon for both the believer and the Holy Spirit when witnessing is Bible doctrine. The pertinent content of the Bible for witnessing are the passages which declare the way of salvation, the passages which deal with the person of Christ. No unbeliever accepts the Bible as the Word of God. No one believes the Bible is the Word of God until he is saved. Therefore, just fire the weapon at that unbeliever and let the Holy Spirit make the issue real to them. Remember:

  1. “The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:18; cf. Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17.
  2. The Bible is the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16.
  3. The Bible is the absolute norm for truth, 2 Peter 1:12-21.
  4. The Bible is Divine power, Heb 4:12.
  5. The Bible never returns void, Isa 55:11.
  6. The Bible endures forever, Luke 21:33; 1 Peter 1:25.
  7. The source of the gospel is the Bible, Luke 16:28‑31; 1 Cor 15:3-4.

1 Cor 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Therefore, the Bible is the proper weapon to use in witnessing.

Next, we note that the mental attitude of the believer in witnessing for Christ is one of being a debtor. We are under a great obligation or debt to those lost and dying in this world, those who are without salvation, Rom 1:14.

Rom 1:14, “I am under obligation (debt) both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.” 

The more you take in God’s Word, the more you realize what your obligation is to be witnessing the gospel of peace to those who currently do not have it. You will also realize that you should be performing your obligation (OPHEILETES, paying off your debt), the rest of your life here on earth. To do so, you need to have the mental attitude of readiness to witness for Christ, Rom 1:15.

Rom 1:15, “So, for my part, I am eager/ready (PROTHUMOS) to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.”

You should be ready at any time in a conversation to present the gospel to anyone, and as we noted above, not be ashamed to witness for Christ, Rom 1:16.

Rom 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Therefore, your mental attitude in witnessing should be:

  • Rom 1:14, “I am debtor,”
  • Rom 1:15, “I am ready…”
  • Rom 1:16, “I am not ashamed…”

Witnessing is what you do from your own motivation as a part of your own priesthood without being pushed by others and should never be about taking and ego trip. Instead, the analogy to witnessing is found in Mat 4:19, taking a fishing trip.

Mat 4:19, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”

To be a good fisherman:

  1. You must have a desire to fish. You must be motivated spiritually. Consistency in learning Bible doctrine determines both your motivation and effectiveness.
  2. You must be equipped to fish. You must know the gospel.
  3. You must go where the fish are located.
  4. You must use the right bait (God’s Word) and be flexible.
  5. Fishermen stay out of sight. You never make an issue of yourself.
  6. You must be patient. Present the gospel and if you get negative signals, move on, “shake the dust of your feet,” Mat 10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5

There are many false issues related to the gospel that become a hindrance to witnessing:

1. Sin is not an issue in salvation, Col 2:14; Christ is the issue. The gospel is the only thing pertinent to the unbeliever. Do not make an issue of anything else. Do not try to get an unbeliever to live the Christian life or meet the standards of the Plan of God before he or she is born again. Do not try to superimpose Christian standards on unbelievers. Do not try to get unbelievers to give up something. Do not make an issue of the Christian way of life or commitment or Lordship or baptism or joining a church or giving money. Never put the cart before the horse.

2. Do not argue; do not beg or persuade anyone to believe. Let the unbeliever make a decision. Avoid false issues such as salvation by works, observing taboos, or any other legalistic standard. Nothing is accomplished toward salvation by persuading the unbeliever he must give up sins, change his behavior pattern, join a church, or be baptized. You do not try to force a decision for Christ. This is the job of the Holy Spirit. Avoid gimmicks, emotional begging, public invitations, and remember to respect the person’s free will. You should always stay with the subject of the gospel when witnessing. It is easy to get off the subject of the gospel because of all the questions the unbeliever will ask that are not a part of the subject.

3. Whether or not the Bible is actually the Word of God is not the issue. Be flexible when witnessing, do not limit yourself to one method or system. You cannot superimpose your volition on others. Provide doctrinal facts so that the unbeliever can make a decision. Provide information about the work of Christ; make it simple; make it in your own language in your own way. 1 Cor 15:3‑4 is the gospel issue. Compare with Eph 2:8‑9.

4. Anything added to faith is dead works, and dead works have no part in salvation, Rom 3:20-28; Gal 2:16. Make the issue clear. Sin and changing your life are not the issues. The issue is believing in Jesus Christ. Therefore, do not add to the gospel. Nothing is accomplished toward salvation by persuading the believer to give up his sins, to improve his personality, to feel sorry for his sins, to join the church, to give money.

5. Remember that Divine institution number one is freedom of volition. This includes the right of privacy in making a decision for Christ. It is not necessary to make a public decision. Always make evangelism a private issue between God and the individual. Provide gospel information but leave the results in the hands of God the Holy Spirit. The gospel must persuade the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ, nothing else. The persuasion must come from the content of the gospel; it does not come from salesmanship, begging, or emotional coercion.

6. Pitfalls in witnessing:

  • Avoid argumentation. You are to give information, not argue over its validity. You are not trying to win a debate. You are to provide information, not argue over the validity of that information, and do not try to force a decision for faith in Christ; this is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
  • Do not be sidetracked by false issues such as: is the Bible the Word of God, or what about the people who have never heard?
  • Deal with the individual alone wherever possible. Witnessing in front of others creates false issues by producing embarrassment, loss of prestige, heckling, etc. The unbeliever may think that he is losing prestige by hearing the gospel in front of others.
  • Avoid getting in a rut by always using the same approach. No two people are alike and often must be approached differently. Flexibility comes with maturity.
  • Avoid false concepts of witnessing to a certain number of people each day, or that an evangelist must have a large audience, or that your spirituality depends on witnessing to people, or that you are not smart enough to witness to smart people or smarter people than yourself. A high I.Q. is not necessary to witness to those with a high I.Q.
  • Motivation must come from Bible doctrine in your soul, not spiritual bullying, human pressure, or approbation lust. Therefore, avoid bragging about your experiences in witnessing and do not judge other believers for their apparent failure to witness. Apply the privacy of the priesthood.
  • Human popularity, attractiveness, or rapport will not bring the unbeliever to Christ.

There are many false systems of salvation, including:

1. Commitment salvation says that you must believe in Christ and commit your life to him. Faith is receiving a gift from God; it is not making a commitment.

2. Lordship salvation says that you must believe in Christ and make him the Lord of your life. At the moment we believe in Christ, God the Holy Spirit automatically enters us into union with Christ which makes Him our Lord. It is not something we do; God the Holy Spirit does it for us.

3. Morality salvation says that you must believe and be moral in order to be saved. This is legalism. Good deeds of the unbeliever do not provide salvation.

4. Ritual salvation says that you must believe and perform certain religious ritual works, e.g., baptism.

5. Emotional salvation says that you are not saved unless you feel saved; you must believe and have some kind of emotional experience.

Acts 20:21, “Solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Repentance toward God is a change of mind about God which does not save you; it is the faith in Christ which saves.

6.  Psychological salvation says that you must believe and perform some sort of body demonstration, such as raising your hand, walking to the front of the congregation in church, weeping tears at the altar.

7.  Salvation by works includes not even mentioning faith in Christ as necessary for salvation.

8. Salvation by inviting Christ into your life or heart is a distortion of Rev 3:20, which is an invitation for believers to rebound, not for unbelievers to believe in Christ. The spiritually dead do not invite Christ anywhere; into his heart or into his life. You are not saved by inviting Christ anywhere. Jer 17:9 says that, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else and desperately wicked.” This invitation bypasses faith.

1 John 5:11-13, “And this is the deposition that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. But these are written to you who believe in the person of the Son of God in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

John 6:40, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.”

John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you that he who believes has eternal life.” 

John 3:36, “He who believes on the Son has eternal life; he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Cf. John 3:16-18. 

Phil 3:9, “That we may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of our own, but that which is through faith in Jesus Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” 

Rom 4:5, “But to the one who does not work for salvation, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.”

And finally, we have, “of peace,” which is related to “the gospel.” It is made up of the Article HO and the Noun eirene, εἰρήνη in the Genitive case that means, “peace, harmony, tranquility, or good health.” It is related to the Hebrew word SHALOM, that had a broader meaning than EIRENE did in the Greek. But its use in the NT took on the broader meanings of the Hebrew usage to include, good health and well-being, prosperity, etc. In addition, the Stoic philosophers sometimes used the word to indicate “inner peace, tranquility” or “peace of mind.” This too, is adopted in the NT usage of the word, as the Word of God resident within your soul is designed to bring you the inner peace, joy, and happiness of God, +H of God.

We have noted this word in Eph 1:2; 2:14, 15, 17; 4:3, and will see it again in vs. 23. The progression of this word in Ephesians includes:

  1. A salutation for peace that comes from God our Father and Jesus Christ, Eph 1:2.
  2. Jesus who broke down the dividing barrier between Jews and Gentiles to bring the two to peace, Eph 2:14.
  3. By taking on the sins of the world, He brought peace to all who believe in Him, making them one body, Eph 2:15.
  4. He preached the gospel of peace to all, both Jews and Gentiles, Eph 2:17.
  5. We now are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit, (the one body), in the bond of Peace, Eph 4:3.
  6. We are to be prepared to fight the Angelic Warfare with the Gospel of Peace, Eph 6:15.
  7. God desires us to live in peace, Eph 6:23.

In secular Greek, EIRENE simply meant the opposite of war, a condition of peace, that is, a respite during an endless series of wars. The Greeks, as later did the Romans, considered peace, (i.e., the absence of war), as the foundation for national and personal welfare and prosperity. In fact, they had a goddess of peace named, Eirene, who was believed to give gifts of wealth and well-being. As you can imagine, that was Satan’s counterfeit to what God provided to the Israelites and to all believers throughout history, including today.

In our passage, EIRENE is used first from its original meaning in the Greek of a respite from warfare, which is the Angelic Conflict that we are all a part of, secondly, the peace that the believer has with God, and thirdly, the blessings or welfare that God provides to those who are in fellowship with Him being obedient to His Word. The latter encompasses the broader Hebrew meaning.

As you know, this does not mean that the Angelic Conflict is over; it means Jesus has won the strategic victory of the Angelic Conflict at the Cross. As such, all who believe in Him have been given that victory as signified by the freedom from sin and death we receive at the moment we believe in Jesus Christ. We also experience that victory by walking with Christ in fellowship with the Holy Spirit and in application of God’s Word that is resident within our soul.

From the day of the “Fall of Man,” man has been at enmity, at war, with God. People are “alienated and enemies” of God not only because of their deeds but because of their disposition, Rom 8:6-7; Col 1:21.

Rom 8:6-7, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.”

Col 1:21-22, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

If there was to be peace between God and man, God Himself had to take the initiative. He did so when He sent His Son, He who “is our peace,” Eph 2:14. At His atoning death for our sins, we were reconciled to God in spite of our sins.

The message of reconciliation is called “the gospel of peace,” Acts 10:36; Eph 2:17; 6:15, and the God who has performed this is called, “the God of peace,” Rom 5:1-5; 15:33; 16:20; Phil 4:9; 1 Thes 5:23; Heb 13:20.

As mentioned, this peace was given to us because our faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, who is the Messiah and the Prince of Peace, Isa 9:6; cf. Micah 5:4-5a; Zech 6:13.

Isa 9:6, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”

Micah 5:4-5a, “And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. 5This One will be our peace.” 

Zech 6:13, “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices, (King and Priest).”

Everyone who has believed in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, receives this peace, John 14:27; 16:33.

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” 

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

This peace comes from the Gospel of Jesus Christ and all the blessings which accompany and flow from our reconciliation to God through Christ, Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Thes 3:16. Therefore, we see once again in the “armor of God,” that we stand positionally in the peace of God, and are to live experientially in the peace of God.

2 Thes 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”

That is why Paul wrote in Rom 5:1; 8:6; 15:13; Phil 4:7; Col 3:15, of the tranquil state of a soul that is assured of its salvation through Christ, fearing nothing from God, and consequently content with its earthly lot, whatever it is.

Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” 

Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” 

Col 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” 

Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” 

Phil 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This is the direct result of our redemption by Christ, Eph 2:15, 17, and consists primarily of a state of conscious reconciliation with God, Rom 5:1, God’s peace is independent of outside conditions and is the fruit of an objective, real salvation with God, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of His Divine favor in your life.

John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
1 Cor 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
 

When the Bible says “The God of peace,” it also means He is the author and giver of Divine blessings, Rom 15:33; 16:20; Phil 4:9; 1 Thes 5:23; Heb 13:20.

1 Thes 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Phil 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” 

Heb 13:20-21, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

True peace is a blessing of which God alone is the author, Job 25:2; Psa 147:14; Isa 45:7. He, the author of peace, is the only One who can bestow it upon the righteous, Gen 15:15, upon Abraham; 2 Kings 22:20, upon Josiah, Psa 37:37, upon the perfect man; Psa 119:165, upon those who love God’s Word, Prov 3:1-2, upon those who follow Divine wisdom, Psa 4:8; Job 5:23; Isa 32:17, and therefore upon you.

Thus, it is a gift which God desires to impart to all His people, Jer 29:11, but which He is often unable to grant because of their sins, Isa 48:18; and Jer 4:10 cf. Jer 4:14.

