The Armor of God Part 2 - Truth & Righteousness
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,”
Ephesians 6:14 NASB 1995
This is strange language in modern times. What does it mean to “gird your loins with truth”? Other translations use “the belt of truth”. The belt was an essential part of a warrior’s dress before putting on armor. The belt would protect the abdomen and also be used to gather up the flowing undergarments to keep them off the ground and allow freedom of movement when marching or engaging in battle.
The truth is the sincerity of belief or understanding that our faith is the “belt” that guards our center of being and protects against evil. David Guzik in the Blue Letter Bible commentary for Ephesians 6 describes it this way:
The belt of truth puts on the Biblical beliefs of the Christian as a whole, what other passages call the faith. Many people believe that the church will never go forward until it takes off this belt of truth, but that is completely wrong. This is part of the armor to have, which is a foundation to live upon all the time, our understanding of and confidence in the basic doctrines of the faith.
Here’s a link to the David Guzik commentary on Ephesians 6: Blue Letter Bible Commentary on Ephesians 6
After putting on the belt, the first piece of the armor installed was the breastplate. The breastplate is essential for guarding the heart and other vital organs, both from the front and behind; it was normally two pieces of armor strapped together or a single piece of chain mail over the core of the body. Soldiers carried a shield, but the shield is not as useful in close contact with another warrior, hence the need for the body armor. The righteousness symbolized by the armor breastplate is the perfect holiness of Christ, which can only come from above. We regularly use this armor in our Christian lives - it is not “once and done” after we are saved, because the enemy is constantly on the attack. By building on this righteousness from above as we face daily temptations, we are moving towards sanctification. Crosswalk has an excellent commentary on the breastplate of righteousness and when we use it; here is an excerpt.
1. Turning to God when we Face Temptation
James 4:7 calls us to submit ourselves to God. If we resist the devil, he will flee from us. Whenever we encounter temptation, we need to turn to God.
2. Guarding our Hearts against the Devil’s Schemes
The breastplate protects our heart, our most vital organ. In a Christian understanding, it’s the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). Satan is the wellspring of death. If we put on the breastplate of righteousness, we avoid the blows that will lead to spiritual death, that come from sin.
3. Avoiding What May Ensnare Us (Matthew 5:30)
We know what can trigger the sins we personally deal with. Maybe it’s a certain place, a certain group of people, a certain activity. No matter what the case, we need to avoid, if possible, anything that can entice us to sin.
Sometimes this may make us the odd man out, killjoy, or loser, but we have our spiritual walk at stake. Better to avoid something that can pull us away from God than to compromise our spiritual safety.
The entire commentary can be found at this link: Crosswalk Breastplate of Righteousness
Part 3 will examine how we shod our feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace.