Ephesians 6 tells us to put on the "whole armor of God." What does it mean to put on the whole armor of God? What does that armor do for us? What are the components of that armor and what does it protect us from?
These are some of the questions I have asked myself for quite some time. Each day I learn something new about what it means to put this armor on. In this paper, I will present each of the pieces of armor that are given to us in Ephesians 6 and look at each one in detail. On the surface it does not seem that there is much to this. However, there is a great deal of understanding to be gained from looking at the armor of God.
Let us begin by taking a first glance at Ephesians 6:11-20. First, we will look at the entire set of scriptures pertaining to the armor of God. Second, we will look at each piece of the armor and discuss it. I will warn you that I will be using a Hebrew/Greek/English Interlinear Bible for the verses that are stated in this paper. Although sometimes it can be hard to read, it shows the raw language (in this case the Greek translated to English) in which that passages were written.
Ephesians 6:11-20 - "Put on the whole armor of God, for you to be able to stand against the wiles of the 12devil. Because not is to us wrestling against blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the worlds rulers of the darkness age of this, against the 13spiritual (powers) of evil in the heavenlies. Because of this take up the whole armor of God, that you be able to resist in the day evil, and all things having worked out 14to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded about the loins of you 15truth, and putting on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod the feet with (the) preparation of the gospel 16of peace; above all, having taken up the shield of faith, by which you will be able all the darts of the evil one having been made fiery 17to quench. And the helmet of salvation take, and 18the sword of the Spirit, which is (the) word of God via all prayer and petition, praying at every time in (the) Spirit, and to same thing this watching in all 19perseverance and petition concerning all the saints, and for me, that to me may be given speech in opening of the mouth of me in boldness, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in a chain, that in it I may speak boldly as it behoves me to speak."
The "Whole" Armor
Notice that verses 11 and 13 tell us the "whole" armor of God. It is quite obvious why we are given this instruction twice. Just like the soldiers of that time would never put on only certain pieces of their armor neither should we.
It is very important that we make sure that all of the armor of God is on us. We have battles that we have to fight. If we have the "whole" armor of God on, we will win those battles. Should we find ourselves in a position where we are not guarded by all of the armor we need, we may end up wounded to some degree or another. If we do not put any of the armor on we will end up losing the battle and losing our lives (spiritually speaking).
Reading through these verses we are told what enemies we will have to face. Our enemies are revealed to us. The ultimate enemy and the source of all the these enemies is also revealed to us. Let us look at a list of our enemies.
The Devil, i.e., Satan, the evil one (Verses 11 and 16)
Rulers (Verse 12)
Authorities (Verse 12)
Worlds Rulers (Verse 12)
Spiritual powers of evil (Verse 13)
As you already know, Satan will do anything to keep us away from God. His attacks are strong and he is a powerful adversary. However, God does protect us. God reveals to us our enemies. God reveals to us that our real adversaries are not the flesh and blood of human beings, but the Satan influenced minds of those who would seek to destroy us.
We already know the identity of our enemies. We already know that Satan is the force behind those enemies because he himself is ultimately the only enemy we have. All others that would be our enemies are influenced by Satan.
What can we expect to see in those battles against our enemies?
The "wiles" of the devil (Verse 11)
Fiery darts (verse 16)
That about sums it up. Satan is full of fiery darts (figuratively, of course). He will not only come after us but come after us with a vengeance. He will use all of his "wiles" to try to get to us. He will try to deceive us and trick us in every way he can. He will try to turn us against one another, teach us lies and cause us to turn away from God.
We are not in a physical battle for physical things. We are in a spiritual battle for spiritual things. Physical battles that could cause us to lose our physical lives are not as important as spiritual battles that could cause us to lose our spiritual life to come. Because our physical lives are but a small space in time, they are not as important as our spiritual lives to come.
The battles can be intense. The battles can make us weary at times. However, we must hold our ground. We must fight to the end.
