Monday, March 29, 2021

The Christian's Armor

"In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16)

The second part of our armor is the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is the central part of our protective armor. Paul refers to our integrity. If we have integrity, we will be able to stand, and we will be protected against accusations. False accusations may hurt us for a while but will eventually fall to the ground. None of us has sufficient integrity to have his own breastplate of righteousness. Happily, Christ has provided integrity for us and has shielded us by His righteousness so we can stand secure.

Third, Paul says that our feet must be fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace (v. 15). This seems to imply that we are moving forward, though as we saw last Friday, Paul actually focuses on standing fast. We are the pillars in God’s house, like the pillars that stood around the tabernacle, and which were fitted in sockets of silver. If we stand in the security that comes from the good news that we have peace with God, then our praise will please God, and He will remove the demons from our land. Feet covered with peace, however, will also find no difficulty in moving out and sharing the Good News, because peace will banish our fears.

Fourth, Paul tells us to take up the shield of faith, which we must have to extinguish the fiery arrows of Satan. The shield, of course, was used to ward off arrows and sword thrusts. Here the idea, in part at least, is that our enemies will tell lies about us and seek to tear us down with their tongues. It is in the epistle of James in particular that the tongue is called a fire that is enflamed by hell (James 3).

Anyone who stands firm for Christ will be lied about. Liars testified against Jesus at His trial, and Paul was continually lied about. Lies are very painful. It is bad enough when people find out things we really have done wrong, but sometimes it seems even worse when people condemn us for things we have not done. Yet, even if such flaming arrows result in our death, as they did for Jesus, if we have the shield of faith we will be able to stand firm in the midst of such tribulation.

Most of us are very quick to believe lies about other saints. Our inner envy and covetousness make us sometimes secretly glad when a brother stumbles. We want to believe the worst. We should never believe any gossip unless it is well proved, because we know that Satan continually stirs up lies about the brethren.