Truth, Righteousness, and the Gospel
It has been established there is a great battle in which we are engaged and we cannot win it in our own strength.
We must put on the whole armor of God to stand—not cave in, not give up, not compromise but STAND.
We will look at the first three pieces of that armor which Paul describes as being vital to our success in this warfare “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Gird With Truth
“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” (Ephesians 6:14-15). A soldier would tighten his belt to be ready for combat. In the process he drew up his tunic so it would not hinder as he went into battle. The belt held everything else in place. The girding of the loins speaks of preparedness. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance”(1 Peter 1:13-14).
So to be ready to face the enemy on a daily basis, the soldier must have his loins girt with truth.
Some hold the view that truth is an inward sincerity or truthfulness. Certainly this is important but here the reference is to the objective truth of God’s Word. We live in a day when many deny there is such a thing as absolute truth but the Scriptures affirm there is a significant difference between truth and error. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy he speaks of the hope that some would be brought to repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
If then it is necessary to repent of holding to that which is not truth and then to acknowledge that which is truth; obviously there is a distinction between the two.
So the thinking that truth is only what you desire it to be or just that with which you are comfortable, does not stand up. It is the inspired truth of Scripture which will protect the faithful soldier. David wrote repeatedly of the value of the Word of God. “Thy word is truth from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:160, 11, 105). Jesus confirmed the importance of the Word. When he was tempted in the wilderness he quoted from the Old Testament to win the battle with Satan. He prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And he emphasized that continuance in the word is essential. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall made you free” (John 8:31-32). Satan is constantly launching his attack against the truth. A man told me he had saved money to send his daughter to a Christian university because he felt she would not encounter attacks on Scripture which are so prevalent today. But at the beginning of the year one of her professors said he hoped to convince everyone in the class that the book of Genesis could not be taken literally. Paul warned that when men will not endure sound doctrine and seek teachers that will satisfy their itching ears, “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4).
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate worn by a Roman soldier was to protect the heart, lungs and other vital organs. Some believe that this breastplate worn by the believer is the imputed righteousness of Christ. Of course if a person has had an experience of grace, the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to them. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”(2 Corinthians 5:21). The understanding that salvation rests not on any righteousness that man can produce but on the righteousness of Jesus Christ, provides and inward peace that nothing else could give.
The warrior who has assurance of salvation because he relies on the righteousness of Christ will be courageous in times of the most fierce conflicts and committed to heed the admonition to stand fast.
But putting on of the breastplate involves the practical righteousness of godly living. It is the equivalent of what Paul speaks about when he says, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). It is what Peter was talking about when he said you are to walk as obedient children. And he continues, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
Shod With The Gospel
The Roman soldier of Paul’s day wore shoes or boots made of materials that would endure the rigorous activities of the battlefield. And there were pieces of metal inserted into them to assist in climbing a hillside or to help in standing firm in face to face combat. And so the Christian soldier needs to have on the right footwear lest he slip or stumble along the way. “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”(Ephesians 6:15).
The word “preparation” emphasizes being ready for the battle.
The soldier could not go far nor expect to be successful without the right shoes on his feet, and the Christian must rely on the gospel of peace as he stands firm.
The gospel of peace reminds us that while we were once at enmity against God, we now have peace because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
Believing the gospel, believing that there is now peace with God, standing on the truth of the gospel gives confidence of victory. The battle is difficult, the discouragements can be great but depending on the truth of the gospel provides courage and boldness. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine , or nakedness, or peril or sword?…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:35, 37). Paul’s admonition is to do all, everything possible to stand successfully against the wiles of the Devil. There is never a time to assume the armor will not be needed today, it can be laid aside until there is a conflict arising. The enemy never lets up, the warfare continues on a daily basis; so put on the whole armor that you may stand and not fall.