Jer 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (SHALOM) and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” 

Isa 48:18, “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being (SHALOM) would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”

There can be no peace to the wicked, Isa 57:19; cf. Isa 57:20-21; 48:22. Those who hope for it, while continuing in their iniquity, are self-deceived, Jer 6:14; 8:11, 15; cf. Ezek 13:10, 16. Therefore, peace speaks of our relation to God, as God grants peace to His people.

As such, the attitude of peace within you is acquired through your new relationship with God. Satan has declared war, but you and I are ambassadors of peace, 2 Cor 5:18-21, as such, we take the Gospel of peace wherever we go. In turn, you affect your surroundings with peace, as it says in Mat 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Literally it means, “those who make peace.” Therefore, we as believers in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, are admonished to bring that peace to and live peaceably with all men, if it is possible, Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14; James 3:18.

Rom 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

Heb 12:14, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”

James 3:18, “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

We are to seek peace and to pursue it, 1 Peter 3:11, especially with our fellow believers, 2 Cor 13:11; Eph 4:3; 1 Thes 5:13; 2 Tim 2:22.

2 Cor 13:11, “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

“The quiet heart will be able to fling its whole strength into its work. And that is what troubled hearts never can do, for half their energy is taken up in steadying or quieting themselves, or is dissipated in going after a hundred other things. But when we are wholly engaged in quiet fellowship with Jesus Christ we have the whole of our energies at our command, and can fling ourselves wholly into our work for Him. Duty that is done reluctantly, with hesitation, is not done. We must fling ourselves into the work gladly and be always ‘ready for all Thy perfect will’. Yet. we never shall be, unless we live habitually in tranquil communion with God, and in the full faith that we are at peace with Him through the blood of His Son. A quiet heart makes us ready for duty.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture.)

The Gospel is a peace-bringing power, in the midst of this picture of warfare. It brings us peace first, and then it says to us, “Now, having peace in your own heart, go out and fight to keep it and give it to others.” For, if we are warring with the devil, we are at peace with God; and if we are at peace with the devil, we are warring with God. Therefore, the two states of peace and war go together. The two conditions, though they seem to be opposite, will unite us. This is the paradox of the Christian life.

Jesus was the ultimate One with beautiful feet, who came with His gospel shoes, announcing peace to Jews and Gentiles. Those who know Christ have His peace and have this same mission. This is the difference with our mission and other religious missions. We are not taking life; we are offering life. We are willing even to lay down our lives, because Christ laid His down for us, and we know He will raise us up.

All of this means that you stand in peace before God, and should be enjoying peace in the mentality of your soul at all times. When you realize these two aspects of peace, you are equipped to share your peace, the gospel of peace, with others. Thus, the Christian soldier should see to it that his feet are equipped with the sandals which will give him a firm footing, namely, the good news that speaks peace to a sinful heart, for the Lord Jesus made peace by the blood of His Cross, making a way for a holy God to reunite Himself with a believing sinner who in Adam had been separated from Him and His life. This is to be to us the protection and equipment that the sandals were to the Roman soldier. With this, we are strengthened and protected to face the foe with courage and readiness, Phil 4:6-7; Luke 1:79.

Phil 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Luke 1:79, “To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Isa 9:2), to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Let us hold fast to that Gospel which brings peace and also gives peace.

Vs. 16

Having noted the first three pieces of armor, we now turn to the fourth in vs. 16.

Eph 6:16, “In addition to all (the first three pieces of armor), taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.”

It begins with, “In addition to all,” which in the Greek is simply, EN PAS, ἐν πᾶς in the Dative case. The words “addition to” were added to emphasize the other parts of the armor of God that the “shield of faith” is now included with to make up the “full” armor of God.

Taking up,” is the Verb ANALAMBANO, which we saw in vs. 13, regarding “taking up” the full armor of God. It is in the Aorist, Active, Participle, Nominative, Plural. Here, we are to “take up” this piece of equipment to join the other pieces that we are arming ourselves with.

The Culminative Aorist, once again emphasize completed past action where the results continue today.

In vs. 13, it was in the Imperative mood for a command.

Here, the Participle continues that mandate with this piece of armament.

The Active voice in both verses, tells us that we are the ones to perform this action. It emphasizes our volitional responsibility, in the non-meritorious act of faith, to take up the weaponry that God has provided for us found in His Word, so that we can stand firm against our adversary, Satan.

The piece of equipment we are to take up here is “the shield,” HO THUREOS in the Direct Object Accusative case. THUREOS, θυρεός is a military term that means not just any shield, but a “long shield or large shield.” It is a hapaxlegomena that means, it is only used here in the NT.

It was designated the shield of the heavy infantry, large, oblong, and four-cornered, four feet long by two and a half feet wide. It was made of a metal or wooden frame, with an insert of metal, leather, or wicker-work, and held on the left arm by means of a handle. If leather, there were several layers of leather spread over the frame, perhaps as thick as a handsbreadth. Often the leather was soaked in water so as to put out any flaming arrows hurled by the enemy.

Its cognates THURA and THURIS mean, “door, gate, or entrance,” referring to a stone for closing the entrance of a cave or a window, respectfully. Thus, Homer used THUREOS in his writings for that which is placed in front of the doorway, where in Odyssey, the character Polyphemus used a THURA as the stone placed in front of his cave, (“Odyssey,” ix., 240). Therefore, THUREOS is used to describe a large, door-shaped shield.

The earliest dating of this word appears to be from papyri of 3 B.C. It also occurs 24 times in the Septuagint. Eleven times it used for the Hebrew word TSINNAH that denotes “a large rectangular protective shield,” which usually covered the entire body. Thirteen times it is used for the Hebrew MAGHEN that was typically a smaller shield used by an individual soldier who was active in battle. During the time of the NT, it commonly referred to the Roman legionary shield that was door-shaped with an iron frame.

The emphasis of the term is upon the shield most commonly used by an army in frontline combat. It was a basic tool of warfare, particularly significant for troops which were in the most intense fighting. It did not indicate the ornamental shield or armor which was reserved for those of higher rank.

Paul uses it only here in the NT to figuratively describe the “shield of faith” that the believer needs to take up in order to extinguish the flaming arrows / missiles of the enemy, Satan. So, it is used symbolically of shielding like a door for every believer.

The Roman shield was made from metal and leather. Yet, the believer’s shield is made up “of faith,” which is HO PISTIS in the Descriptive Genitive case. PISTIS πίστις can mean, “Faith, trust, trustworthiness, reliability; confidence, assurance, conviction, belief, or Bible doctrine / the Word of God.” In classical Greek writings, it denoted the trust one has in another, and indicated the trustworthiness, reliability, of someone, (i.e., faith in the object of your faith). Both the noun PISTIS and the verb PISTEUO have a wide range of usages in the NT.

The basis of faith is the Word of God and His action in history; thus, faith is directed at God Himself. God and Jesus Christ are the objects of faith, central to the life lived by faith, John 14:1. Jesus is rightly called the “author (leader, pacesetter) and finisher (perfecter) of our faith,” Heb 12:2.

It is used extensively throughout the NT, and we have seen it in Eph 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13. We will see it again in Eph 6:23. In a survey of the usage in Ephesians we see:

Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”

Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” 

Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” 

Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.” 

Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” 

Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” 

Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” 

Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, those who have faith in the Lord are commended:

  • We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, (i.e., our entrance into the spiritual life by faith).
  • Faith in Christ gives us boldness and confident access to the Father, (i.e., our prayer life of faith).
  • Christ is at home in the heart of faith, (i.e., our walk in faith).
  • We have One Faith, (i.e., positional unity in the Body of Christ).
  • We are to attain a unity of faith with the brethren, (i.e., experiential unity in the body of Christ).
  • We are protected by the shield of faith, (i.e., the guardianship that is faith).
  • God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul desire us to have faith, (i.e., their hope of faith for us).

In the Old and New Testaments, faith has a broad array of application. The LXX uses PISTIS to translate several Hebrew words including, EMUNAH, AMAN, BATACH, and CHASAH.

It ranges from, “fidelity and faithfulness,” to the “faithful attitude” toward another human being, and our relationship with God, Gen 15:6; Ex 14:31; 2 Chron 20:20. It also indicates a trust in God with respect to His Word and His promises, Joshua 3:5; Psa 106:12, and obedience to His commands, Psa 119:66. It also means, “to rely on, put confidence in,” as well as, “to seek refuge in.” God is the object in whom trust/confidence/refuge is placed or sought.

Psa 106:12, “Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.” 

Psa 119:66, “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, For I believe in Your commandments.”

Faith is not a passive resignation to life like fate; rather, it is confidence that God will fulfill His promises and carry out His salvation plan.

Isaiah gives us a great example of faith, using the key words “quiet” and “confidence,” Isa 30:15. Notice the volitional responsibility we have to appropriate this faith.

Isa 30:15, “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing.”

In the OT, just as in the New, an individual’s relationship to God was grounded upon faith in His promises of grace and salvation. This concept is of the same essence as faith / righteousness in the NT, Hab 2:1, 4; cf. Rom 1:16-17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38.

Hab 2:1, “I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved.”

Hab 2:4, “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.” 

Rom 1:17, “For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’.”

Heb 10:38, “But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 

Jesus instructed the disciples to depend upon God. In this respect faith contrasts fear, Mark 5:36.

In the Epistles PISTIS regularly describes the life of faith worked out by the Spirit in the heart of the positive believer, Rom 1:8; 2 Cor 5:7; Gal 2:20; Eph 1:15; Col 1:4; 1 Thes 1:3; 3:5; 1 Tim 6:12.

Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

2 Cor 5:6-8a, “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord –7for we walk by faith, not by sight- 8we are of good courage…” 

1 Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

The believer can:

  • Become strong in the Faith, Acts 16:5; Rom 4:20.
  • Be grounded and established in faith, Col 1:23.
  • Stand firm in the faith, 1 Cor 16:13; Eph 6:16.
  • Be “full of faith,” Acts 6:5; 11:24.
  • Be on the road to deeper faith, 2 Cor 10:15; 2 Thes 1:3.

Rom 4:20, “Yet, with respect to the promise of God, he (Abraham) did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God.”

Acts 16:5, “So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily.”

2 Thes 1:3, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.”

In Hebrews chapter 11, we have a lengthy series on the OT models of faith, the “visible heroes” of faith. These saints believed God’s promises, in spite of the apparent hopelessness of their circumstances. Without seeing the realization of the promises, they lived and died believing that the promised Messiah and Kingdom would one day come. Faith characterized their lives. We could say that they realized that “without faith it is impossible to please God,” Heb 11:6.

Heb 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” 

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 

Taking our example from the OT visible heroes, to be an invisible hero in the Church Age, we need to understand how we build and apply faith in our lives according to the following designations of faith in the NT:

  • The Word of faith, Rom 10:8, (faith is found in the Word of God).
  • The law of faith, Rom 3:27, (not of human works, but trusting in God and His Word).
  • The obedience of faith, Rom 16:26; 1:5.
  • The righteousness which is by faith, Rom 4:13f.
  • The life of faith, Gal 2:20.
  • The walk in faith, 2 Cor 5:7.
  • The prayer offered in faith, James 5:15.
  • The work produced by faith, 1 Thes 1:3.
  • The battle of faith, 1 Tim 6:12; Eph 6:16.
  • The end result of faith, 1 Peter 1:9.

Each of these always occurs within the glorious framework of Christ’s redemptive work.

1 Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Faith is also that which justifies, Rom 3:22; Gal 3:22-23, and “to believe” or “to begin to believe” are equal to being a Christian, Rom 13:11; 1 Cor 3:5; 15:2, which is the normative expression of the Christian. In other words, the one who has faith is doing what the Father calls for and is demonstrating the Christian way of life. On the other hand, the one who lacks in faith is not, and scarcely can call themselves a Christian, because it is not Christ who they are trusting in, but something or someone else.

The Christian, who has faith, is also one who is doing things for Christ in faith. This was the message of James in his book where he complements Paul’s teaching on justification by faith, Rom 3:28; 5:1; Gal 2:16; 3:11, 24; Cf. James 2:14-26. Whereas Paul tried to prevent someone from basing salvation upon works, James tells us that works must follow as the fruit of faith and as proof of salvation. He cautioned against a “faith” that rests upon an intellectual assent to the truth but lacks a life yielded and obedient to God. He was fighting the influx of Gnosticism that continues today, in both an organized and unorganized way. I say unorganized, in that some “grace” believers rest on their laurels of having believed in Jesus Christ for salvation and then live as they like in the world, Satan’s cosmic system. They do not continue in faith with Divine good production in their lives. Yet, the “Christian” is one who not only believed in Christ for salvation, but continues to trust in Him for every aspect of their life. Their works, done by faith and in faith, demonstrate the faith they had at salvation, which continues in their daily walk with Him.

Therefore, faith described as a shield, is not just the subjective attitude, but an objective, Divinely given reality in the life of the believer, 1 Cor 13:13; 1 Thes 5:8. All the attacks of Satan are hurled back by the fellowship the believer has in faith with God.

1 Cor 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” 

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

1 Peter 5:9, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.” 

Psa 5:12, “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield.”