We are told in verses 14 and 15 to "stand." God wants to see us standing after "all things have been worked out." God wants to see us at that Last Day in a standing position. He wants to see that we have won the battles and, ultimately, the war.
As we will see, God gives us the tools we need to be the ones who will "stand" at the Last Day.
Loins Girded with Truth
In verse 14-15, we are told to have our loins girded with the truth. Girding is a wrap around covering. It is the first piece of armor that is put on and also the one that is most close to us. Also, girding covers nakedness. God wants us to keep His truth close to us. He wants us to make sure that His truth is the first thing we put on. Once we learn His truth, we need to cover ourselves with it. We need to make sure His truth is close to us and that no lies enter into us.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
In verse 15 we are told to put on the breastplate of righteousness. A breastplate covers the heart and the internal organs. The breastplate of righteousness covers our heart. It guards our heart from being pierced. God has written His law on our hearts and in our minds. If we allow our heart to remain uncovered, we will not be obedient to the law and will eventually forget it and deny it.
Feet Shod With the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
In verse 15-16 we are told to have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. Our feet lead us to many places. We need to make sure that wherever we go, we spread peace. The Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of Peace. By our example and our devotion to Gods way of life we will spread the Word. God expects this of us.
The Shield of Faith
In verse 16 we are told to take up the shield of faith. Notice, Paul says "ABOVE ALL having taken up the shield of faith." The shield of faith protects us greatly. We normally think of a shield as a small round dish, called a buckler. However, in Christs time, a Roman soldier had a shield that was rectangular in shape and as tall as he was. This provided for a great covering to the soldier. When the soldiers were fired upon with flaming arrows, they were all able to crouch down behind the shields creating a barrier that would be almost impossible to penetrate.
The shield of faith protects us against ALL the fiery darts of Satan and allows us to quench those darts. (verses 16-17) Notice that it says ALL. This is very important because we can overcome Satan and ALL of his attacks as long as the shield of faith is with us.
The Helmet of Salvation
In verse 17 we are told to put on the helmet of salvation. A helmet is designed to protect the head from any blows it may receive. God wants us to put on His helmet of salvation so that our minds are protected from Satan. We must always keep Gods plan of salvation in mind and keep focused on His kingdom that is to come. God has written His law on our minds and in our hearts. The helmet of salvation protects us from forgetting His laws, His way of life, His plan of salvation and, ultimately, His Kingdom that is to come.
The Sword of the Spirit
In verse 17-18 we are told to take the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is Gods Word. The way to obtain the sword of the Spirit is via all prayer, petition, watching and perseverance. (verses 18-19). We must pray to God for knowledge, understanding, wisdom and application of His Word in our lives. We must pray in the Spirit. At the same time, we must be watchful and persevere each and every day.
Prayer keeps us in contact with God. Petition, i.e., asking for Gods help, allows God to work with us and teach of His Word and way of life. Watchfulness keeps us aware of our surroundings and what things may come about. We should always be watching the events around us. We should always be watching for Satans attacks and be on guard to defend and protect ourselves with Gods Word. And finally, perseverance helps us to get back up again if we are overpowered and knocked down. We should never quit in our battles against Satan. We should always be prepared to fight and to get back up if we are knocked down.
God tells us to put His WHOLE armor on. If we do not put ALL of these pieces of armor on, we could be destroyed by Satan. We need to:
Keep Gods truth close to us.
Keep our hearts guarded from lies.
Make sure we spread peace wherever we may go.
Keep the shield of faith in our arms to guard us from the attacks of Satan and his principalities.
Hold on to the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God so that we are able to defend ourselves. Remember, when Christ was tempted by Satan all He used was the Word of God to ward off the attacks of Satan. We must do the same.
Pray to remain in close contact with God.
Petition God to help us and give us His armor so we are protected from all evil.
Watch all things around us so we are able to see warning of coming attacks.
Persevere so that we are truly trying hard to live Gods way of life. We must never give up when we are caught off guard. We must always strive to be rid of any evil and replace it with Gods goodness.