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  • ARMOR OF GOD KNOWING WHO IS OUR ENEMY AND HOW TO FIGHT HIM

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    RECOGNIZING AND FIGHTING OUR ENEMIES

     

    No doubt any of us who have a minimum of spiritual discernment and who read the Scriptures, especially the New Testament Scriptures, can ascertain the season and days we live in today. We see clearly that we live in very wicked days, we are living in the last days. The return of our Lord Jesus Christ is drawing very close. Jesus told us that His return was going to occur when the days we live in were going to be like the days of Noah, the days that preceded the flood that destroyed the entire existing humanity living in those days.

    Let’s take a look at what the condition of mankind was during the days of Noah.

    Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    In the New Testament Paul tells us almost the same thing with even more detail when he says,

    2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    However, we must recognize who our enemy is in order to fight him. In the passages we just read we see that evil presents itself in the form of man. Present evil is indeed in other people, and in this world we have to contend with unbelieving, evil people who hate God and hate God’s children. We know this is true as we continually struggle to deal with evil people who do great evil in the world. We recognize also that the world system is evil and its evil agenda is brought forth by evil people.

    We cannot fight our enemy with human methods, and we will not defeat our enemies with human methods.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;

    As we see here Paul repeats a word used in Genesis 6:5, the word is imaginations. In Genesis 6:5, it says that the imaginations of the heart of man were evil continually. Here Paul says that we have to cast down those evil imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. This is the evil that is resident in philosophies, ideologies, thoughts, actions, and teachings that are against God’s character and His ways.

    However, the enemy is not only and always made of flesh and blood. Aren’t those who form the world system human beings? Yes they are, but they operate and act based on the authority and power that is given them by wicked spiritual powers.

    Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

    We need to be strong not in our own power, not in our own strength, not in our own wisdom and knowledge; but we must be strong in the power, strength, wisdom and knowledge of God.

    In order to obtain these things we must first of all belong to God, through Jesus Christ, and have His Spirit; we must therefore comprehend His word well enough.

    You see even here in this passage it clearly says that we must put on the full armor of God to resist, to be able to stand our ground in order to resist the devil’s schemes.

    Our real enemies then are not really the human marionettes and slaves to Satan that we see and know, and that we also once were, but the spiritual wicked forces that animate them and implement the devil’s plans. They are the slaves, the puppets of the devil and his demons, and they are preparing the world for the coming of Antichrist and Satan’s very brief reign.

    That’s why our struggle, our battle, is really against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    To do so we must be in Christ and we must be clothed with the spiritual armor of God, armor that ONLY GOD can give us to resist the evil day. Without this people will be prey to the deceptions and evil plans of the devil and his power. 

    Ephesians 6:14-18 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

    This is the whole armor of God of which we have to clothe ourselves so that we can remain standing and firm against the devil and his demonic angels, our real enemies.

    The first thing, and I repeat and will to the end, is we must belong to Jesus Christ. Only if we belong to Him we can remain firm and resist and win.

    How and why do we wear this armor?

    In God’s strength and power we must clothe ourselves in God’s truth, truth that ONLY the word of God can give us. Only the word of God is absolute truth and only with this we will be able to discern the lies and deceptions of the devil. Only with God’s truth we can discern the difference between the lies of Satan and the truth of God. These that we will study are the spiritual weapons God has given us to defeat our enemy.

    Let’s now take a look at this armor God has given to us so we can understand the power and the meaning, so we can use it in our lives to be victorious.

    Paul mentions the armor of God, and the allusion is definitely inspired most likely by the fact that as he is writing this letter to the Ephesians he is under house arrest in Rome. No doubt a Roman soldier was his guard. Often in those days prisoners were chained with a long chain to their guard so that they still had some freedom to move, but they could not escape.

    So now Paul is writing to the Ephesian church and as the Holy Spirit inspires him he writes of each piece of the Roman guard’s armor and equipment that the soldier no doubt was wearing. Each part of the armor is a symbol, an allusion to what God has given us to use in order to fight against the enemy. Each piece represents a divine provision we must know we have and know how to use it in order to win the battles we fight against the devil’s schemes, as Paul says against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    Let me just say something before we get into studying each piece of armor. I have heard, more often than I would have wanted to, many preachers tell God’s children when it comes to wearing the armor of God to actually sit there and pretend to wear each piece of armor every day by physically enacting the whole thing. Now, I feel this kind of advice is kind of silly at best. It won’t be pretending to wear this armor that will enable us to actually wear it. Obviously, Paul was making a metaphor of the armor of God to explain to us that we must be secured in certain aspects of what God has given us through His Spirit.

    So we must learn and be aware every day that we actually can either have these pieces of armor or we must learn how to acquire them by exercising spiritual discipline in our lives. So no, we do not have to sit in front of the mirror pretending to put our armor on but we do need to take inventory in our spiritual walk to ensure that we are actually wearing the entire armor. We will need to sharpen our sword, check our belt and our helmet, make sure we have our shield and breastplate, and make sure we are wearing our sandals. We will need to train with them and make sure we get good at using our weapons, that is the main thing. We know as children of God we have this armor, we must learn how to use it and train with it.