Therefore, the shield that the Christian soldier uses inside the Angelic Conflict is faith, a present faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for victory over sin and Satan’s cosmic system.

This is the only part of the full armor of God for which Paul indicates the effect it has, as he says next, “with which you will be able,” EN HO DUNAMAI.

DUNAMAI, δύναμαι is a verb that we are familiar with that means, “to be able, have power to do, or have capacity for.” It expresses the ability and capacity to accomplish something in deed, attitude, or thought. This is indicating the inherent power or ability we will have when we operate by faith in our Christian walk. We saw this word in verses 11 and 13, for the inherent ability we have to fight and be victorious in the Angelic conflict, when we put on the full armor of God. Here, with the “shield of faith,” we have a specific ability we can exercise and effect against the attacks of our enemy to be victorious in the battle.

In our passage, DUNAMAI is in the Future, Middle, Indicative, 2nd Person, Plural.

The Future tense tells us that subsequent to picking up and utilizing the shield of faith, we will have the ability to defeat the attacks of our foes.

The Middle Deponent voice, is active in meaning. When we seize the shield of faith, we will be able to thwart the enemy’s aggression towards us.

The Indicative mood is for the dogmatic reality of having this inherent power against Satan and his cosmic system, when we walk in faith.

Next is the ability or effect we have, “to extinguish,” which actually is the last word in this sentence in the Greek. It is the verb SBENNUMI, σβέννυμι that means, “to extinguish, quench, suppress, restrain, subdue, or stifle.” It is also used in Mat 12:20; 25:8; Mark 9:48, (and added in vs. 44, 46 in later copies of the gospel); 1 Thes 5:19; Heb 11:34. Here it is in the Aorist, Active, Infinitive.

The Culminative Aorist views the action as completed, “to extinguish” the flaming arrows.

The Active voice, the faithful believers are the ones who are able to extinguish these satanic arrows.

This is an Infinitive of results, indicating the results or accomplishment of putting on the Shield of Faith; you will be able to extinguish the flaming arrows.

This verb is used in three primary ways in classical Greek literature. Literally, it is used of extinguishing a fire. Similarly, it is used of liquids that “dry up,” and as a figure of speech, it can be used of anything that is checked, quenched, or quelled. We could also say “offset.” Therefore, when temptations to sin or perform human good come your way, you can offset them by walking in faith, i.e., apply God’s Word to the situation, whatever it may be.

In Mat 12:20, from the prophecy of Jesus Christ in Isa 42:3, it is said, “A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out, until He leads justice to victory.” His faith carried Him to victory at the Cross. Regardless of the temptations hurled at Jesus, He would not be denied His faith walk in God the Father’s plan for salvation for the human race. Jesus would not waver or falter!

In Mat 25:8, regarding the foolish virgins, (i.e., unbelievers), having not enough faith, they will miss the 2nd coming of the Lord. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out’.” The unbeliever does not have faith in God or Jesus, and therefore will miss His coming.

In Mark 9:48, quoting Isa 66:24, it again speaks to the unbeliever who will be tormented for forever in the Lake of Fire, “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Because of their rejection of Jesus Christ during their life here on earth, because of their lack of faith in Him, they will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire where the sensation of burning will never stop. If they had just a little faith in Jesus Christ, they would avoid an eternity of faithlessness. 

In 1 Thes 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit,” the believer is commanded to not fall into reversionism or apostasy, which is a direct result of a lack of faith, leading to “quenching,” halting or stopping the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in their lives.

In Hebrews 11, it is used to demonstrate the power faith gave to the visible heroes of the OT.

Heb 11:33-34, “Who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”

Like Daniel, his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, received the power of God by faith to accomplish such things. The true power behind all of these was not man’s, but the power and ability (DUNAMAI) of God and His Word resident within their souls. When they appropriated by faith God and His Word in their lives, they accomplished great things. Therefore, as we see in our verse, Eph 6:16, we will be able to quench, (stop or overcome), the attacks (temptations) by Satan and his cosmic system.

In Lev 6:9 and others places, this word is used in the LXX to refer to the fire on the sacrificial altar which was never to be quenched. It was the imagery of the Christ’s sacrifice for our sins that is all sufficient and never revoked. It “burns” continually, meaning His one sacrifice endures forever and through it we have eternal security. His completed work for our salvation is what we are to trust in and rely upon for our daily walk, post-salvation.

Conversely, four times in the OT we are warned that the lamp of the wicked will be extinguished, Job 18:5-6; 21:17; Prov 13:9; 24:20. Because of their lack of faith, God will bring their lives to a conclusion.

Therefore, as we see in the usage of the word SBENNUMI, “extinguish,” throughout the Bible, we see that by faith in God, His Word, and Jesus Christ, man can extinguish the flames of hell and the flaming arrows Satan hurls at him. On the other hand, if man does not have faith in God then the flames of hell last eternally and the flaming arrows of Satan will penetrate leading to destruction of the soul.

The thing we will be able to “quench” or “stop” is, “all the flaming arrows,” which in the Greek is, PAS HO PUROO HO BELOS. In the Greek, BELOS comes first, then later comes PUROO. But we will follow the English reading.

Flaming” or “fiery,” is the Verb PUROO, πυρόω that means, “set on fire or burn.” Figuratively, it means, “to burn with desire, glow with heat, test, etc.” It is the 2nd to last word in the Greek sentence. It is in the Perfect, Passive, Participle, Accusative, Plural.

The New Testament uses PUROO only in the passive, “to be set on fire, burn up, to be ignited, kindled, to burn, or flame.” It is used in 1 Cor 7:9; 2 Cor 11:29; 2 Peter 3:12; Rev 1:15; 3:18. It is closely related to the noun PUR, which from the time of Homer (8th Century B.C.), refers to “fire” in its various forms whether in nature or produced by man. In our passage, it is used to describe the intensity of the temptations Satan and His cosmic system hurl at you.

The Intensive Perfect tense, is for completed past action where the results continue to the present. In other words, these arrows have already been set on fire by Satan and continue to burn. It is part of his overall master plan to thwart God’s overall Plan for mankind and His plan for your life. He set his evil plan in motion long ago, and when it involves you. it is just as intense as it was at the foundation of the world. In this we see Satan’s master plan of temptation of “appetite, beauty, and ambitious pride,” 1 John 2:16; cf. Mat 4:1-11; Gen 3:6.

The Passive voice, means the arrows received the burning fire by another, in this case, Satan.

In the OT, PUROO is used in the LXX, usually referring to the process of smelting or refining by fire, e.g., Psa 12:6; Zech 13:9. The smelting or testing process establishes the product as approved and makes it more pure. So, this PUROO in regard to “flaming arrows,” alludes to being tempted by Satan, which in fact, is a testing by fire. When these flaming arrows come at us, our soul is refined by their fire when we apply faith, either reproved or purified, 1 Peter 1:6f; 4:12; 5:10; cf. James 1:2

1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.”

1 Peter 1:6, “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.”

1 Peter 5:10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”

Therefore, the flaming arrows hurled at us by Satan are a testing process for our souls, to refine it to be purer and purer as God draws us closer to Himself. This was the case of the humanity of our Lord, as seen in the results of Rev 1:15, which also should be ours, Rev 3:18.

Rev 1:15, “His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.”

Rev 3:18, “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined (PUROO) by fire (PUR) so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”

As Psa 119:140 tells us, we should love the Word of God, because it has already been made pure, and therefore becomes power and strength for us when we are tempted by Satan.

Psa 119:140, “Your word is very pure, therefore Your servant loves it.”

The thing that has been put on fire is “arrows”, or “missiles”, or “darts,” which is the Greek noun BELOS, βέλος that means, “dart, arrow, javelin, etc.” It is only used here in the NT; a hapaxlegomena. It comes from BALLO, “to throw.” It is a projectile such as an arrow, javelin, or dart hurled deliberately and with purpose. If we were writing this letter today, we would probably use the word, “bullet” or “explosive shells,” a projectile sent by an explosion or fire. Missile is also a good imagery here. But back when the Bible was written, they did not have bullets, but they did have arrows, darts, and javelins. Therefore, the “flaming arrows,” refer to arrows tipped with tow, pitch, or such material that were set on fire before they were discharged. Sometimes they were missiles fitted with combustibles.

The one who is hurling these flaming arrows at us is “the evil one,” which is HO PONEROS. PONEROS, πονηρός is an Adjective, and with the article HO, it acts like a noun or pronoun. It means, “painful, serious, grievous, bad, wicked, evil, or depraved.” It means evil in a moral or spiritual sense, wicked, malicious, and mischievous. But here, it is a title for Satan to describe his personage, as well as his actions. We noted this word for Satan and his attacks back in vs. 13, “the evil day.” Here it tells us of the one who shoots the “bullets” at us. Therefore, the flaming arrows represent the temptations with which Satan attacks the saints. And, it is these temptations that we will extinguish when we put on the “Shield of Faith.”

Using the order of words in the Greek for this passage, it reads as follows, Besides all, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to with all of the arrows of the wicked one, those having been set on fire, quench.”

When Paul wrote Ephesians, the PUROO BELOS was among the deadliest weapons developed for warfare. He used it figuratively for satanic temptations. We draw attention to several particulars in which this figure is especially instructive and warning:

1. The arrow is one of suddenness with which Satan attacks us. Satan’s temptations were designed to come swiftly and suddenly, and from directions we were not expecting. In other words, many times we do not see his attacks coming. This is the “shock and awe” effect of this weapon. That is why we always need to be at the ready, walking in faith, so that no matter what comes or from where; we are able to handle it in faith.

2. The arrow was designed to hit one specific area and penetrate deeply to cause the greatest amount of damage to that area. Likewise, Satan tempts us in a one specific area at a time, trying to hit your most vulnerable area to cause you to sin or get involved in a system of human good works.

3. The arrow was designed so that once it penetrated the intended target, it could not be easily removed without causing further damage. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed to stick in your soul, so that you cannot change your ways and repent back to God. Satan wants to keep you in his clutches.

Eph 6 - Part 4 (vs. 16) - (8), Books of the Bible4. The flaming arrow spreads its destructive intent, as Satan’s temptations are designed to affect your entire soul, it sets the soul on fire in a negative way. In other words, when temptation is thrown at you, it is designed by Satan to ignite a spark of sin or human good in your soul that consumes the entire soul.

5. The flaming arrow disperses its destructive force. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed to cause widespread sinning, human good, or evil in your life. If one sin is allowed to catch fire, it will ignite other sins in your soul causes a chain reaction of sinning or human good in your life.

6. Even when the flaming arrow did not hit the body and was caught by the shield, it hurled the flames all over the shield and around it with the intent to cause fear or a panic. Likewise, Satan’s temptations, though initially handled in your soul, (caught or deflected), by faith, are designed to weaken your resolve to fight the battle raising doubt, fear, worry, or anxiety about your spiritual walk, leaving you vulnerable to future attacks.

7. The flaming arrows causing panic in the soldier because their shield was blazing fiercely, could lead them to throw down their shield and be vulnerable to the next arrow that was hurled at them. Likewise, Satan’s temptations are designed for the Christian soldier to throw down his shield of faith and become vulnerable to the other attacks or temptations that may come. That is what Satan is trying to do to you. He sends one temptation to get you to throw off your faith in God and His Word, so that he can throw something else at you leading to sin or human good.

The burning arrows represent every type of assault devised by the evil one, not just temptation to impure or unloving conduct, but also false teaching, human good, persecution, doubt, despair, etc. Faith is the power which enables you to resist them all and triumph over such attacks.

“Flaming arrows” are also featured in the OT in Psa 7:13; Prov 26:18. These both speak of Satan’s attempts through the reversionist, who because of his unrepentant heart becomes part of Satan’s cosmic system, to hurl temptations at believers.

Psa 7:13, “He has also prepared for himself deadly weapons; he makes his arrows fiery shafts.”

Prov 26:18, “Like a madman who throws Firebrands, arrows and death.”

Because the Greek and Roman gods of passion, called Eros and Cupid, respectively, were said to strike with flaming arrows, some of Paul’s readers may have thought specifically of the temptation of sexual lust here. Yet, it is intended to cover more than just that danger, cf. Psa 11:2; 57:4; 58:3-7; 64:3; cf. Psa 120:1-4; Prov 25:18.

Psa 11:2, “For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.”

Psa 57:4, “My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows and their tongue a sharp sword.”

Psa 64:3, “Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow.”

Psa 58:3-7, The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth. 4They have venom like the venom of a serpent; like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear, 5So that it does not hear the voice of charmers, or a skillful caster of spells. 6O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth; break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD. 7Let them flow away like water that runs off; when he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.” 

Notice that the arrows are defined as “words” that come from the mouths of evil men. Therefore, we see that the temptations that Satan hurls at us are many times those from the tongue: gossip, maligning, slandering, lying, insults, false witness, false flattery, enticements, etc. The arrows of Satan are not only sharp and penetrating, but what makes them more destructive is that they are fiery, designed to cause the maximum amount of damage to our souls.

