Wearing the Whole Armor of God
by James Griffin
The Bible gives us all the information we need about the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, how to equip ourselves to live godly in this ungodly age, and the imminent return of Christ. We must ask ourselves what must we do today to reap the eternal benefits of God’s kingdom before we meet Christ at His Judgment Seat. The answer for living holy and justly before God in this unholy age: equip the Whole Armor of God.
Now what does this "Whole Armor of God" have to do with anything? Well, in the ancient days, armor was used as protection and defense. It was also identification to the one wearing the armor. Those who saw the armor-wearer knew they were in good hands because he was a fighter; he wore the armor because he could fight and defend for those he knew and loved. It is the same here. Observe: "Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all power and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…” (Ephesians 6:10-18)
When we look at what Paul wrote to the church, we can see God is equipping us for what we have to do as His children. It may seem like a tall order, but this world we live in today is more frustrating and hopeless as ever, and we will need this armor to stand in this evil day. Thankfully, Christ through the Holy Spirit has given us authority along with His Word, the Bible, to persevere in these trying times.
Spiritual Battle Plans and Victory
First of all, we have to recognize we are fighting a war. Not any normal war such as what we see on television or hear about in the news. No, this battle is unique because it is spiritual. This world today is the way it is because of Satan, the deceiver and murderer of all time that is bargaining for our souls. Ever since the beginning of time he has attempted to usurp authority and glory from God. Observe: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:12-17)
Lucifer fell because of his pride, and pride is one of the sins that destroy us as a whole. Because of the fall of mankind and the increasing evil of this present world, we will need all the protection we can get because of the demonic forces opposing us. If you don't believe Satan is in control of this world system today, look around at the confusion. Entertainment, politics, and religion are showing us that this society cannot take much more deception and chaos.
In order for us to wrestle against principalities and powers of Satan's kingdom, we need spiritual backup. We all know this present society is caught up in the occult and witchcraft forbidden by God. What does the Bible say about such things? Observe: "When you art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter
to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
All of these practices are out in the open today, and yet the society that has once rejected them has gradually accepted these as a normal or alternative way of life. Therefore we have to wear the whole armor of God to identify and avoid these practices and influences in our lives. No longer as a child of God can you rely on horoscopes and magic to decide your loved one or determine a way of living: "And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed." (Acts 19:17-20)
We also have to remember that Satan has an army, just like God does. (Revelation 12:7-8) Satan is a defeated enemy, however, and this somehow makes him more dangerous because his time of doom is close, so he is intensifying his efforts to deceive as many as he can. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul has given us numerous warnings about eternal punishment, so we have to regard these warnings with sincere alarm if we want to continue to stand and reach others for Christ. This spiritual warfare is not only dealing with our physical and spiritual circumstances, but also our mental state: "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2Corinthians 10:4-6)
This life we are living now is a battlefield of the mind. Many thoughts originate within us, while others come directly from the enemy. We have to pray to fight against our sinful nature: "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:5-9) The power of the Holy Spirit that we receive as Christians is necessary to help us fight against these powers of darkness. It is summed up as thus: "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in our body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1Corinthians 6:19-20)
One step to victory is to know that through prayer and holy living the victory is ours in Christ already. Many people within the church are intimidated by Satan and his smokescreen of fear. Once we are in Jesus, we have authority over Satan and his armies of darkness. Observe: "ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1John 4:4) Since we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit who is God, we have been given spiritual authority over Satan. The Bible gives us abundant information about our position in spiritual warfare as children of God: "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:37-39)
The next step is that through the power of the Spirit we have the authority to resist any offer Satan can make to us: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not
under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:12-14) We are also aware of any situation that may overwhelm us is also subject to the power of God: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1Corinthians 10:13) We know obeying this authority grants us rewards in heaven, fruit of the Spirit and praise from God: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." (Galatians 5:22-24)
As you can see from the following scriptures, the notion that Satan is an evil that overpowers even the saints in the church is absurd. Satan is a defeated enemy, and any trials we face we can overcome by prayer and fasting: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are in the household of faith." (Galatians 6:7-10)
Trials and Blessing
Not only are our trials there for our benefit, we can use these blessings and advantages from God to help others. We do have to remember there are Christians that are less faithful, and that is because they don't realize they are fighting a defeated enemy. They put Satan and circumstances on a pedestal due to unfortunate situations, and this is discouraging. Don't you realize that all the scriptures above don't mention Satan? They mention us! Our "flesh" is the part of us that makes sinful decisions, attitudes, and preferences that we grew up with. We have to overcome these things through the Sprit, prayer and studying the Word. (2Timothy 2:15)
We know that when we lived a life of sin there were things out there that we liked to do: “know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the
? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Corinthians 6:9-11) The Bible reminds us we can be free from all things we think are impossible to break from: “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) We can also live a victorious life in Christ Jesus: “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end kingdomof God
everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:22-23)
I know we as Christians can and will make mistakes down the road, but the Bible has an solution in case we do slip up and make a mistake: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John 2:1-2) Jesus is the merciful Advocate before the throne of the Father, much like a lawyer in the Holy Court, defending and forgiving us before Satan the accuser. (Revelation 12:10) Now we all know that sometimes we make mistakes, but make no excuse: we must repent from the weaknesses of our particular sins that we face as individual Christians. The Bible makes it clear that God wills us to live a life free from sin, and if we make a mistake, God will forgive us, and we must repent. We must not make a habit of our mistakes.
The Sword of the Spirit
The Holy Bible is the Sword of the Spirit, and rightfully so. It is the only source of God-inspired truth on the planet: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) The Bible is a companion and weapon. It is pure: “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6-7) We must also recognize all prophecy concerning the return of Christ is regarded as the ultimate truth that will occur very soon: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Peter 1:20-21)
We must all realize today that Satan is a bruised, defeated opponent: “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he [Jesus] made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15) As a result, Satan seeks to disrupt, distract and deceive anyone he can: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1Peter 5:8-9)
Let us put on the Whole Armor of God and wield the Sword of the Spirit and win this fight: “But Thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1Timothy 6:11-12)