     

    The first piece of armor Paul mentions is the BELT OF TRUTH.

    The Roman soldier had two types of belts, one was more of a strap that was worn around the shoulder coming down the front of the chest and latching on a belt called Cintus that’s the belt Paul is talking about. This belt was used for two main functions, to carry the sheath where the soldier kept his sword and canteen. The other function, also important,was that the soldier wore a mantle as part of his uniform and during a battle this mantle was tucked into his belt so it would not be of impediment to the soldier.

    The Latin term accintus derives from the word cintus, it literally means girt for battle. So what Paul is really saying is that the truth, and we will see what that is, the belt of truth is essential to the believer in order to be girt properly for battle. The belt of truth as the Roman belt is to be used to hold the sword of the Christian, which as Paul says in the passage following is the Word of God. In addition, it is essential for the believer to be able to eliminate all things that can be of impediment during battle. Therefore, the truth of God eliminates impeding issues that can cause us not to be able to battle properly.

    God’s truth is, therefore, like a belt we must wear around our waist, the belt of truth.

    We must remember that, the ONLY source of absolute truth is God’s word.

    Jesus is called the logos, in other words the word, the Word of God who became Himself man and dwelt amongst us. This is mentioned in:

    John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

    So as we see, Jesus is God’s word and He is God, the word was, is God, by the Word and through the Word He created all things, nothing was created without Him.

    John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Jesus, God’s word was with God and was, is, God and He was made flesh. Became man, this is Jesus Christ we know and love, He, Jesus is full of grace and truth, truth!!

    Now, Jesus Himself confirms with His own words spoken in the Gospels that He is the Word made flesh, He and the Father are One. Therefore, He tells us in:

    John 14:6-7 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    This statement is huge because from Jesus’ lips within this statement we understand many essential things. First, He says He is the way, the way to where? To heaven and to the Father because at the end of this statement He says with an absolute statement that He is the ONLY way to God the Father. To cement this well in our minds, He states that He is also the truth and the life.

    This is very important because first He claims to be the way to God, then He claims that not only what He is saying is the truth, but that He Himself is the truth. He is the truth incarnate, so that ALL He says can and has to be believed.

    God is truth and only He is truth, so the Jesus that we already have seen is God. He, therefore, IS the truth. Also His word is truth, the Bible is the word of God, and according to John 1:1 as we have seen Jesus is the word of God and He is God.

    Jesus also states to be the life. This is also confirmed by John in John 1:4.

    However, Jesus is not only the One who gives physical life. He is spiritual and eternal life, He is the resurrection and the life. John 11:25-26

    The fact that Jesus Himself states to be the truth and the only way to God is a huge statement because it, therefore, denies that there are any other ways; and therefore, any other religions that can lead to know God and to relate with God. This is of extreme importance in our combat against powers and principalities of wickedness and darkness, why?

    Because we can know that Jesus is Lord and that He is the only way to God and that we must be convinced to even be saved, ALL other religions, therefore, are false. And get this now, they are a lie. Lies are opposite of truth, and according to Jesus, Satan is the father of lies and he cannot say the truth.

    John 8:43-45 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

    44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

    Jesus is here saying that whoever does not believe His words is of the devil and that he is the father of lies and does not abide in the truth because there is no truth in him. That’s why Jesus then says that because he was telling them the truth they did not believe Him. So we see that whoever does not believe or does not want to believe what the Word of God says, whoever does not believe in Jesus’ words, belongs to the devil. This is very worrisome for me especially when it comes to people who profess to be believers. In order to be believers one must believe, believe in what Jesus says, and what the word of God says.

    On the night of His betrayal and subsequent arrest, He continued to state to His disciples that He is one with God and that being one with God He therefore is God, so when He states this next thing we clearly understand that the Holy Spirit is God as well:

    John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    The Holy Spirit as Jesus says is the Spirit of truth; therefore, if Jesus is the truth then seeing that this is the Spirit of truth means that this is His Spirit, He is one with Him. The Spirit of truth, therefore, spoke and communicated to the Apostles by taking whatever information came from Jesus and the Father and He transferred the information to the Apostles who then in turn wrote it and communicated it to us,the church in the New Testament writings.

    The Holy Spirit did the same thing with the people who wrote the Old Testament as Peter claims:

    2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

    Paul said it like this:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    These statements are very important because they mean, by all we saw thus far, that both Old Testament Scriptures and New Testament Scriptures are ALL God’s word. And as we saw Jesus is God’s word made flesh, the Holy Spirit is also God, and the Spirit of Christ and of truth communicated God’s truth to the prophets of old and also the Apostles. Therefore,  ALL Scripture is spoken into existence by Jesus.

    This is extremely important when we fight the truth war against the world. We must be ready to be able to show in the word when they say, for instance, “ Jesus never said this or that!”

    Jesus said it all!! The Word of God is the word of Christ! Jesus said all that is written in the Bible. Remember it said that all things were created by and through the word of God, in other words Jesus.