Therefore, to combat these evil words that are sharp and penetrating to our souls, we need the righteous Word of God resident within our souls to apply in faith to the various forms of temptations. To combat an emphatic foe, we must put up the Shield of Faith, which will be found more than capable of not only halting their penetration, but of quenching their dispersing heat. The Christian’s shield effectively counteracts the danger of such diabolical missiles not merely by stopping or deflecting them, but by actually quenching the flames to prevent them from spreading further damage or destruction.

And our Lord is the one who gives us the victory over these temptations through His Word and Spirit being functional within our souls, Psa 76:3f.

Psa 76:3, “There He broke the flaming arrows, the shield and the sword and the weapons of war. Selah.”

Satan shoots these “flaming arrows,” at our hearts and minds: lies, blasphemous thoughts, hateful thoughts about others, doubts, burning desires for sin, etc. If we do not by faith quench these arrows, they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. And we never know when Satan will shoot an arrow at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith.

We have a shield to protect us from the attacks of the enemy when we put on Christ, believing the promises of God. The combination of Bible doctrine in your soul plus the trigger called faith, becomes the basis of protecting you against Satan’s super weapons. The great overall principle of this verse is that there is no power which belongs to Satan that is great enough to destroy those believers who are holding up the shield of faith. You must carry the shield with you wherever you go. Believers should never be without the shield of faith.

When the demon armies start throwing these fiery darts at you, you have had enough Bible doctrine through the function of GAP, you have accumulated doctrine in the soul, you have built an altar in the soul, you have put on the full armor from God, and the result is that you are able to meet all of the attacks of the unseen enemy, the demon army.

Just as the shield would break the arrow’s force and cause them to fall harmlessly to the ground, so does your faith in God and His Word resident within your soul cause the attacks or temptations of Satan to be null and void within your soul, because truly God is your shield, Psa 18:2, 30, 35; 28:7; 33:20; 35:2;59:11;91:4; 115:9-11; 144:1; Prov 30:5; cf. Gen 15:1; Psa 18:2;

Psa 18:30, “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

Psa 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.” 

Prov 30:5, “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.”

Just as the soldier could not afford to be without his protective shield at any time, the follower of Christ, the Christian soldier, cannot for one moment afford to be without faith, to be without God.

Psa 144:1, “Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”

The shield of faith is the confident trust in and receptiveness to Christ and his power that protects the whole person who claims it is, “an objective, Divinely given reality.” Faith takes hold of God’s resources in the midst of the onslaughts of evil and produces the firm resolve which douses anything the enemy throws at you, Mat 8:5-13; 1 Thes 5:8-9; 1 Peter 5:8-9.

In Mat 8, we see the example of the Roman centurion who came to Jesus asking Him to heal his servant. Jesus said in vs. 10, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.” And He replied to the centurion in vs. 13. “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.”

1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

And remember,

Psa 7:10, “My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart.”

Rom 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

Eph 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.”

Vs. 17

Eph 6:17, “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

In this verse we have the last two, fifth and sixth, pieces of armament from God that allow us to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil;” the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. We will begin with the “helmet of salvation.”

In the NASB translation, “helmet of salvation” is capitalized to indicate that it is a quote from the OT. In this case, it is from Isa 59:17, which also speaks about the “breastplate of righteousness,” as we have noted above.

Isa 59:17, “He (the Lord) put on righteousness like a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head; and He put on garments of vengeance for clothing and wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.”

The humanity of our Lord put on the armor of God, so that He could go to the Cross to defeat Satan, sin, and death, thereby providing salvation for the entire world. For those who believe in His saving work, they too can put on the armor of God including the knowledge of their own personal salvation through Christ and all that entails, as we will note below.

We begin with the exegesis of this verse. The first word is “and,” which is the Coordinating Adjunctive use of the Conjunction KAI that can be translated, “and, even, or also,” Here, it emphatically links the helmet and sword with the other piece of armament provided by God in the “Full Armor of God.” We translate it “also.”

Take,” is the Verb DECHOMAI, δέχομαι in the Aorist, Middle Deponent, Imperative, 2nd Person, Plural, for “you all take.” It can mean, “take, receive, accept, approve, etc.”

In vs. 11, we had “put on,” ENDUO, “dress, clothe oneself, put on,” for the full armor of God.

In vs. 13, we had, “take up,” ANALAMBANO, “take up, take on board,” for the full armor of God.

In vs. 14, we had, “put on,” ENDUO once again, for the Breastplate of Righteousness.

In vs. 16, we had, “taking up” ANALAMBANO once again, for the Shield of Faith.

In vs. 17, we have, “take” DECHOMAI a synonym of ANALAMBANO that can mean to “take or receive.” If we had a passive construction, we would translate it “receive,” but we have a Middle Deponent with an Active sense, so we translate it, “take.”

DECHOMAI is used extensively in the NT and Greek literature. It essentially means “to receive, to accept”; from that there are many shades of meaning. In our passage it means, “to take hold of or seize” the Helmet of Salvation.

The Constative Aorist tense is used to view the entirety of the action of taking the helmet of salvation and putting it on for combat inside the Angelic Conflict. Under the constative principle, we have the helmet of salvation which includes the 40+ things we receive at the moment of our salvation. We are to use them, and all that is associated with salvation, to protect our souls from the attacks of Satan’s cosmic system.

The Middle Deponent voice has an active meaning. The believer takes the helmet for himself.

The Imperative mood is for yet another command to take the armor of God. This is a command to believers only, as they, and only they, have already received salvation and only the believer can wield salvation.

This command comes after a string of Participles used regarding the first four pieces of armor that emphasized the command in vs. 13, to, “take up the whole armor of God.” Now that we are concluding the original command, the Imperative is brought back in.

The first thing the believer is commanded to take is, “the helmet,” HO PERIKEPHALAIA, περικεφαλαία, which is a Noun in the direct object Accusative case that means, “protective armor covering the head or a helmet.” It is only used here and in 1 Thes 5:8, regarding the same armament.

1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”

“Hope,” is the Greek word ELIPIS that means, “hope or expectation.” In 1 Thes 5, we have added emphasis to the helmet of salvation. We are to be confident in our salvation and have a great expectation of what is means, both in time and eternity. We will discuss this further below.

The Greek word for “helmet,” PERIKEPHALAIA, is made up from the Preposition PERI, “around or about,” and the root word KEPHALE that means, “head or authority.” So, we see a sense of authority, leadership, or rulership wrapped around the head, i.e., associated with this helmet.

As you know, the head is the most fragile and the most important part of the body. It is the place where your soul resides and you do your thinking. The head controls the entire body. The head is the leader or ruler of your body and soul, just as Jesus Christ is the head of His body, the Church, Eph 5:23.

In our verse, we see that our head needs protection. It needs a form of a helmet to protect it from the schemes of the devil. In reality, the protection for our head is Jesus Christ and His Word, summed up in the word “salvation,” as we will see below.

In the ancient world the PERIKEPHALAIA, was generally a bronze or iron cap with leather attachments, or of leather strengthened with metallic plates, 1 Sam 17:5, 38, 2 Chron 26:14, and had a long flap to cover the cheek and ears. It generally offered some protection to the neck, cheeks, and chin. On marches it was slung on a strap. But when the enemy was near it was put on. Therefore, “putting on the helmet” marked the beginning of battle. Because we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict, and the main skirmish of this warfare is the control of your soul, the head must absolutely be protected, so that sin and Satan do not control it.

The most ornamental part of ancient armor, yet hardly less important than the breastplate or the shield, was the helmet. This means that the helmet in particular, was adorned or decorated. This is analogous to adorning our souls with Bible Doctrine, the Word of God, and in particular, the Doctrine of Salvation. Without the Word of God being resident within your soul, you will be a casualty on the battle field of the Angelic Conflict. The unbeliever is already a casualty positionally, because they are without Christ and without His Word in their soul, but can be saved at any time. Likewise, the believer in reversionism or without Bible Doctrine in his soul, is easily defeated and a causality experientially, and can rebound and recover at any time.

Therefore, the helmet is used figuratively to express the idea of “protection” or “safety” in its only two occurrences in the NT, as we are in the battle of the Angelic Conflict. The helmet represents the opportunity for a certain hope, (confident expectation), with no chance of disappointment, Rom 5:5.

Rom 5:5, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

The strength of the soldier’s helmet was based on the strength of the bronze, iron, or leather it was made from. The believer’s strength of the helmet is “of salvation,” HO SOTERIOS, σωτήριος, which is and Adjective in the substantive Genitive singular that means, “delivering, saving, salvation, etc.” It was used to denote the act of “saving, delivering, or preserving,” but here, it means the salvation itself. In ancient Greek, it was use “in the sense of an acutely dynamic act in which gods or men snatch others by force from serious peril, and denotes “deliverance” from judicial condemnation.” (Theological Dictionary of the NT). In the NT, it is always used for spiritual salvation.

Its root word is the Verb SOZO that means, “save, keep safe, preserve, rescue, make well, etc.” It is used in Luke 2:30; 3:6; Acts 28:28; Titus 2:11.

The righteous man Simeon said regarding the infant Jesus in Luke 2:29-32, “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

John the Baptist, quoting Isa 40:3-5, preached in Luke 3:4-6, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘make ready the way of the lord, make his paths straight. 5every ravine will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low; the crooked will become straight, and the rough roads smooth; 6and all flesh will see the salvation of God.’”

Paul preached in Acts 28:28, “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

Paul also wrote in Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”

We have noted the cognate nouns SOTERIA, σωτηρία; SOTER, σωτῆρ; in Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23. It is used about fifty times in the NT, and refers to the estate of one who has been made whole.

Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”

Eph 2:5, “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).”

Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Eph 5:23, “For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.”

And in our passage, Paul notes that we are take this helmet of salvation and put it on to fight the evil temptations of Satan and his cosmic system, especially those that tempt you to not trust in the salvation God has given to you.

The book of Psalms uses the word “salvation” more than any other; over 60 times. Isaiah is second, with over 25 usages. The other books use it only a handful of times.

In addition, in the LXX, (Septuagint), it is used as a substantive to refer to the “peace / thank offering,” Lev 3:1-16, which the translators of the Septuagint understood it as a “salvation offering.”

In Eph 6:17, the context tells us that these saints were already “saved,” in the sense that they were justified. The salvation spoken of here must therefore be salvation from the power of sin in this present life, salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his cosmic system. To have salvation from the onslaught of Satan and his schemes, the believer must remember his salvation founded in Christ.

Satan wants to attack your mind, your thinking, the way you think, the same way he defeated Eve in the Garden, Gen 3; 2 Cor 11:1-3.

2 Cor 11:3, “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

The helmet refers to the mind controlled by God. It is too bad that many Christians have the idea that the intellect is not important, when in reality it plays a vital role in Christian growth, service, and victory. When God controls the mind, Satan cannot lead the believer astray. The Christian who studies his Bible and learns the meaning of Bible doctrines is not going to be led astray very easily.

Therefore, we need to be “taught in Him as the truth is in Jesus,” Eph 4:21. We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18. Wherever Paul ministered, he taught the new believers the truths of the Word of God, and this helmet protected them from Satan’s lies and deceptions.

What ultimately protects believers is that God has already rescued us from bondage to the prince of the power of the air and seated us with Christ in the heavenly realms, Cf. Eph 2:1-10. Thinking of our salvation in terms of a fait accompli, we gain confidence in our everyday walk in Christ. Christ, in providing salvation, has already defeated Satan, sin, and death. Then, by giving us this salvation, we have been given the victory over Satan, sin, and death. By appropriating this salvation as our helmet, we have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle, and every confidence that we can win the tactical battles within our soul. When we put on the helmet of salvation, we cannot lose the tactical battle for our thinking, we cannot sin, 1 John 3:1-11.

What adorns and protects the Christian, which enables him to hold up his head with confidence and joy, is the fact that he is saved. He is one of the redeemed, translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. If we were still under condemnation, if still estranged from God, a foreigner, and alien, without God and without Christ, we could have no courage to enter into this conflict. Yet, it is because we are a fellow citizen of the saints, a child of God, a partaker of the salvation of the Gospel, that we can face even the most potent enemies (temptations) with confidence, knowing that we will become more than a conqueror “through Him that loved us,” Rom 8:37.

As such, we are to put on the hope that we have in Christ. To resist the Devil, we must be assured of our eternal salvation. We need to go to God daily and be reminded of the great object of our faith: Christ. Our hope is in Him. If you are trusting in Him, then do not listen to the Devil’s lies. Say to the evil one, “I have been saved from sin’s penalty, I am being saved from sin’s power, and I will one day be saved from sin’s presence.” Say to him, “I am alive with Christ, redeemed, forgiven, reconciled, raised with Christ, and seated with Christ.” Put your helmet on, and do not let the evil one get to your head.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

The putting on of the helmet means trusting in your given salvation, and as a result committing yourself fully to the commencing struggle against the sinister powers which seek to prevent salvation.

The general doctrine of salvation includes the following lesser doctrines: substitution, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, conviction, calling, election, predestination, sovereignty, free will, grace, repentance, faith, regeneration, forgiveness, justification, sanctification, preservation, and glorification.

