Friday, August 31, 2012

Put on the Armor

Put on the Armor

How can you assure that your soldiers or police officers endure a battle?  One way is to give them something to defend themselves such as: protective gear, bulletproof vests and helmets.  Ever since there were ways of attacking there were ways of defending.   In martial arts blocking is a way to protect yourself from your opponent hitting you.  Since today many attacks are done with bullet firing arms, bulletproof vests helps were invented.  The idea is to make sure the bullet does not enter your body and cause permanent damage or death.  If this happened it would mean that your unit is short one man.  The use of such equipment is not new.  They are just built differently. 

When battles were fought with swords, arrows, and/or spears there was a need to protect the torso and the head from being impacted or pierced by one of these objects.  So, vests were created then for the torso’s protection, and helmets to protect the head.  These could work as a barrier to bar the entrance of any cutting or piercing objects in the body.  This also helps to endure the assault until the end of the battle. 

To Paul we are in a spiritual war.  But our war is unlike the battles of this world.  Yes you get attacked, but the weapons are not the same.  And, the parts of the body involved are not the same.  We read in 2 Corinthians 10: 3

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

What Paul meant here is that it is not necessarily a physical war as in two nations warring against each other.  “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6: 12).  The battle is in our hearts and minds.  And, the only way to endure the war is to be fully armed for it.  So, Paul admonishes that we put on the armor of God, “that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” and “that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6: 11, 13).  The Apostle Paul gives a similar advice he gave to the Thessalonians,

1 Thessalonians 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation

Paul’s mention of the armor in Ephesians 6 is more descriptive,

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Ephesians 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

This armor is to be worn at all times, for the battle is continual.  Ellen White says,

“There is need of watchfulness. Our own hearts are deceitful; we are compassed with the weaknesses and frailties of humanity, and Satan is intent to destroy. We may be off our guard, but our adversary is never idle. Knowing his tireless vigilance, let us not sleep, as do others, but ‘watch and be sober.’ ”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 409.

Getting injured or wounded is not an option.  This takes you out of the battle.  The idea of the armor is to help you endure the battle until you die or the battle ends. 

Notice that, although in Thessalonians faith is part of the breastplate and in Ephesus is the shield.  Both utensils are present in the armor model and both are protective devices.  It is faith that will be lacking in the earth for Christ said, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8).  The last generation will have faith, for John says of them that they will have the faith of Jesus.  It is Christ’s faith that enabled Him to be “…obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).  So, those that die in Him and those that are alive at his return need this faith to endure.  Christ admonishes some of the martyr’s in Revelation 2: 10, “be thou faithful unto death.”  Those who hold on to Christ’s faith will “… be able to stand against the wiles of the devil,” and will “… be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6: 11, 13).  They will overcome the Devil, “…by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Revelation 12: 11).  They are not afraid to die - … they loved not their lives unto the death (revelation 12:11), because they know that their reward is secure with Jesus (1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 17; Hebrews 11: 19 - 40).