    Later, that fateful night Jesus said in John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    So we see that Jesus is the truth, and The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth who guides us into the truth of the Word of God that is also the truth.

    So what is this belt of truth? It means being supported and surrounded by the certainty of the words and the operation of these three: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word. Knowing that we have the availability to them we are therefore supported, encouraged, strengthened, kept and sanctified. We have the certainty also that we read the truth, the whole absolute truth, we can know the truth, the absolute truth because it’s confirmed by the fact that it generated from God, communicated by God and preserved by God.

    In a world of uncertainty, in a world where many voices clamor for our attention, in a world where the truth is subjective, in a world filled with lies that claim to be the truth, we can be sure to know the absolute truth. Knowing Jesus, truly knowing Jesus and having His Spirit dwell in us and guiding us in the truth of His word.

    If we belong, and I repeat, IF we belong to Jesus we will know His voice, hear His voice and follow Him, even He stated that very fact:

    John 10:26-30 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

    Remember that the battle we really fight with the world is ultimately the battle for the truth! The world says there is no absolute truth,the world says that truth is subjective, the world says there are many truths, many of the lead to God. No, it’s not so!

    We have seen so far that there is only ONE ABSOLUTE TRUTH! JESUS, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH, GOD’S WORD!

    Our warfare, as we will see several times in this study, is this one here:

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;

    We see here the warfare is for the control of people’s minds as this passage speaks entirely of pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against what? The knowledge of God! The knowledge of God can be traduced as the truth as He and His word are the truth! The fact that Paul then concludes that it is every thought that must be brought to submit to the truth means that the battle for the truth is being engaged and the battlefield is people’s minds. This means that even for the Christian this is the battlefield, the mind.

    We need to renew our minds Paul says:

    Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

    This is how we will avoid being conformed to the ways of this world, or we must say the lies, the ideologies and philosophies of this world are those very things Paul spoke about in the previous passage of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, the strongholds and arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God which have entrenched themselves in the minds of people including ours.

    When we were in the world our minds were darkened and in our minds we were enemies of God.

    Ephesians 2:2-3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

    Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

    So Paul, by saying that we must wear the full armor of God, and here the BELT OF TRUTH, means we must have it on.

    This does not mean that every day we must sit in front of the mirror pretending to put it on. It simply means that we must be certain that we believe and are certain within ourselves of the facts that each piece of the armor as described is actually active in our life and that we are certain of its efficacy because it is divinely given and empowered, but we must believe that we have it otherwise it will not work for us. Not believing and practicing by faith what Paul says we should will result in us not achieving the benefits the armor is supposed to give us. As you will see the entire armor revolves around the written word of God although it being a piece of the armor itself.

    THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

    Paul now mentions the breastplate of the Roman soldier’s armor. What does this breastplate means for us Christians?

    Like a real breastplate even this one does the same thing. As a real breastplate was designed to protect the vital organs which are in our torso, there we find many organs but probably the most vital of all is the heart. We, as a real soldier had to, must protect our hearts. Our heart is the throne of our emotions; and therefore, we must protect our heart from the enemies attacks.

    Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

    The first thing though that we must recognize is that we ourselves must be clothed with the same righteousness, the righteousness of God, the righteousness of Christ; and then, by His grace we must also be clothed with a righteous and holy lifestyle in which we also must walk.

    We must be justified or made righteous by God and walk in His righteousness in order to have this breastplate protection. These things will protect us from having our heart deceived even by our own emotions, emotions that the enemy tries so very hard to control and manipulate.

    This was made evident by Paul in:

    Ephesians 5:2-10 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

    As we even see here, walking in a righteous and holy manner protects us from being seduced by vain words.

    In this context it means that some people were trying to convince the believers of those days, and this happens today as well, that walking in righteous and a holy manner was not important nor was it essential in a believer’s life. Those are vain words, and they are designed to deceive a person.

    There are so many passages of Scripture that say just the opposite, there are so many. Here are a few:

    Romans 6:12-15 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 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. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

    1 John 3:1-6 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

    As we see there is no excuse for who wants to walk in an unrighteous manner without repentance. In other words, enjoying it and thinking that they can be heaven bound is not what God’s word teaches.

    The word of God does not teach us that we will be perfect nor sinless even after our new birth; but it does teach that we must flee sinful behavior and not be conformed to the ways of this world. In other words, our desires should be those to obey and serve God and be like Him in every way.

    Are we going to fail in these attempts? Yes, we will; but the issue is that we persevere in trying and in depending upon God’s grace for those times we try and fail.

    Now, it is obvious that the changes in desires and in our very nature and our thinking must be evident; otherwise, there is a very high risk that who does not display any change in their nature, life, and mind are not even in the faith at all.

    This is another fail safe to protect our hearts as several Scriptures say:

    2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    2 Peter 1:3-11 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    1 John 3:18-24 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

    Now, in order to remain encouraged in our attempts to live righteously and not to give in to our failures, God has placed a safety net and that is a very important issue the breastplate of righteousness Paul speaks of which is also a very important, in fact, essential tenet of our faith.