Salvation refers to the estate of one who has been made whole, which is both an active process and its resultant effect, both a verb (save) and a noun (salvation). Therefore, salvation is past, present, and future. The one who is in Christ has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved. Salvation has reference to the believer’s past, present, and future. The Biblical images we see for salvation describe what God has done, is doing, and will do on behalf of men and women who suffer from the misery, mortality, and meaninglessness of the human condition inside Satan’s cosmic system.

  • The Past Tense: When we hear the word “salvation,” this is the aspect that immediately comes to mind and sometimes is the only aspect, except maybe for the last aspect – the future tense. “Past tense” salvation is the one you received at the moment that you believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. This salvation is the release of the guilty from the penalty of sin, which was wholly accomplished for all in the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. This salvation occurs at the time when anyone believes in Jesus Christ as their Savior, Luke 7:50; 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15; 2 Tim 1:9. That Jesus accomplished salvation is a past fact: His death delivered us once and for all from the penalty and power of sin, John 19:30; Rom 5:8; Titus 3:5-7; Heb 5:9; 9:12. Justification, redemption, reconciliation, etc., are faits accomplis.
  • The Present Tense: This is the most neglected aspect of salvation in the Bible. Because most Christians think they are saved in the Past, and will be with God forever in the future, they do not think about this aspect of salvation as being very important, or they take it for granted, or they neglect it altogether.

This salvation is an ongoing and progressive present experience that differs from our past salvation or conversion at the moment we believed in Jesus Christ. Those who have died with Jesus have also been raised with Him, and so share his life and his Spirit. The believer’s walk in salvation is living the life of being saved; living the life of salvation.

Though salvation is a past fact, it must not be “neglected” in the present, Heb 2:3, but rather be “held fast,” 1 Cor 15:2, and humbly “worked out,” Phil 2:12.

Heb 2:3, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard.” 

1 Cor 15:2, “By which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”

Phil 2:12-13, “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling. 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”

That is why Christians are sometimes described in the NT as “those who are being saved,” Acts 2:47; 1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15. This means that their “past salvation” has released them from the power of sin, and salvation is being accomplished now in those who exercise faith, John 17:17; Rom 6:14; 8:2; Gal 5:16; Phil 2:12-13.

We have been freed from sin and the hold Satan had over us, from the moment we believed that Jesus was our Savior. Now, we need to walk in that freedom. Not a freedom to sin, but a freedom not to sin. Yet, our present salvation is much more than not sinning, although without that we would not be able to have a present salvation. Freedom from sinning means freedom to know and walk with God presently! It means to live by His great plan and desire for your life. To walk in our present salvation is to glorify Him, as we keep His mandates for our lives out of love for Him, as we love and serve one another, Rom 6:5-14; 1 John 2:1-6; 5:1-5, 12-13; 1 Peter 2:2.

2 Cor 2:15, “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.” 

1 John 5:12, “He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”

1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.”

The “present tense” Salvation is the message of Titus 2:11-14.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

  • The Future Tense: This is the second commonly thought about aspect of salvation; our translation to eternal glory. This future salvation releases the believer from the very presence of sin when he is translated to heaven upon his death or the Rapture of the Church, Rom 13:11; Eph 2:5-7; Phil 1:6; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 3:1-2.

Rom 13:11, “Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”

1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

The full meaning of salvation will be known to us only at the last day, when the renewing process is complete and God throws off this body of sin we are currently living in and He provides a new, eternal, resurrection body of perfection, 1 Cor 15:20-58; Phil 1:6.

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (Past) will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

Both the OT and the NT express hope for a new heaven, a new earth, and a New Jerusalem, Isa 65:17-25; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev 21:1-4. The prophets anticipate a second exodus which will bring about a greater deliverance than that from Egypt and usher in the kingdom of God, Isa 51:9-11; Hosea 2:16-23. The NT envisioned a second coming of Christ, Heb 9:28; Rev 22.

Heb 9:28, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

Therefore, salvation is also a future hope that one will be spared from the Divine wrath, 1 Thes 5:8-9; cf. Rom 5:9-10.

1 Thes 5:8-11, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.”

Rom 5:9-11, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, (Present Tense Salvation), we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Future Tense Salvation). 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, (Past Tense Salvation), we shall be saved by His life, (Future Tense Salvation). 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Present Tense Salvation), through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Present Tense Salvation).”

The eternal life associated with the kingdom of God is simultaneously present in Christ and future with regard to its glorious manifestation, John 3:16; 5:25; 11:25-26; 14:18-20; 17:24-26. The full privileges that belong to God’s adopted children, the inheritance guaranteed by one’s possession of the Holy Spirit, is “reserved in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:4-5; cf. Eph 1:13-14.

1 Peter 1:4-5, “To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

By far the most common NT use of salvation has to do with salvation from sin, Mat 1:21, “And you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” To be precise, one is saved from:

  • The penalty of sin, Luke 7:48, 50.
  • The power of sin, Rom 6:12-14.
  • The practice of sin as a way of life, 1 John 3:9-10; 5:18.

Yet, it is impossible to understand salvation apart from some notion of that from which one is saved, whether external physical threats or internal spiritual ones. In these, God saves first of all from doom and disaster, from natural and national catastrophes, and from enemies or energies. He “saves” us both in the spiritual and the physical realm. The Biblical language for salvation depicts the transition from need to fulfillment and from problem to solution.

That is why the “Helmet of Salvation” is given to us, to protect us from the problems of everyday living inside of Satan’s cosmic system. For example:

  • The psalmist asks to be saved from defeat by enemy nations, Psa 44:1-8.
  • Jesus’ disciples asked to be saved from the waves that threatened to swamp their boat, Mat 8:25.
  • One may be saved from disease and physical defects, Mark 5:28, 34, (“well” = SOZO); James 5:15, (“restore” = SOZO).
  • Many of the psalms contain “songs of deliverance” that attribute salvation to God alone, e.g., Psa 18; 30; 31; 34; 46; 91; 105; 106; 118; 136.
  • The Bible speaks about salvation from spiritual dangers: Jesus’ exorcisms are signs that he has the power to release people from demonic possession and from the dominion of Satan, Mark 3:23-27; Luke 8:36.
  • Equally important is deliverance from the wrath of God that falls upon sinners, Rom 5:9-10, and from the day of God’s judgment, Rom 2:5; 1 Thes 2:16.

Rom 5:9-10, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

The noun “salvation,” pertains to the positive effects of God’s saving action. In general, one is saved from bondage and brought to a state of well-being or blessedness. Three images in particular tend to dominate the Bible’s depiction of well-being:

1. Salvation is a liberation, freedom from bondage.

  • The God of Israel is a Savior God, because He is a God who delivers, Ex 20:2.
  • Jesus was sent “to set free those who are oppressed,” Luke 4:18.
  • Paul states that “for freedom Christ has set us free,” Gal 5:1, and explains that Christians have been liberated from the requirements of the law in order to be free to love and to serve, Gal 5:13-14.

Gal 5:1, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” 

Gal 5:13-14, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”

2. The blessedness of salvation is depicted in terms of health, wholeness, and soundness. Mark 2:17, describes Jesus as a “physician.” Jesus’ ministry was to make people well. In His ministry, the physical and spiritual aspects of healing miracles are linked together: When Jesus heals, there are transforming physical and spiritual effects. Jesus’ healings are signs both of His saving power and of the nature of salvation.

3. The third image of the well-being that defines salvation, peace, or shalom is found primarily in prophetic literature. The community of the saved is pictured by the prophets as living in a peaceful and just society in which people will live together in peace and harmony and “nation shall not lift up sword against nation,” Isa 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Zech 2:6-12.

The Story of Salvation:

The Bible is essentially the story of the one creature to bear God’s image (human being), with sin as the basic complication, Christ as the central character and salvation as the unifying plot. The Bible tells of an initial condition which is disturbed (the Fall), of the consequences of this complication (sin, death), of what is done to overcome these conflicts (the Cross) and of the resolution of the problem (resurrection and Pentecost), a conclusion that improves upon the original situation.

It is a mystery story, for it was not clear, before Christ, just how God could save the ungodly, Mark 4:11; Eph 1:9. The logic and scope of salvation develop as the story progresses. The first hint of salvation follows the account of the Fall, when God says to the serpent, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel,” Gen 3:15, though neither the identity of the Savior nor the means for reversing the Fall becomes clear until the NT. Nevertheless, “bruise his heel” already alludes to the cost of salvation, to the Cross of salvation and to the Christ of salvation.

Next, it concerns God’s dealings with the children of Abraham (that is, Israel), in the middle the focus turns to Jesus and His followers, and toward the end, the story embraces the Gentiles and the whole created order. The Biblical story pictures not only the act and effect of salvation, but its culmination as well, namely, the wedding celebration of the Lamb of God and His bride, the Church, Rev 19:6-9.

Between the beginning and the end of the story, the plot unfolds in the history of Israel and culminates in the passion of Jesus Christ, when salvation is accomplished once for all, and in the life of the Church, where salvation is celebrated and proclaimed. The Bible ends with Edenic imagery, the tree of life, and with the Savior’s promise to complete the saving work He has already accomplished: “Yes, I am coming quickly,” Rev 22:20.

The story of salvation has two main parts. The first recounts Israel’s history: The saving act, (exodus), and the resultant effect, (life in the Promised Land). The OT recounts a story of deliverance from captivity and oppression that culminates in Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea. The second part describes a new exodus, Jesus’ death or “exodus” from this life, Luke 9:31, and its effect, (life in the promised Spirit). The NT tells the story of how a new deliverance, a release from the bondage of sin, was made possible by Christ’s departure from this life, Rom 6:9; Eph 1:7; Col 1:20, and by the “red sea” of blood that flowed from His Cross. Christ’s life, poured out on the Cross, is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” Rom 1:16.

For this, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper in the partaking of the bread and wine, in remembrance and thanksgiving of Him and His efficacious work in death, resurrection, and ascension, 1 Cor 11:23-26.

Next, we note that there are about 115 passages that condition salvation on “believing” alone, and around 35 on “faith.” Unfortunately, man has added certain things to this one and only condition, for example; believe and repent, believe and be baptized, believe and confess sin, believe and confess Christ publicly, believe and promise a better manner of life, believe and pray for salvation, believer and do good works, etc.

“Faith,” as you know, is a non-meritorious act on the part of the believer. Faith is the only system of perception which is totally devoid of any human merit. Only the object has merit, and in salvation the object of faith is our Lord Jesus Christ. How much faith does it take to be saved? Just a little bit more than no faith at all.

The salvation work of Christ on the Cross excludes anything being added to faith. No works of any kind are allowed. Salvation is by grace through faith, “not as a result of works, so that no one may boast,” Eph 2:9. Two OT passages indicate that “salvation belongs to and is from the LORD,” Psa 3:8; Jonah 2:9. Any system which tends to combine human responsibility with this Divine undertaking is wrong. Eph 2:8-10 relates good works to salvation produced by grace as an effect thereof, and not a cause.

Grace is all that God is free to do for unsaved mankind on the basis of the saving work of Christ on the Cross. Grace is extended to all members of the human race as unbelievers, living under spiritual death in total depravity and total helplessness regarding past salvation. Therefore, as a matter of grace, past salvation is entirely the work of God. If past salvation is totally the grace and work of God, then so is present and future salvation. As such, our salvation, in all its Biblical forms, is directly related to the work of all three members of the Trinity:

  • It is the work of the Father in His plan of salvation, who sent the Son to carry it out. The plan of salvation reflects the purpose of the will of God the Father, who has sent the Son to carry it out, Eph 1:3-10, and His judging our sins, past, present, and future.
  • It is the work of the Son in being judged for our sins, past, present, and future.
  • It is the work of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace, past, present, and future.

This is why the way of salvation is faith in Jesus Christ, and faith alone with no works added to it. Works will be the result of our faith and salvation, but salvation is never the result of works.

In so providing salvation by grace, mankind can have salvation from sin, salvation or deliverance out of the world, salvation from the flesh, and salvation in relation to heaven. And because of Satan’s opposition to salvation, we have been provided the “Helmet of Salvation,” to stand firm against his opposition.

There is no salvation offered under grace which stops short of being eternal in its character. This is due to the fact that it proves to be altogether a work of God, and His purpose and power never fail, Phil 1:6.

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began (Past) a good work in you will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

  • We are eternally secure because of our past salvation, Heb 5:9; 2 Tim 2:10; Eph 1:13; cf. 4:30.
  • We will be eternally rewarded because of our present salvation, 1 Cor 3:10-15; Rev 2-3.
  • We will be eternally blessed with an inheritance at our future salvation, Heb 9:15.

Another important image of well-being or blessedness related to our salvation is unique to the NT; our union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Here one might speak of “salvation in,” for there are several images and many passages that picture salvation as a matter of being related to the Savior, as the believer is “in union” with Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature.”

Jesus is the cornerstone and foundation Eph 2:21-22, “In whom the whole structure is joined together … in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Cf. 1 Peter 2:4-5.

Col 2:7, “Having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”

Not only are the saved in Christ, but Christ is also in those who are saved, Gal 2:20. Cf. John 14:20; Eph 3:17; 1 John 4:16.

Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

The Meaning of Salvation

The benefits of your union with Christ are described in various ways. We can group the Bible’s many images into three distinct categories: new situation, new self, new steps. As we have seen and will see below, salvation in the Bible is a three-dimensional phenomenon, (Past, Present, Future; New Situation, New Self, New Steps; involving God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In this section we are going to note the categories of new situation, new self, and new steps.

