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God's Armor Know the Truth about... Affirm key Scriptures

Belt of TRUTH God Deuteronomy. 4:39; Psalm 23:1; 18:1-3

Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS The Righteousness of Jesus in you Psalm 100:3; Rom. 3:23-24, 6:23; Gal. 2:20-21; Phil. 3:8-10.

Sandals of PEACE Inner peace and readiness Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:14; John 14:27, 16:33, 20:21.

Shield of FAITH Living by faith Rom. 4:18-21; Heb. 11:1; 1 Pet. 1:6-7

Helmet of SALVATION Salvation through Christ today and forever Each day: Ps. 16, 23; Hebrews 1:3-6 For eternity: 2 Cor. 4:16-18; 1 Thess. 4:17; 1 John 3:1-3

Sword of the spirit GOD'S WORD God's Word countering spiritual deception and accusations Hebrews 4:12 Matt. 4:2-11; 1 Pet. 3:15; Ps. 119:110-112

The Belt of truth

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth - Ephesians 6:14 NKJV

The comprehensive description of all the pieces of armour is a very useful aid in discerning and understanding them. The first piece of armour is our belt. A belt made of truth, holding up and keeping in place all the other pieces of armour. Naturally speaking, a belt is used to hold things in place; spiritually the belt of truth does the same thing. Truth keeps us secure in Christ and makes effective all the other pieces of armour.

What does truth mean here?

1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth. (NKJV)

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you. (NKJV)

Truth is the sincerity of the heart. Sincerity leads us to be open to God. It keeps our motives pure, devoid of malice and wickedness towards our fellow men. Are you seeking spiritual gifts as an aid to popularity or a means of serving God better? Keeping our hearts pure is essential if we are to be effective in spiritual warfare. This is the belt of truth.

The belt of truth involves truth in two places; in our hearts and in our minds.

In the heart

In the heart - 1 Corinthians 5:8 and 2 Corinthians 1:12 describes truth and how it relates to our hearts. This kind of truth should influence our whole attitude. Holding malice and bitterness against our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith puts a big dent in our armour. It also leaves us wide open to demonic attack. Our prayers of faith will be rendered ineffective if we do not wear the belt of truth. Truth is like a watch guard. It keeps us on the straight and narrow. Is your heart right before God?

Truth in our hearts means serving God with the right motives, and loving and serving our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with sincerity.

In our minds

1 Peter 1:13-18 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; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, [as] in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you [is] holy, you also be holy in all [your] conduct,

16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy." 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay [here] in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, [like] silver or gold, from your aimless conduct [received] by tradition from your fathers, (NKJV)

2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (NKJV)

Truth in the mind means having clarity of sound doctrine. What do you believe? Are you aware of what Christ has done for you? Does the mental knowledge of Christ victory on the cross translate into godly living in your life?

Truth in our heart makes us sincere and teachable before God. Truth in the mind helps to strengthen our wills to serve the Lord. These two, a sincere heart and a determined will combine to give us a firm girdle that keeps us rooted and grounded in Christ.

Truth in our hearts is sincerity. A heart devoid of sin towards God and bitterness towards man is a heart full of truth. Truth in the mind is exerting our will in serving the Lord. It is acting on what we know is true. Truth is not a mental perception of the truth by rather an embracing and living of the truth.

How to put on the belt of truth

Since the belt of truth involves our hearts and minds we have to make an adjustment in both these places to put it on. Make it a daily habit of checking your armour of truth. Are you right with the Lord? Is there any untruth lingering in your heart? Are you embracing known sin? What about your relationship with men? Any bitterness or malice being entertained?

Then make sure your mind is embracing sound doctrine. This will help to equip your will in serving the Lord. Below are seven helpful aids in embracing sound doctrine as given by one of the old-time teachers of the word - William Gurnall, a Puritan who lived in the 17th century in England. These points have been rewritten in modern day English.

1. Be sincere in seeking the truth. Approach it with a sincere heart. This will make all the difference - 1 Tim 1:5

2. Receive the ministry of the Word from those God has equipped to serve it. God has given gifts to the body of Christ. A sincere heart will aid you in discerning the truth - Eph 4: 11 - 12

3. Accommodate the whole body of Christ. Don't restrict yourself to the teachings or doctrines of any one particular group or denomination in your quest for the truth. God has not given the totality of His truth to any one particular group. We must discern the body if we are to grow.

4. Beware of curiosity 2 Tim 4:3

Strange and sometime obviously wrong doctrine will appear. Witchcraft, New Age and all kinds of teachings will be repackaged as Christian doctrine. Don't let curiosity take you beyond the bounds of your hearts warning.

5. Be a humble seeker. Never assume perfection in any doctrine or teaching. Watch out for pride. Pride can make you a stranger to the throne of grace and turn humble praying for the truth into ambitious arguments.

6. Do not be offended at different opinions. It will only allow bitterness and malice to fester.

7. Know the value of truth in your heart. When you find truth embrace it and keep it. Let nothing tear it away from you. More importantly live it.

The breastplate of righteousness

.. having put on the breastplate of righteousness Ephesians 6:14 NKJV

The breastplate covers the chest. In our case the breastplate is made not of iron but of righteousness. A soldier with his breastplate on goes boldly into battle full of confidence. Righteousness allows us to stand before God, men and demons.

Whereas the belt of truth show you what is yours and what you can do, righteousness allows you to do it. Without the breastplate of righteousness our faith would be like any mere religion - a form of godliness but no power to act. Satan would knock us down with one word of condemnation, nor would we have the boldness to go before the throne room of God's grace.

What is the breastplate of righteousness?

To be righteous is to have a right standing with God. It is being justified and free of condemnation.

Righteousness is two fold

- it is imputed to us; that means something we are given free of charge without effort, and it imparted into us; that means something that Christ works in us and with our cooperation.

Imputed righteousness

This is righteousness God puts on us. It is not earned but given. Let scripture explain.

Romans 4:6-7 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed [are those] whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; (NKJV)

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NKJV)

Romans 3:21-25 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth [as] a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (NKJV)

Abraham, in the Old testament, believed God and God considered this righteousness. In other words, God treated Abraham as if he had done nothing wrong simply because of Abraham's faith in Him.

This is sometimes hard for us to comprehend. That all our sins are forgiven and all our unrighteousness deeds are not held against us. We can come boldly to God as if we had done nothing wrong. God makes us right with Him simply because we believe and accept as ours the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for our sins.

But this is only part of the story. Righteousness goes further than that. Imputed righteousness is the first investment of God into our life. It is something given to us to get us going. Treat it like a permanent grant. It comes with some expectations attached. The expectation is that you invest it to make your own profit. In this case imparted righteousness.

Imparted righteousness

This is what Christ is working in us with our cooperation. The imputed righteousness gives you the boldness and access into His presence. His presence gives you the power to change your life and put sin away from your life. It imparts something of God into you. This has always been God's ambition.

Let the scripture explain.

Jeremiah 31:33-34 "But this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (NKJV)

The life and power of Christ changes us gradually into His likeness.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (NKJV)

God wants us to live holy lives. Not walking in sin or compromising our faith. The power of Christ inside you equips you to do this. As you submit yourself to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit sin will no longer have dominion over you.

The person who intends to be a Christian must keep the power of holiness and righteousness in his or her life and conduct. Have the breastplate of righteousness and 'have it on'.

The following scripture from Romans 8 sheds more light on this

Romans 8:1-11 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God [did] by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,

4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those [who live] according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death, but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

10 And if Christ [is] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin, but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (NKJV)

Christ's death on the cross washed away our sins and made us right with God. This allowed the Holy Spirit to come and live within us.

The Holy Spirit within us now gives us the life and power to live above sin. He imparts in you godly living. This is the breastplate of righteousness.

Imputed righteousness is what Christ gives to you the believer. The justification which let's us stand righteous before God. This is called the righteousness of God. Imparted righteousness is what Christ is working in you now.

Righteousness is God's double sided protection for the Christian. It defends our conscience from all the wounds inflicted by past sin and failures and also keeps us from the constant array of temptations and lust that desire to inflict more harm on us.

How to put on the breastplate of righteousness?

Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is something we do consciously. Become aware of who you are in Christ Jesus. Come boldly into His presence (Hebrews 4:16). Don't cringe in His presence. Accept the truth that Christ has made you a pleasure in the presence of God. Expect Him to hear your prayer. Change your attitude and relationship with God in the light of what Christ has done for you.

Next, allow Christ to work His life and will in you. Allow His power to give you the power to live above sin. Do this and you wear the breastplate of righteousness?

Feet shod - preparation of the gospel of truth

And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace Ephesians 6: 15

A spiritual shoe; something to aid our movement. This piece of armour is to aid our movement and defence and not our appearance.

Firstly we should have a clear understanding of the gospel of peace if we are to appreciate the material of which these shoes are made. By now the saint is dressed with a belt made of truth and a breastplate made of righteousness.

Shoes made from the preparation of the gospel of peace are our third piece of vital armour. The gospel of peace is good news (Luke 2:10). God forgives and then He gives. What could be greater? The gospel takes a hopeless being and fills him or her with an eternity of glory. Even the afflictions of this world are too thin a veil to darken the joy of the good news of Jesus.

What is the gospel of the preparation of peace?

How long can anyone walk a hard and stony road without a decent pair of shoes?

Not far if the right shoes are not on. Many have gone into battle without a proper preparation. This kind of preparation comes only from the gospel. Again, just like we saw with the belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness, there are two aspects to the shoes we wear. The soles that keep us going over hard ground, and the soles which equip us with something to offer to the needy souls along the way.

See what kept Paul going

Walking over hard ground - purpose