    We are not inherently righteous or considered such by the perfection or the attempts of living righteously. We are not justified and declared righteous because of our good behavior or obedience. We are seen and considered righteous by God because of the merits and virtues and redemptive work of Jesus Christ and that only. Our righteousness is in position and not in a practical term. Although we are called to live righteously, although our desire to live righteously has to overpower our flesh, we cannot ever live in perfect righteousness; so we cannot by our own efforts gain the status of being justified before God.

    This is what we know as the justified position of the born again believer; this is an act of God as is the entirety of our salvation. It’s what is known as a forensic act or legal position.

    Legally on God’s side we have been made righteous and have an eternal standing of justification before God. It means that our status of righteous standing before God is not our good behavior or any of our religious works, rather that Jesus took upon Himself ALL of our sins and He was judged by God and endured God’s wrath in the place of all those who believe in Him. We believe in Him, by the way, because He did die for each person who believes.

    However, Jesus not only satisfied God’s wrath and judgment in our behalf, but He also did other things in our behalf. He lived as the completely and only righteous one, He fulfilled and obeyed God’s law and His will, and He fulfilled God’s law.  All of this was done in our behalf so that His imputed righteousness and justice and the requirements of the law would be fulfilled for us.

    There are several passages of Scripture that fully embody these truths:

    2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    So, we can safely say that Jesus not only died in our place to make us the righteousness of God, but He lived for us as well so that all of God’s requirements regarding righteousness might be fulfilled by Him in our behalf.

    What does this really mean? Why is this essential for us to know? How does this connect with the breastplate of righteousness?

    What it really means is crucial when we fail in our attempts of walking in righteousness and it also is crucial because it seals our eternal condition, it makes our salvation permanent and eternal. It seals our position in Christ to be a position of one that cannot ever be lost even when we fail.

    Knowing these facts and believing them is what really protects our hearts. It protects them by allowing us to continue our attempts of living righteously without falling in the enemy’s trap of condemnation and undue guiltiness. These things become a snare in the believer’s life because it deceives the heart into thinking God does not love us, or loves us less when we fail to live up to His word. It’s a tool the enemy uses to make us not enjoy the freedom of being loved by God at all times. This is going to affect our heart, as not feeling God’s love in our heart will block our progress, will block our love for God and others, while we will walk in a state of condemnation God has not placed us in. That’s why John says:

    1 John 4:16-19 God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.

    Having doubts about God’ love for us comes from our hearts being deceived or rather as the passage says, not knowing, or doubting God’s love hurts our heart and makes us lacking in one very fundamental thing, assurance and makes us feel judgment and punishment while instead we should have confidence regarding the day of judgment knowing God loves us as His children, so as

    Romans 5:6-11 says: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    To have ongoing joy and confidence in God’s love we must be made perfect in His love, not in our love for Him, not in our righteousness and efforts, but in fully understanding the love God has for us. In His love we must have confidence.

    We obviously know that this is not a license to sin how or when we want but actually knowing and understanding God’s love for us makes us want to obey Him more and not sin against Him.

    There is also another issue that springs forth from when we fail God and when we fail to live in accordance with His word. This issue we will take up more when we study the helmet of salvation because it has exactly to do with salvation and the mind.

    However, mind and heart are very closely connected one with another. Failing to obey God and falling into sinful behavior for the true believer not only causes doubts about God’s love but having doubts about God’s love causes us to doubt and even think we have lost our salvation. The thought of the loss of our salvation is a great problem and an erroneous doctrine that stems from the doubts that our failures to measure up to God’s standards cause. There are though many reassuring passages that deny the possibility of the loss of salvation at least for true believers. This issue we will look in more dept as I said when we get to the helmet of salvation. I just wanted to close with a couple of Scripture passages that should help us in believing that a true believer cannot lose their salvation. These two are the Lord Jesus’ direct words when He was on earth in person. Not believing this is a very serious thing because it is in essence calling Jesus our Lord a liar or and misconstruing His words.

    John 6:37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

    Then Paul says:

    WITH OUR FEET FITTED WITH THE READINESS OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.

     

    Paul says that our feet should be fitted with the readiness of the Gospel of peace.

    There is definitely another allusion to the Roman soldier’s sandals here. The Roman soldier in those days used to wear specific foot ware.

    The literal translation in the original Greek of this phrase means: having the feet covered and the sandals firmly tied with the Gospel of peace

    The protection of the feet was a very important thing for the soldiers back then, as it really is even today. The protection of this foot wear consisted of two parts:

    1) The sandals or boots were made so that they could cover the feet and were equipped with spike like features, similar to those that rock climbers have on their shoes. This feature was important in battle because it would give the soldier the power to set their feet firmly in softer terrain so that they would not slip easily, it also helped them having traction in climbing. These features were essentially important in battle to keep balance and stance.

    2) The second feature of the sandals or boots was the shin guard which usually would reach and cover the knees as well. This feature was designed to protect the legs from the enemy’s low blows and also from rocks and debris that could hit and harm the lower part of the leg. Usually these were made in bronze and were often internally covered with leather or fur for the winter months, they were universally used both by the Greek and Roman soldiers alike.