New Situation: – Salvation as objective change.

To be saved means that your legal status has changed, that you have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of your union with Jesus Christ. Four leading images depict the new situation brought about by God’s saving work.

1. The first is the image of “redemption,” that reminds us of the marketplace, the place where things are bought and sold. The first time “redemption” is used in the Bible is found in Ex 21:30. In that usage, someone who owned an ox that gored another was liable to be put to death for manslaughter. Yet, if a “ransom” was paid, that individual’s life would be spared, “given back to him.” The word for “redemption” here is PIDHYON, פִּדְיֹן‎ that means “redemption or ransom money.” Redemption signifies a transaction where some item is exchanged for payment. Its root PADHAH means to “redeem, ransom, or deliver.” It is only used here and in Psa 49:8, where the psalmist laments that the price of redemption of life, to escape death, is more than a mortal can pay.

Psa 49:8, “For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.”

The Lord, YHWH, was understood to be Israel’s redeemer, Deut 13:5; Isa 49:26.

Deut 13:5, “… the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery…”

Isa 49:26, “… And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Jesus also used the imagery of redemption to explain the nature of His ministry and death, Mark 10:45.

Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Luke uses the term redemption as a general term for salvation, Luke 1:68; 2:38; 21:28; 24:21.

Luke 1:68, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people.”

Paul used the imagery of redemption in, Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Col 1:14; Gal 4:5, and declares that the price of our redemption was the blood of Jesus Christ, representing the Divine life that is now in us, Eph 1:7; cf. Heb 9:12-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

Eph 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

And, we are reminded in 1 Cor 6:20, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

Therefore, our “New Situation,” tells us that we have been redeemed from the slave market of sin, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, so that now we have a new life “In Christ.”

2. The second imagery is that of “justification,” an image drawn from the court of law. To be justified is to be declared innocent by the presiding judge. As Isaiah states in Isa 43:25, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”

Here too, to be saved is to enter into a new situation, namely, the state of being acquitted that follows the legal verdict of “not guilty.” Paul makes it clear that sinners are declared righteous not on the basis of their own merits or achievements, (works), but rather on the basis of their standing “in Christ,” Rom 8:1; cf. Rom 3:21-31; Gal 3:11; Eph 2:8-9.

Rom 8:1, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Rom 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”

Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Only used in the NT in Rom 4:25; 5:18, “justification,” DIKAIOSIS, δικαίωσις that means, “acquittal or justification,” like redemption, depends on the completed work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, Rom 4:25, “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

Rom 5:7-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Rom 5:16, “The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.”

Rom 5:18, “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” 

1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 

Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Therefore, the “New Situation” denoted by justification is that sinners who are “In Christ” have been formally pardoned from the guilt of sin and now live a new life in Christ.

3. The third image is that of “adoption,” HUIOTHESIA, υἱοθεσία from HUIOS, “son” and TITHEMI, “to “place,” it means, “to place a son” or incorporation into the family. In the believer’s case, it is placement or incorporation into the Royal Family of God. Therefore, to teach the Church Age believer about His position “In Christ,” Paul draws an analogy to the custom of “adoption” practiced by the Roman aristocracy.

Roman adoption officially designated someone as an heir, whether or not that person was related by blood. The Caesars usually adopted successors who were not their sons. Often, however a father would adopt his own son, granting him the full privileges and responsibilities of the family name.

The ceremony of adoption also marked the boy’s transition into adulthood, traditionally at age fourteen. Paul depicts Israel as an immature son in Gal 3:23, and the Church as an adult son and heir in Gal 3:25-26. At a dramatic moment in the Roman ceremony of adoption, the new heir is clothed with the magnificent “toga virilis,” the garment of manhood, Gal 3:27.

Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

Christians wear the spiritual equivalent of the “toga virilis” from the moment of salvation, when the Baptism of the Spirit occurs, Eph 1:13.

The significance of our adoption into the family of God is that the Church Age believer has been removed from the cosmic system as a child of the devil, and has been placed as an adult son into the Royal Family of God, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head, Col 1:13-14. Adoption means that the Church Age believer is spiritual aristocracy now and is intimately related to all three members of the Trinity.

Col 1:13-14, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Through the merits of Christ, Church Age believers are adopted as adult sons of God and joint heirs with Christ at the first instant of faith in Him, Rom 8:15-17; Eph 1:5.

Eph 1:5, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”

Although a spiritual infant in experience, every Church Age believer is a spiritual adult in position. He is granted the full privileges and responsibilities of an adult son of God because he is in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 8:23; 9:4; Gal 4:5-7; Eph 1:5; cf. Ex 4:22; Isa 1:2; 56:5; Hosea 1:10; 11:1.

Gal 4:5-6, “So that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””

The process of adoption is linked to the work of the Holy Spirit, whom Paul calls the “Spirit of adoption.” The body of the saved are members of God’s kingdom and God’s family alike. The believer is not a child of God by nature; the image of adoption emphasizes the graciousness of salvation. Adoption pictures union with Christ in terms of enjoying all the privileges that come with one’s status as a legal child of God, as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ,” Rom 8:15-17; cf. Eph 1:13-14; James 2:5.

Eph 1:13-14, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

Gal 4:7, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Sonship / adoption thus relates to the present and also to the future consummation of adoption and the inheritance of eternal life. At the resurrection of the Church, also called the Rapture of the Church, the believer will obtain the full manifestation of his sonship, called the “redemption of the body,” Rom 8:23; 1 Thes 4:14-17; Eph 1:14; Phil 3:20-21; 1 John 3:2.

Therefore, our “New Situation” speaks of our adoption into the family of God, as sons and daughters, because of our union with God the Son, Jesus Christ, with all of its privileges and blessings of an eternal inheritance.

4. Finally, Paul depicts the “New Situation” of the saved with an image drawn from the domain of personal relationships, “reconciliation.” The doctrine of Reconciliation first speaks to the removal of the barrier between God and mankind that kept us from having a personal relationship with God. Yet, through the salvation work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, that barrier called sin was removed, providing peace between God and man, and giving man the opportunity to enter into a personal relationship with God.

“Reconciliation,” is the Greek noun KATALLAGE, καταλλαγή, that also means “restoration to favor,” which is a picture that assumes a previous estrangement that has been overcome or healed. In ancient Greek it meant, “the restoration of the original understanding between people after hostility or displeasure.”  This original understanding is the state in which God created man that was interrupted by sin in the Garden of Eden.

The root word KATALLAGE denotes action initiated and completed by God in restoring man to right relationship with Him through Christ. Redeemed man is the recipient of God’s reconciliation, Rom 5:11; 11:15; 2 Cor 5:19.

Likewise, the Greek verb KATALLASSO means, “to change someone from a state of hostility into a state of tranquility and peace, from enmity to reconciliation.”

All people are by nature enemies of God because of sin, Rom 5:10; Col 1:21.

Rom 5:10, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved (delivered) by His life.”

Col 1:21-22, “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

God is similarly alienated from human beings because of his righteous anger, Rom 1:18. Yet, it was the death of Jesus Christ that overcame sin and averts the Divine wrath, 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 2:16.

2 Cor 5:19, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Eph 2:16, “And might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

“The reconciled” is the expression of the transformation of the relationship of enmity between God and man, which has been brought about by the new Adam, Jesus Christ, cf. Rom 5:12ff. Through personal faith in Jesus Christ, the barriers between man and God are removed and we are entered into right relationship with God and Jesus Christ, Rom 5:8-11; 2 Cor 5:17-19.

Rom 5:8-11, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

2 Cor 5:17-19, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”

Peace is a synonym for reconciliation, since being reconciled to God through faith in Christ establishes peace between God and the believer. Peace is not only a synonym for reconciliation, but is the only way to completely understand what God did for us and that there was nothing we could do for salvation. Peace means that we have His righteousness and His life, Col 1:19‑22.

“The revealed truth of the Bible is not that Jesus Christ took on Himself our fleshly sins, but that He took on Himself the heredity of sin that no man can even touch. God made His own Son “to be sin” that He might make the sinner into a saint. It is revealed throughout the Bible that our Lord took on Himself the sin of the world through identification with us, not through sympathy for us. He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in His own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us …” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be. And now anyone can experience that reconciliation, being brought into oneness with God, on the basis of what our Lord has done on the cross. (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.) 

Our Lord commands us to also have a heart of reconciliation towards our fellow man in the image of our reconciliation to Him, Mat 5:24, “First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

Thanks to this reconciling work, one who is “In Christ,” enjoys restored relations with God and, like Abraham, may be called, “the friend of God,” James 2:23.

New Self: – Salvation as inner change.

Next, we have the “New Self.” This means that to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15.

2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

This means that we have a new subjective condition, a new self, to go along with new objective status of our new situation, noted above. It means that because of our new situation being “In Christ,” we are to live for Christ.

One of the most striking images of this inner transformation is Jesus’ metaphor of rebirth, being “born again,” John 3:3-7; cf. 1 Peter 1:23.

1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

The need for this inner renewal was perceived by the psalmist in Psa 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

As a macrocosm to the spiritual life of the Church Age believers, the prophets foresaw a time of national renewal and spiritual cleansing for Israel, Ezek 36:25-28, when God would make a new covenant by writing His law on people’s hearts, Jer 31:31; Heb 10:16.

Ezek 36:25-27, “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”

Paul exhorts all believers to walk in the newness of this rebirth we have received, as Jesus’ resurrection is a sign that the new life has already begun. Because believers share in Christ’s resurrection, Paul can refer to the “new man,” which is the reborn spiritual nature inside of the believer that provides for his personal relationship and walk with Jesus Christ, Rom 6:4; 8:1; Eph 2:10, Col 2:6.

Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

John also exhorts the believer to walk in the newness of life, 1 John 1:7.

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 

God calls upon men and women who are “In Christ” to put off their old natures and be renewed in the spirit of their minds, Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10.

Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”  

Eph 4:22-24, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Col 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

The “New Self” designates a new power and a new orientation to life, which is described as a renewal of God’s image in humanity, defined by Christ. To be born anew means, to join in the new humanity of the Second Adam, to be made more Christ-like through the renewal of one’s inner nature by the Holy Spirit, John 1:13; Titus 3:5.

Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.”

Therefore, as part of our salvation past, present, and future, being “In Christ,” having been made a new creation, a new spiritual species, we are to walk in that new nature consistently, allowing God’s transforming work to occur within our souls through the intake and application of Bible Doctrine through the power and filling of God the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4:23-24, “And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” 

New Steps: – Salvation as behavioral change.

The company of the saved, as a result of their union with Christ, rebirth, and gift of Christ’s Spirit are expected to live differently.

Not only the natures but the actions and interpersonal relations of the saved are transformed, Gal 5:22-25. 1 John also provides special emphasis on the moral and spiritual implications of our rebirth.

Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

James’ epistle demonstrates that as a result of salvation by faith, a new way of life should emerge that is filled with Divine Good Production, good works, which are the evidence of faith, James 2:24f. Therefore, salvation received in faith is expressed in good works performed in faith, rendering that believer a “vessel of honor,” 2 Tim 2:21-22.

Christ gave himself for the Church not only to change our legal standing before God, but also “that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word … that she would be holy and without blemish,” Eph 5:25-27; cf. Col 1:22; Heb 9:14.

Col 1:22, “Yet, He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”

Heb 9:14, “How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The body of the saved give evidence of their new natures by walking according to the Spirit, and in particular by the quality of their love for one another, 1 John 4:7.

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

Therefore, the meaning of Salvation to the believer is that they have a “New Situation,” an objective change to their legal status before God. What signifies this new status is that they have been redeemed, justified, adopted, and reconciled by God through the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross and the resultant ministry of the Holy Spirit. With that, believers have a “New Self,” an inner change that means to be “In Christ” is to undergo inward renewal. This is first accomplished by the regeneration of your human spirit at the moment of your conversion, and then the continued renewal of your mind by the intake and application of God’s Word through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. That then leads to the “New Steps,” or behavioral change we are to undergo as a result of our salvation with the result of producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit. Believers are expected to live differently in this world because of the Christ-like nature that is developed within. This is the demonstration of our salvation to God and to a lost and dying world.

Summary.

Taken together, the biblical imagery for salvation makes up a three-dimensional description: Salvation is an objectively new situation, a new self, and a new way of life that is past fact, present experience, and future hope, and partakes of the economy of the gift of God’s own triune life; Father, Son, and Spirit, to those who do not deserve it. To be among the body of the saved is to be united with Him who is, “the way, the truth, and the life,” John 14:6. It is to enjoy a New Situation, (the truth of our life in Christ), a New Self, (the life of the Spirit of Christ in us), and a New Way of life, (the way of righteousness defined by Christ). With all this said, the Bible’s controlling image of salvation is neither of a process nor of a promise, but of a person, Psa 27:1a, “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” 2 Cor 9:15, “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”

Sword of the Spirit

Sword of the Spirit

Finally, in vs. 17, we have, “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

“The order of this verse, with the helmet being received before the sword, makes good sense, because the soldier who is being depicted already grasps the shield with his left hand. If he had taken the sword first, there would be no hand free to receive and put on the helmet.” (Word Biblical Commentary.)

