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Articles

The Armor of Christ

The Armor of Christ

Prophecy

In Isaiah, the Messiah is spoken of as wearing armor (Isaiah 59:17). Isaiah also speaks of the proclamation of peace and salvation (Isaiah 52:7). Paul quotes from these passages of Isaiah as he writes regarding the necessity of putting on the armor that God supplies (Ephesians 6:10-17) so that we might stand firm and defeat the adversary.

Clothed with Him

Paul writes to the Christians of Galatia, that all who have become part of the body of Christ by being baptized into Him, have clothed themselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27). While this is not in whole a parallel passage with what Paul wrote to the Christians of Ephesus, there is certainly the principle involved of wearing Christ.

We share His armor, He IS the armor

We may recognize from examining the prophecies of Isaiah and the writing in Ephesians, that we share armor with the Lord as we are His soldiers. The implications go much deeper than sharing alone. Remember, Christians wear Christ—not just in name. Christ Himself is the very embodiment of the armor God supplies!   

Belt of Truth“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’” (John 14:6).

Breastplate of Righteousness“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him(2Corinthians 5:21; see also  1John 2:29).

Sandals of the Gospel of Peace“For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the  dividing wall …” (Ephesians 2:14).

Shield of Faith“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Helmet of Salvation“She will bear a Son; and you shall call
His name Jesus, for
He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The Sword of the Spirit, the Word“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-14).

The blessings of armor

Paul, in writing the letter to the Ephesians, comes full circle. His theme and reason for the letter is to show God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus. He begins with his wonderful descriptions of all of the blessings given in Christ. He closes with the picture of Christians wearing the armor God supplies. This is not two separate topics. Do we see the relation of the blessings in Christ and wearing Christ? Is not God’s truth of His eternal purpose in Christ a blessing? Is not the expression of righteousness in Christ a blessing? Is not the peace only obtainable in Christ a blessing? Is not the faith built in Christ a blessing? Is not the salvation guaranteed in Christ a blessing? Is not Christ, the very expression of the word, a blessing?

Standing firm

It is not enough just to initially put on the armor God supplies. The instruction is to use it to stand firm and fight against the adversary. A good soldier never, ever, puts down a piece of the armor. A good soldier never, ever, steps out of rank with his fellow soldiers. Using another military metaphor, Paul writes of those who do step out of rank: “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us” (2Thessalonians 3:6). The word, usually translated “unruly” or “disorderly,” is from a word, often applied in a military setting, which means “out of rank.” Those who do not properly wield the armor God supplies are not fit for battle. Instead, be a good soldier, as Paul encouraged Timothy: “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier (2Timothy 2:1-4).

S Scott Richardson Sr.