    So having the feet covered and the sandals firmly tied with the Gospel of peace in this case we are not speaking of the ones made of bronze or metal but those made up of patient investigation, calm and firm standing in the Gospel of peace. This is referred to the readiness to walk in the truth of the Gospel.

    Like the soldier’s sandals and foot-ware which used to keep them firmly secured and protected by obstacles and obstructions in the terrain while they were walking or fighting, so even we, spiritually speaking, can find obstacles that could obstruct and try to stop our progress in our battlefield.

    In order to remain firmly planted on the ground and avoid slipping and falling while we fight our battles, us Christians must adhere to the principles of the Gospel of peace, peace with God and having the peace of God and sharing the Gospel of Peace with God.

    Also the purity of uncompromising the Gospel itself will facilitate our walk and make us firmly stand without falling or slipping hard as we fight the enemy.

    God’s peace is important, we must first of all be at peace with God which is what the Gospel offers, peace with God, reconciliation with God.

    Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    As we see, having knowledge of what the Gospel does for us gives us a firm standing in God’s grace as even this passage says, through it being justified by faith we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ by whom we have access by faith in God’s grace wherein we stand and our stance is firmly planted in the joy of the hope of glory of God which is the end and completion of our salvation. By the way an important note: the word hope in the Greek really means a certain fact and not wishful thinking as we are used to say. Instead we rejoice in the certainty of the completion of our salvation. Once again we are faced with the fact that our salvation is for ever and is sure and it cannot fail.

    Romans 5:9-11 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    So having peace with God and having assurance of this peace we can then have the peace of God in us, interior peace,which is the fruit of the Spirit in us.

    This is the peace that all people seem to look for but that eludes people continuously, why?

    When a person is not in Christ they cannot experience the peace of God because they are not at peace with God.

    Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

    Only those who are at peace with God can have the peace of God, that peace the world can never give. Even Jesus told us that:

    John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

    In addition God’s peace in the life of the believer is a protecting factor for our heart and mind.

    Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    We are not to seek our help from the flesh or the world, rather being always ready to stand firm in the only hope we have and the only hope mankind has, the Gospel of peace of our Lord and believing in what the Gospel produces and promises we can confidently march through the world. We can remain firm on the promises and the certainty of the Gospel as it is a great part of our defense against our spiritual enemies.

    Last but not least, the Gospel is our testimony, the witness of our salvation as well as being the witness of our Lord Jesus Christ, His deity, His perfection, His power, His redeeming work, His resurrection, His ascension and His return.

    The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe and it is a great spiritual weapon as the word of God says, with the power the Gospel gives us we overcome the enemy.

    Revelation 12:10-11 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

    We overcome Satan and his angels and our enemies by the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony and the very willingness to give our own lives for the Gospel,this is the description of the Gospel.

    Also, our faith must be in Jesus of whom the Gospel speaks, it is the power of God for those who believe Romans 1:16; our faith in Jesus is what gives us victory because He is victorious for us

    1 John 5:4-14 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

    So the Gospel of peace is the message of victory, our witness, the pattern of our life in Christ and that which gives us peace with God and the peace of God and the only message that can do the same for others.

    So wherever we walk, hence the fact that Scripture describes the Gospel as something to wear on the feet, remembering the Scripture that says:

    Romans 10:13-15 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

     

    Now, let me conclude with this fact that is last but not least. In fact it’s of utmost importance regarding the Gospel of Peace.

    There is the true Gospel and then there are counterfeit gospels. A counterfeit gospel doesn’t really have to be very much different from the true and real one. In fact, most often being that it’s counterfeit means that it is actually very, very similar to the real one. As a manner of fact so closely does it resemble the real one that it deceives many. That’s how closely it resembles the real Gospel.

    However, let me say this the Scriptures tell us that if anyone preaches another Gospel than the one preached by the Apostles, that person is accursed, by God Himself. It’s no small thing to preach lies in the name of Jesus. That is making God a liar and taking God’s name in vain.

    Paul said in:

    Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    There are many people who calls themselves ministers and preachers of the Gospel that are not preaching the true Gospel at all.

    Teachings and preaching that only name Jesus’ miracles and signs and wonders and teach that God will give you all you ask for and that God wants you to be healthy and wealthy and always happy, that is not the true Gospel. What they call Gospel but is devoid of the virgin birth, devoid of Jesus’ deity, devoid of the cross and devoid of His resurrection are not the Gospel.

    Gospels that teach that you can be a believer and lose your salvation and that you somehow earn your place in heaven by behaving righteously are not the true Gospel. Gospels that don’t require faith and repentance as a fruit of faith in Christ are not the true Gospel. Gospel that name it and claim it are not the true Gospel. Gospels that teach false miracles and false spiritual gifts are not the true Gospels.

    Gospels that add any work to the believer’s faith in Christ for justification in order too be saved are not the true Gospel. Gospels that contradict what the Lord Jesus says and what the New Testament writings teach are not the true Gospel. God knows that there are many people in a lot of churches that preach counterfeit Gospels. Not only those who preach false and counterfeit gospels curse themselves but those who believe and sit under these false gospels draw curses upon themselves.