This section begins with the Adjunctive Conjunction KAI, “and,” to link the “sword of the Spirit” with “helmet of salvation,” and the entire “armor of God.” It also repeats the “take” command in the Middle Deponent voice, from the beginning of this verse.

The Sword” is HO MACHAIRA. It is the Accusative, Singular, Direct Object MACHAIRA, μάχαιρα that means, “a small sword or large knife.” It is different than the RHOMPHAIA, which was a large broad sword, used in Luke 2:35; Rev 1:16; 2:12, 16; 6:8; 19:15, 21.

The word MACHAIRA is used about 30 times in the NT. It is related to MACHE that means, “a fight,” and MACHOMAI, “to fight.” It is where we get the English word “machete” from. It was originally used in ancient Greek for a large knife used for sacrificing animals, as well as cutting up meat, the occupational purposes of tanning, and even gardening. Later, it came to denote a weapon, particularly a small sword or dagger.

Its use in the NT always denotes a sword either literally or figuratively, with the exception of Heb 4:12, when used for the Priest’s butchering knife. The word “sword” is first used in the Bible in Gen 3:24, when God stationed a cherubim angel outside of the Garden of Eden with a flaming sword, so that Adam and Eve could not renter the Garden. The purpose was to separate sinful man from the Tree of Life, so that sin would not reign forever. The first mention of “sword” in the NT is in Mat 10:34, when our Lord proclaimed, He “did not come to bring peace on the earth, but a sword.” He came to bring salvation through the Gospel of Peace that would separate believing man from unbelieving man. Therefore, the imagery of the “sword” is that of separation, the separation of righteousness from Sin.

In its figurative use, it denotes power and authority of governing officials. It is used for the sword of justice in relation to the executioner in Acts 12:2; Rom 8:35; Heb 11:34, 37, and bearing the sword, meant one had authority and power to bring justice, Rom 13:4, hence, equivalent to having the power of life and death. That reminds us of the power and authority the Word of God provides us over Satan and his governing authorities of this world. Cf. Eph 6:11-12.

In Mat 10:34, Jesus came to bring a sword that divides the believer from the unbeliever.

Mat 10:34, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The sword was the basic weapon of the ancient world for close combat. The Roman sword was the greatest of all weapons and it had a number of important aspects that made it extremely effective. First, it was a short lightweight sword, only 18 to 24 inches long. This was in contrast to the four, five, and even six-foot swords used by the barbarians. It could be swung easily and quickly, quicker than the longer swords used by other militaries. It had two sides, both edges were very sharp, as well as having a very sharp point. It also had a good hand guard so that the hand did not slip off. All of these can be used to draw various analogies to wielding the Word of God in the spiritual warfare we are a part of.

In this imagery, we also see that it represents hand to hand combat. As the shield could ward off long range fire, as well as close hand to hand combat, the sword was only used when up close and personal. This tells us of the intimacy of temptations in our soul from within and without. Because of this intimacy, we need an effective weapon to fight with to be victorious. This sword is that weapon.

Next, we have, “of the Spirit.” It is the Ablative Genitive of Source for HO PNEUMA πνεῦμ. It means, God the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. We could translate this, “the Sword from the Spirit.” “Of the Spirit,” cannot be the Genitive of Apposition. The Spirit is not the sword; this would be inconsistent, as the sword is something which the soldier wields, but the Christian cannot control the Spirit. Instead, the Spirit is the one who empowers and enables the believer to function in the spiritual life and He is the one who helps us wield this sword. It is God the Holy Spirit that makes the sword powerful and effective. The Spirit gives the sword its power and penetration, cf. 2 Cor 10:4; 1 Thes 1:5; 2 Peter 1:21.

2 Cor 10:4, “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

2 Peter 1:21, “For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”

Then we have, “which is the Word of God,” HOS EIMI RHEMA THEOS.

Which,” is the Relative Pronoun of HOS that refers back to the “sword of the Spirit,” and sets up its definition that follows.

Is,” is the verb EIMI, εἰμί in the Present, Active, Indicative that means, “to be, exist, live, am, etc.” It is describing the relationship between the “sword” we are to wield by means of the Holy Spirit and the “word of God.” Here it is used as a copula to unite the “sword” with “the Word of God.” The Stative Present indicates the fact that Bible doctrine perpetually exists. The Active Voice: The sword from the Spirit produces the action of the verb, and the “sword” of the Spirit is the “Word of God.” The Indicative Mood is declarative for a dogmatic statement of fact.

The phrase, “The Word of God,” uses the Genitive of Source of RHEMA rather than LOGOS here. RHEMA, ῥῆμα means, “a thing spoken, word, saying, a speech, discourse, etc.” It is used 70 times in the NT and many times its meaning overlaps with LOGOS. It typically means a single text or passage when referring to the Bible, but here, tied with THEOS, it includes the entire Word of God, not just a single text or passage as it normally would. It is what God has spoken, His Word, the Bible. This is what is sharper than any double-edged sword, Heb 4:12. It is the wisdom of God and the power of God found in His Word.

Therefore, “The sword is not the πνεῦμα but the Word of God, characterized as the sword that proceeds from the Spirit and is given by Him.” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament.)

Its emphasis here, and in other passages, is on the recall or application of individual texts from the full directory of the entire Bible that we can use when facing the various temptations from our own OSN, or from Satan and his cosmic system, as Jesus did, Mat 4:4; cf. Deut 8:3.

Mat 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word (RHEMA) that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”

Satan tempted Jesus 3 times in Mat 4:1-13. Each time Jesus used the Word of God to refute him. In that scene we also see that Satan can also quote the Word: “For it is written,” Luke 4:10, but he does not quote it completely. Satan tries to use the Word of God to confuse us, so it is important that we know every word that God has given us.

Someone once said, “You can prove anything by the Bible.” That is true, if you take verses out of context, leave out words, and apply verses that do not really apply. Therefore, the better you know the Word of God, the easier it will be for you to detect Satan’s lies and reject his offers.

Therefore, “the Word of God,” means the doctrines, promises, principles, and precepts of God revealed and taught in the Bible, John 3:34; 8:47; 17:8; Acts 10:37; Rom 10:17; Eph 5:26; 6:17; 1 Peter 1:25.

RHEMA was also used in Eph 5:26, speaking to the cleansing effect the Word of God, especially the Gospel of Jesus Christ, has over the soul.

Eph 5:26, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”

Because of this verse, many commentators believe “the Word of God” in our passage only refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But in true context, it is referring to the entire Bible. Everything spoken by God through His prophets and Jesus Christ.

Therefore, as these passages about the armor of God are speaking to the believer post-salvation, we are experientially cleansed from sin and future temptation by the Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit. In our verse, and Heb 4:12, “sword” is used with the “Word of God” that divides. In Hebrews, its function is to discern the heart, to lay open the secret human intentions and thoughts so that evil can be rooted out. In our verse, it is used similarly to root out and even stop from penetrating the temptations of Satan and his cosmic system that can easily defeat our spiritual walk, through the application of the doctrinal principles and precepts found in the Bible.

No soldier would consider himself to be well armed for battle or prepared to face the enemy, if he did not have a sword, because he knows he will be defeated. Likewise, without the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, we will not be able to face the enemy and defeat him. In fact, all the other pieces of the armor depend on the Word of God. For example, how can you have the “Shield of Faith” when you do not know the Word of God? Or how will you guard your heart, mind, and soul with the “Helmet of Salvation,” if you do not know the Word of God. When the enemy attacks your mind, you need the Word of God to defeat him.

The sword given and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be wielded by the Christian is typically thought of as an offensive weapon. Yet, the other pieces of armament are defensive, (helmet, breastplate, shield, girdle, and shoes). That is to say, the main part of our warfare consists in defense, in resistance, and in keeping with what we have, in spite of everybody, men and devils alike, who attempt to take it from us. That is why we are exhorted in Rev 3:11, “…. hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”

Nevertheless, the sword, as you know, is also used defensively to protect you from the thrust of the enemy. Just like in ancient times, the sword was the main weapon of warfare; similarly, the Word of God is the primary weapon we are to use to defend and attack the enemy. Therefore, it has a dual effect, to block the attack of the enemy and to thrust a killing blow at him.

As the Roman MACHAIRA was a double-edged sword, we see the dual nature, both offensive and defensive, of the Sword of the Spirit, which in actuality is the Word of God resident within your soul, cf. Heb 4:12; Rev 1:16; 2:12.

Rev 1:16, “In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.”

Psa 149:6, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”

The Word of God protects you from the penetrating temptations of Satan’s cosmic system, including your Old Sin Nature, and works to defeat them from continuing their relentless attacks. Therefore, the Word of God serves both for attack and to parry the thrusts of the enemy. Christ used it as such in His temptations with the result of defeating Satan, Mat 4:11.

Mat 4:11 “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

Satan cannot withstand the Sword of the Spirt when it is edged and wielded by faith. As such, the faith that Jesus showed in Mat 4:4, was confirmed, and the Biblical principle of the effect of the Sword of the Spirit, i.e., the Word of God, is: Whenever the devil is resisted, he must yield, James 4:7.

James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

To submit is to place or arrange yourself under, as a good soldier places himself under an officer of higher rank. It is a voluntary act of humility to submit to God via the intake and application of His Word. As we noted above, when Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He provided an example of how believers can triumph. He resisted Satan with Scripture, cf. Luke 4:4, 8, 12.

“That word, lodged in our hearts, brings to us a revelation of duty and a chart of life, because it brings a loving recognition of the character of our Father, and a glad obedience to His will. If that word dwell in us richly, in all wisdom, and if we do not dull the edge of the sword by our own unworthy handling of it, we shall find it pierce to the ‘dividing asunder of joints and marrow,’ and the evil within us will either be cast out from us, or will shrivel itself up, and bury itself deep in dark corners.” (Expositions of Holy Scripture.)

In this imagery, we also note that a soldier would spend many years learning to use the sword effectively both offensively and defensively, as it had a double-edged blade and was designed for close-quarter, one and one fighting. For us to defeat the enemy in spiritual warfare, we must study the Word of God diligently; daily in fact, as the Berean’s did, Acts 17:10-11.

The Christian needs only spiritual weapons. The spiritual Sword with which he can defend himself is the Word of God empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit. Interestingly, our English word for sword is “word” plus an “S,” because it is the Spirit who gives us the Word, empowers and enables it, giving it its sharpness and duality. As such, it is the “SWord” with which the Spirit subdues the impulses to sin and proves its own power and efficacy. It is the Sword of the Spirit, because the Spirit of God gives it and inspires it.

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” subdues and mortifies evil desires and blasphemous thoughts as they rise within; and answers unbelief and error as they assault from without. A single text, well understood, and rightly applied, at once destroys a temptation or an objection, and subdues the most formidable adversary.” (Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary.)

In addition, the Spirit’s aid is needed for its interpretation.

John 3:34, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.”

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

“A material sword pierces the body, but the Word of God pierces the heart. The more you use a physical sword, the duller it becomes; but using God’s Word only makes it sharper in our lives. A physical sword requires the hand of a soldier, but the sword of the Spirit has its own power, for it is “living and powerful” (Heb. 4:12). A physical sword wounds to hurt and kill, while the sword of the Spirit wounds to heal and give life. But when we use the sword against Satan, we are out to deal him a blow that will cripple him and keep him from hindering God’s work. The Spirit wrote the Word, and the Spirit wields the Word as we take it by faith and use it.” (Bible Exposition Commentary.)

With Bible doctrine in the soul, you are never off-balance and you are consistently putting pressure on Satan. The believer takes the offensive by daily positive volition toward Bible doctrine. The defensive side deflects the thrusts of temptation, while the offensive side defeats the attacker. The best thing the defensive side can do is avoid defeat, and the best thing the offensive side can do is win the tactical victory. The Royal Family was not designed for defeat but for victory.

1 John 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

“It is not without reason that the most necessary instruments of warfare, a sword and a shield, are compared to faith, and to the Word of God. In the spiritual combat, these two hold the highest rank. By faith we repel all the attacks of the devil, and by the Word of God the enemy himself is slain. If the Word of God shall have its efficacy upon us through faith, we shall be more than sufficiently armed both for opposing the enemy and for putting him to flight.” (Calvin’s Commentaries).

For us to come out victorious against the enemy, we must put on the whole armor of God. We cannot afford to let any piece of the armor of God be missing as that’s the area the enemy will attack us. God has given us what we need to defeat the enemy. Therefore, if we are defeated by the enemy, it is not because God has not given you the armor to stand and to fight.

“I always enjoy visiting places that have old weapons, especially swords. Sometimes you can see the really big swords in the museums. Some of them weigh more than I do. What many think, as they hold or look on these massive swords, is that they are interesting but practically useless for modern warfare. No one would recommend them to be issued to troops today. How similar this is to their opinion of the Bible. Many people admire the Bible and may put the Bible on display in their homes somewhere (normally a huge Bible), but some of these same people never use the Bible. Why? They deem it like an ancient sword, useless for modern warfare.