    These practices are damning and are very dangerous and those who stand upon these false gospels are not standing on firm ground, they are standing on sinking sands, even worse quick sands.

    Jesus said in:

    Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

     

    So when the gospel is not the real Gospel of Jesus Christ it is nothing but sinking sand, no one can stand firmly upon that. It will only lead to the demise of those who teach it and those who are sitting under such false teachings. That is in fact the entire context of Matthew 7:13-23.

     

    THE SHIELD OF FAITH

    Faith for the believer is essential protection. Faith in what or who? God and His promises, remembering that His promises are true and faithful and therefore we can take refuge behind them as if they were a shield, and in fact they really are, exactly that,a shield for us.

    We must use our faith like a shield because our enemies constantly shoot their fiery arrows at us. These fiery arrows are accusations,deceptions and lies. Our faith in God and His promises therefore will shield us from these things. When we believe what God says instead of what our enemies say then we will be able to put out those fiery arrows.

    The word of God itself teaches us this very fact:

    James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    Submitting to God means live by faith which is obedience to His word.

    This is also the only way we can resist the devil, this is the shield of faith that protects us,when we believe what the enemy says instead of what God says it’s as if the enemy takes our shield away and we will be at the mercy of his lies, accusations and deceptions. It would be like being a soldier without a shield, we could never be able to stand under the enemy’s blows and protect ourselves from his fiery arrows.

    Once again Paul is no doubt making reference of the Roman soldier’s shield. Now let’s look at the parallels between the Roman shield and what Paul is saying.

    The Roman soldiers were equipped with two different types of shields.

    The first shield was a smaller shield and it was designed for hand to hand combat,it was designed to shield one self from the enemy’s blows. The second type of shield was a much bigger in size,big enough to cover the entire body behind it. This shield was used usually to protect the soldiers when entire centuria was together in a siege formation and or when they had to protect themselves from the arrows who were shot at them from the cities or fortresses that were attacking. They used their shields to create a type of shell like a turtle shell, which worked this way:

    When the Roman soldiers attacked, the supplies, the light infantry and the horse men were placed at the center of the formation. Heavy infantry was equipped with curved and large shields they would form a square called (agmen quadratum) at the edges of the formation with the large shields facing toward the outside to protect everyone in the middle. Others in the middle would lift up the shields up above everybody’s head to protect all from arrows which would rain down upon them. For this reason, the entire formation is shielded and no one is left uncovered so that when you saw this formation, compacted together it looked like a giant turtle shell.

    The Roman soldiers would use this formation for two reasons then, when they would get close to a fortress to conquer it or when they would be surrounded by the enemy and their archers. This is how they would advance and overwhelm the enemy. It was almost impossible to penetrate this shell giving the Romans a great advantage.

    This image can be seen as the image of the church when it walks together in a compact formation, walking by faith and in the unity of the Holy Spirit and in truth, thus growing in God’s word and His promises. Such become a shield for us against the enemy’s fiery arrows. When the Roman soldiers attacked an enemy entrenchment or laid siege to a fortress or a city they would wrap their shields with leather and rags that were imbued with certain liquid substances. This was done because the archers from the enemy entrenchment or fortress would shoot them with arrows which tips were doused in pitch and then lit on fire, hence they were fiery arrows.

    To avoid that the arrows set their shields on fire they would, as I said,cover their shields and as described used them as a turtle shell to protect themselves from the enemy’s fiery arrows.

    Let’s remember that just like the Roman soldiers we are called to demolish every fortress, high thing, stronghold that is formed against the knowledge of God.

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;

    Just like the Roman soldiers we need the shield of faith, believing God’s word and promises so that we can be shielded by all the flaming arrows that are being shot our way, when we attack the strongholds and when we attempt to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

    These are ideologies, philosophies, ways of thinking and of living,doubts and the very condemnation the enemy throws at us as fiery arrows. These are those which wage war against God’s ways, against God’s promises and God’s very thoughts, these are such things that fight against His word.

    These in the end this is where our enemies reside right? As Paul said at the beginning of all this,we do not wage war in reality against flesh and blood but against those spiritual beings that have set their ways into the minds and hearts of mankind.

    We may see other people as the physical enemies that come against us or resist the Word of God but in reality behind every person that belongs to Satan, behind the ideologies, philosophies and ways of the world, he and his minions are the ons fueling the lies and shooting the fiery darts.

    Faith therefore is an essential part of our Christian life. Faith is in fact the very thing that God gifts us with so that we may actually believe in Him and believe in the Gospel for our salvation.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

    Without real faith it is impossible to please God because the only way we can please Him is to be in Christ, is to belong to Him. This is only possible by believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel we know or should know, is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. God is pleased only in His Son and the work His Son did.

    God is therefore pleased with us when and only when we believe in the Only One He is pleased with. Only Jesus was able to satisfy God’s wrath and justice while living a perfect, sinless, obedient life to God’s will and His law. In other words, Jesus did what Adam and subsequently every human being could not do, be perfectly obedient to God and be without sin, and also Jesus undid what Adam did, in other words, Jesus undid the power of sin and death, which Adam has caused to be for mankind.

    In reality then, without believing and being in Christ no one can please God. Why? Because they remain faithless and not believing in God the way He wants, which is through faith in Jesus Christ.

    John 14:1-6.

    This is the beginning of our faith, but our faith grows. God gifts us with a measure of faith with which we believe in the Gospel but this faith must grow within us. God has a specific training process by which He helps us grow in faith.

    We must understand that faith in God is not a blind faith for the most part. God never asks us to believe in things we cannot believe. We have faith in God when we believe what He says. That’s faith, we cannot believe in what He does not say or didn’t say.

    Faith is the substance and the certainty of things unseen but that is not blind faith. All this means is that we believe in what God says in His word even when we don’t see the results of that yet.

    However our faith has to be in God and in what He says in His word. Our faith is in God’s word, in His promises, in who He is.

    For example, when God says that ALL THINGS work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, we believe in that promise no matter how dire our situations might be. It’s easy to have faith when things are going good but not so much when all things around us are seemingly not going well. We have to believe what God says in that case, when we do that’s faith.

    Abraham believed God and God imputed it to Him as righteousness, see Genesis 15:6;

    Romans 4:21-25.

    Faith is a gift from God and it is not something everybody possesses as many erroneously claim.

    2 Thessalonians 3:2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

    If everyone had faith, everyone would believe, there is no doubt there. In fact those who reject Christ are called what? Unbelievers! What other word can we use for unbeliever? What does that word really mean? It means without faith, faithless. So if it were true that everybody has a measure of faith they could not be called faithless or unbelieving.

    Faith by the way is not simply intellectual and factual belief. Certainly everyone can have that, but faith in the Biblical sense is really, truly believing what God says. This must be just taking God at His word without seeing the end result in the immediate.

    Faith in Jesus is believing that He died and was raised from the grave, but believing the entire Gospel is to believe that He is God incarnate, that He was born of a virgin and conceived by the Holy Spirit, that He is without sin and that He died on the cross in substitution of us for the forgiveness of the sins of them that believe in Him, that He was buried and rose the third day to justify those who believe in Him and that He ascended into heaven where He sits ad Lord at the right hand of God the Father and He will come again to judge the living and the dead. When is the last time you really heard this Gospel preached? This is the Gospel, this is what we must believe to be saved.

    So as we see and I repeat, faith is not believing blindly in some type of abstract thing that makes no sense, biblical faith is believing what God says about Himself, biblical faith is believing in His promises, biblical faith is believing in the faithfulness of God. Obviously, faith is believing almost always before we see the actual answer of the promise God makes.

    For example, we believe we have eternal life right? Why? Only because we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, because we believe what Jesus says, because we believe that Jesus IS, and that God is who He says He is and what He says.

    So we don’t see eternal life with our eyes, we don’t see our salvation, but we trust God for it, we trust what He promised, we trust what He says. That is faith in the true sense. So as we see, faith is not only believing all this for one time, instead it’s believing it once and then continuing to believe it all our life through everything we go through, through the hardships and trials and the doubts and the accusations of the enemy.

    Real faith keeps believing God trough everything and trusting in His faithfulness even when the result of our belief is long coming. Faith is when the devil tells us that we cannot withstand the storm and we answer him, God is in the storm and He stands with us in it.

    Remember Daniel’s three friends, Sadrach, Mischach and Abdnego? They trusted God even though they got thrown into the fiery furnace and God shielded them and protected them from the intense fire and stood and walked with them in the fire and got them through alive and well, so much so that they did not even smell like fire. That is very appropriate in the explanation of the shield of faith because we find that actually when we trust God and believe Him and His promises He becomes our shield and if God shields us we are indeed shielded and the fiery arrows of the enemy do not harm us.

    God promised Abraham that He would be his shield and reward,

    Genesis 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

    God promised this in the context of the very passage when Abraham believed God regarding the promises He made him, in fact the same passage that Paul mentions in Romans 4.

    Genesis 15:4-6 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

    So we see that when we believe God at His word, when we trust Him and obey Him, which is also faith in action, God is our shield and exceeding great reward.

    See, often we seek blessings from God but if we belong to God and He is our God we have an exceedingly great reward, He is our reward, not His blessings but Him. We need to love God to the point where He becomes our all in all and He becomes all we want, for He is all that we really need.

    In fact even our faith is tested true for us and it grows in strength only by the fire of trials.

    There is only one way our faith becomes stronger and only one way our faith increases that is through trials and difficulties and often persecutions for God’s sake.

    One example of that is the story of Job in the Old Testament and in the New Testament we find two passages that confirm this fact:

    James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

    1 Peter 1:2-9 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

    As we see then that the trying or the trial of our faith produces perseverance and increasing trust in God and trust in His promises. We cannot grow in faith if we don’t go through the trial of our faith. The believer’s perseverance is built up and strengthened by trials and also by persecution.

    It’s a paradox but that is the only way that we can grow in trusting God and His faithfulness and take Him at His word if we don’t go through God’s school of hard knocks.