This should not surprise us. In the garden the evil one raised doubt and suspicion about God’s word. But do not be deceived. You can trust God’s Word. You need God’s Word. Do not go into battle without a sword. Read it. Meditate on it. Pray it. Proclaim it.” (Christ-Centered Exposition.)

Summary and Conclusion to The Full Armor of God.

Armor of God Doctrine Page Title Pic

Belt of Truth Pic 1In vs. 14, we were first told, once again, to “stand firm,” which means to hold our ground against the assaults of the enemy, Satan and his cosmic system.

Then we were exhorted to “bind around our loins the truth.”

This truth, ALETHEIA, is speaking to both the person of God, the attribute of veracity of all three members of the Trinity, and secondly, His Word, Bible Doctrine. We are exhorted to know God by means of knowing His Word. When we know His Word, we know Him, and have tremendous power and resources to stand firm against the evil one.

John 18:37, “Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice’.”

John 1:17, “For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.” 

Jesus Christ is, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” for salvation because, “no one comes to the Father but through Me,” John 14:6.

John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

Isa 65:16, “Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth.”

Psa 85:10-11, “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”

Psa 25:5, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”

Psa 86:11, “Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.”

Breastplate of Righteousness Pic 2Next, we were exhorted to “put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

There we noted that:

  1. God is righteous.
  2. He imputed His righteousness to us at the moment of our conversion, being born again.
  3. His word is righteous.
  4. We are to walk in righteousness by applying His word to our lives.
  5. We are blessed by God’s righteousness through His grace pipeline because of the imputed righteousness in us, especially when we walk in His righteousness.

2 Cor 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 

1 Cor 1:30, “But by His (God the Father’s) doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom (truth) from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.”

Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

Phil 3:9, “That I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” 

Mat 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace Pic 3Then we noted in vs. 15, that we are to “shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”

“Feet” speaks to our daily walk in Christ; in His righteousness and truth. The key word there was “preparation,” HETOIMASIA that means, “readiness, preparation, or equipment.” In other words, we are to be continually prepared and ready to witness the gospel of peace through our words and our lives, our Christian conduct.

1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”

Psa 119:1, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD.”

Psa 119:101-104, “I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. 102I have not turned aside from Your ordinances, for You Yourself have taught me. 103How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way.”

Psa 119:105-106, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. 106I have sworn and I will confirm it, that I will keep Your righteous ordinances.”

Heb 12:13, “And make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.” 

Isa 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” cf. Rom 10:15.

Shield of Faith Pic 4Moving to vs. 16, we were exhorted to “take up the shield of faith.”

This also was the first piece of armament that was given a purpose, “to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.

The Book of Ephesians has much to say about faith, including:

Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.” 

Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”

Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”

Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” 

Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” 

Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Therefore, those who have faith in the Lord are commended:

  • We are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, (i.e., our entrance into the spiritual life by faith).
  • Faith in Christ gives us boldness and confident access to the Father, (i.e., our prayer life of faith).
  • Christ is at home in the heart of faith, (i.e., our walk in faith).
  • We have One Faith, (i.e., positional unity in the Body of Christ).
  • We are to attain a unity of faith with the brethren, (i.e., experiential unity in the body of Christ).
  • We are protected by the shield of faith, (i.e., the guardianship that is faith).
  • God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and Paul desire us to have faith, (i.e., their hope of faith for us).

Rom 1:17, “For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’. 

Heb 10:38, “But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 

Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

2 Cor 5:6-8a, “Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord –7for we walk by faith, not by sight.

1 Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

The shield of faith is necessary to halt the destructive temptations, “flaming missiles/arrows,” of Satan from penetrating the soul. The Roman soldier’s shield used in analogy here, was a very large shield. Faith is a very large and important aspect of protection for the spiritual life.

Then we noted in the first half of vs. 17, “take the helmet of salvation.”

This helmet is given to protect our head, the place where we do our thinking. It is designed to protect our thoughts, heart, mind, and soul. When we understand our salvation, we have this protection experientially in time. This knowledge of salvation includes our Past Salvation, the day of our conversion; our Present Salvation, our daily deliverance from sin and evil; and our Future Salvation, the eternal inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Equipped with this knowledge and assurance, we are able to defend against the temptations of evil thoughts and practices, and remain walking in the righteousness of God.

Titus 2:11-14, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14who gave Himself for us, in order that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Phil 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you (Past) will perfect it (Present) until the day of Christ Jesus (Future).”

Heb 9:28, “So Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”

1 Thes 5:8-11, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” 

Rom 5:9-11, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, (Present Tense Salvation), we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him, (Future Tense Salvation). 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, (Past Tense Salvation), we shall be saved by His life, (Future Tense Salvation). 11And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Present Tense Salvation), through whom we have now received the reconciliation, (Present Tense Salvation).”

In this we learned of our:

  • New Situation; our legal status has changed. We have acquired new rights and responsibilities as a result of our union with Jesus Christ because of our Redemption, Justification, Adoption, and Reconciliation.
  • New Self; to be “In Christ,” undergoing inward renewal, 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15, to live for Christ, designated by a new power and a new orientation to life.

2 Cor 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

1 Peter 1:23, “For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

Rom 12:1-2, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Eph 4:22-24, “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Col 3:9-10, “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”

  • New Steps, as a result of our rebirth, union with Christ, and gift of Christ’s Spirit we are expected to live differently, that is behavioral change we are to undergo as a result of our salvation with the result of producing Divine Good, the Fruit of the Spirit, because of the Christ-like nature that is developed within. This is the demonstration of our salvation to God and to a lost and dying world. 

Rom 6:4, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”

Gal 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

1 John 3:9, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

1 John 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

And last, but certainly not least, we were exhorted in the second half of vs. 17, to, “take … the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.”

Here, we saw that the “sword” is from the source of God the Holy Spirit, who empowers and enables us to wield it, and that the sword is the “Word of God,” (RHEMA HO THEOS), Bible Doctrine resident within your soul. This armament is both defensive to stop the personal assault of the evil one, and offensive to set him a flight. James 4:7, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Cf. Mat 4:11. With the Word of God, we both defend against the inward and outward temptations to sin, and stop them from becoming consistent future temptations that lead us astray. Instead we walk in Christ but the power of the filling of God the Holy Spirit, producing Divine Good.

1 Cor 2:13, “Which things (Bible Doctrine) we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual with spiritual.”

John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”

Therefore, when we put on the whole armor of God, we have guidance and protection from the schemes of Satan and his cosmic system and live the victorious life of Christ.

What about the soldier’s back? Although the breastplate had to be wrapped around the backside, Paul does not make note of any equipment for the backside. It is interesting that in the book “Pilgrim’s Progress,” Bunyan says because Christian has no armor for his back, the best option is to hold his ground. And when we put on the armor of God, we too can hold our ground against the evil one, as we advance spiritually in our own lives and advance the gospel into the world, (Satan’s cosmic system). But, if we turn our back to the enemy and run away in fear, worry, anxiety; sin, we are most vulnerable. Therefore, when we face our enemy, (temptations in our soul), head on with the armor of God, we are able to hold our ground, defeat the enemy, and win the victory of the battle over our thoughts, mind, heart, and soul, experientially.

As we have noted at the beginning of this study, these virtues connected with the Armor of God have previously been mentioned by Paul in the Book of Ephesians.

  1. Truth, Eph 1:13; 4:15, 21, 24-25; 5:9.
  2. Righteousness, Eph 4:24; 5:9.
  3. The Gospel, Eph 1:13; 3:6; of Peace, Eph 2:14-18; 4:3; 6:19, 23.
  4. Faith, Eph 1:13, 15, 19; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13; 6:23.
  5. Salvation, Eph 1:13; 2:5, 8; 5:23.
  6. The Word of God, Eph 1:13; 5:26.

Likewise, the OT speaks about “The Armor of God,” as most commentators observe, the clearest allusion made by Eph 6 is to Isa 59:17, where the Lord God Himself puts on His battle garments including righteousness as a breastplate and a helmet of salvation. The Lord has a sword in Isa 34:5-6; 66:16, and the coming Christ has righteousness and faithfulness, (EMUNAH, also meaning “truth”), as a belt around his waist, Isa 11:5, and with a mouth like a sharpened sword (CHADH CHEREV), Isa 49:2. Looking at the wider OT, we find that the Lord is often found giving Himself to His people as their shield, Gen 15:1; 20 times in the Psalms, even as their shield and sword together, Deut 33:29.

Gen 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great”.”

Psa 3:3, “But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. 

Psa 5:12, “For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. 

Psa 18:2, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

Psa 18:30, “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 

Psa 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him.  

Psa 33:20, “Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.”

Deut 33:29, “Blessed are you, O Israel; who is like you, a people saved by the LORD, who is the shield of your help and the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, and you will tread upon their high places.”

As such, we see that the “whole armor of God” is a picture of Jesus Christ. And, the important aspect of this armor that we have available to us is that the pieces of equipment are all Christ-like virtues that we are to take on as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For example:

  • He is The Truth, John 14:6,
  • He is our righteousness, 1 Cor 1:30; 2 Cor 5:21.
  • He is our Gospel of peace, Mark 1:1; Eph 2:14.
  • His faithfulness makes possible our faith, Gal 2:20.
  • He is our salvation, Luke 2:30.
  • He is the Word of God, John 1:1, 14.

And because of our union with Jesus Christ from the moment of our conversion, this means that when we believed in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we received the armor of Christ. Yet, at that time we did not know how to use it. Therefore, God has given us instruction in both the OT and NT regarding how to put it on and use it.

Paul told the Romans what to do with the armor, Rom 13:11-14: wake up, cast off sin, and put on the armor of light. We do this by putting “on the Lord Jesus Christ.” By faith we put on the armor and trust God for the victory by our daily appropriation of it; His Word, the mind of Jesus Christ, cf. 1 Cor 2:16.

1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV), “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Armor of God is Christ the LORD. William Gurnall who wrote 1700 pages on the armor of God put the matter very succinctly when he commented: “By armor is meant Christ.” Paul’s whole letter to the Ephesians, as all his letters, has been dominated by Christ. This is in continuity with the OT where we find that the LORD is our salvation and our righteousness, Ex 15:2; Jer 23:6.

Ex 15:2, “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. 

Jer 23:6, “In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely; and this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness’.”

It is perfectly consistent with Paul’s thought that we should put on Christ and clothe ourselves in him, Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27.

Gal 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves (positionally) with Christ.”

Rom 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ (experientially), and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

As we have seen in our study of these passages, the Roman Soldier analogy tends slightly towards seeing the pieces of armor as passive instruments with the soldier (you and I) as the active fighter. In contrast, if we see the Armor of God as the OT armor of God, (The YHWH / Lord Himself, Christ Jesus the Lord), then it is closer to the mark to see us as the passive ones and God as the active One. He has given and is giving us His armor. He is giving us Himself. He is surrounding us as a hedge, wall of fire, a fortress, and a shield. Yes, we have seen the imperative moods in these passages to “put on” and “take up” and “stand firm.” We do need to walk in the calling we have received, Eph 4:1. But, it is first and foremost something received, a gift, the gift of Jesus Christ in our lives because of God’s greater grace for the Christian.

Therefore, do not turn Ephesians 6 into a series of things for us to do. That is “fig leaf” armor. We need the armor of God. We need to put on Christ and glory in His sovereign grace.

“According to Ephesians 6 believers need to be armed with God’s own righteousness if they are to be protected against the blows and arrows of their spiritual enemies… The position of power and authority with Christ to which they have been raised is greater than that possessed by their mighty supernatural enemies. As they appropriate this salvation more fully and live in the light of their status in Christ, they have every reason to be confident of the outcome of the battle.” (Peter O’Brien, The Pillar New Testament Commentary.)

When, King David put off his armor and returned to his palace, he was in greater danger than when he was on the battlefield, 2 Sam 11, (Operation Bathsheba). As it notes in vs. 1, “Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, …. But David stayed at Jerusalem.” The point is, we are never out of the reach of Satan’s schemes, so we must always be prepared to stand firm and never be without the whole Armor of God.

Therefore, what has been written and taught from the illustration of the Roman soldier is spiritually true and edifying. Let us rejoice in what Ephesians 6 is clearly saying about the Divine armor that we, the Church, have been given and let us put on Christ. The soldier is to dress, and to stand, and to handle shield and sword against the world-rulers of this darkness and their leader, the Devil himself. And, as we will see in the next section of Ephesians 6, we, the soldiers, are enabled and commanded to keep in ceaseless communication with The Lord’s own blessed Commander, God the Father; a communication which no siege can interrupt, the wireless connection we have with heaven that we call prayer.

In our outline of Eph 6:10-24, (The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles).

  • The Empowerment, vs. 10.
  • The Enemy, vs. 11-12.
  • The Equipment, vs. 13-17.
  • The Energy, vs. 18-20, God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church.
  • The Encouragement, vs. 21-24.

We are now on the fourth point: The Energy, vs. 18-20, God’s Appeal for Prayer in the Church. Here we see the Royal Family’s responsibility to exercise our corporate privilege of prayer as professional Christian soldiers. The question is, would you rather stand alone with all your armor of stand in array with your fellow Christian soldiers when facing the enemy?

See our website for the rest of the study on Ephesians 6:18 and Prayer.

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