    However, it is in these circumstances that God steps in to be our shield. As we believe God and His promises they become our certainty and that protects us from the lies, accusations and doubts the enemy fires at us like arrows to stop our progress in our Christian walk.

    In closing on this subject I need to say that often it is said that the sword of the Spirit is the only attack weapon of the armor of God and for a long time I thought that also but in preparing for the study I found out that the Roman soldier also used the shield for attack purposes. He would use the shield as a weapon by thrusting the shield upon the enemy, hitting the enemy’s body with the edge of the shield or with the center of the shield which used to have like a protruding metal blunt spike purposely placed in the center of the shield for that very purpose. The Roman soldier thrust his shield forward hitting the enemy with it usually using the edge and the blunt center spike to injure and throw the enemy off balance then they would thrust the sword forward into the enemy.

    Faith is therefore our shield. So as you see you just cannot pretend to wear the shield of faith every day as if it was some kind of game. Faith is something we need to work on to strengthen and increase and make sure we know the promises of God, make sure we know God and His attributes and this folks happens only by getting to know Him and His promises through His word.

    THE HELMET OF SALVATION

    As we already said before we must have salvation in our lives in order to have victory over our enemies.

    The helmet of salvation is obviously then to protect our head as a real helmet would.

    This helmet in this case, is for us the certainty of our salvation, this helmet is designed to protect our thoughts. It is in our thoughts, in our minds that the devil may gain control of what and how we think and then by this control our behavior and the way we live and conduct ourselves.

    The devil uses all kinds of psychological propaganda, manipulation, deception and seduction and all these are designed to take control over our minds. Whoever controls our mind controls our emotions and who controls our emotions controls our behavior. Without protection for our mind we are wide open to believe the deceptions and lies of the devil.

     

    Our head is the throne of our mind, which, when it has the security of eternal life, of the permanency and certainty of our salvation and freedom,then it will not receive false doctrines and will not succumb to the temptations and strategies of Satan”

    We need to say that this is closely connected to all the other parts of the armor of God, because if the enemy can reach the head in reality we get stripped from the entire armor of God. As we know the head and the heart are the most vulnerable of our body parts and they are susceptible to the most debilitating and deadly blows the enemy can inflict.

    If we have doubts it will be here, in the mind that the enemy will sow even bigger uncertainties and lies. If we doubt even slightly the certainty and permanency of our salvation we will also doubt the love God has for us. In this way our enemy will be able to take away all our weapons, how?

    Simple, if we don’t believe what God says and if we believe instead the enemy’s lies he will take away our shield as we lose faith, which is our shield. This by consequence will cause us to believe we are cursed and unrighteous whereas God says instead we are justified and righteous, not of ourselves but by the merits and virtues of Jesus Christ.

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    The Scriptures confirm in many places that we are considered just and righteous by God in Christ and that our salvation is eternal and that we cannot lose it ever, once we are given it.

    John 6:37-40 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

    John 10:27-29 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

    These are just a few of the many Scriptures that assure us of the permanency of our salvation. This is a must believe fact because if we doubt this or believe the lie that we can lose our salvation in anyway this places us in a situation where we don’t believe in God’s word and in His unending love for us and this is very detrimental to our Christian walk.

    Not believing in God’s unwavering and permanent love for us places us in great danger, danger to not progress in our Christian maturity, it blocks us from living in victory and it cause us to constantly feel defeated and condemned. As we saw earlier though, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

    Also Paul told us this in a very powerful way in Romans 8:28-39.

    We already mentioned this fact in the study of the Breastplate of Righteousness, but we must repeat this fact as it is so important to grasp even in this context. I did say that the breastplate and the helmet were closely related.

    In Romans 5:6-11 Paul tells us: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    Quickly dissecting this passage we understand some very important things,

    We were, at one time, without strength and we were ungodly, that is when Jesus died for us. Then Paul says that for sure scarcely one would choose to die for a good person, although according to God no one is good. But God commanded His love for us that while we were yet sinners Jesus died for us. Then Paul says, if then God loved us so much when we were unworthy, ungodly and sinning enemies, so much so that He commanded that Jesus die for us on the cross, how much more now that we are justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

    You see, if God loved us so much as ungodly sinners and made it possible to be saved even though we did not deserve it, and we still don’t, now that we are His sons and daughters will He not make sure that we will be securely and definitely saved from His wrath?

    Wrath is His judgment. God has wrath and judges sinners who are not in Christ. Christ is our ark of salvation, as the ark took in Noah and his family and protected them from the wrath and judgment of God, so are those who are in Christ saved from God’s wrath and judgment.

    This means that ALL of our sins must be forgiven and taken away permanently because if we even have only the guilt of one sin we would have to endure God’s eternal wrath and judgment. So, only one single sin that is not forgiven would land one in hell for eternity.

    It is obvious that all our sins have to be taken away and they have, at the cross Jesus took away the guilt of all our sins and buried them with Himself in the tomb.

    He rose to new life and the Bible says we rose with Him to new life.

    John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

    Jesus promised to us eternal life, He told us that whoever believes in Him HAS, present tense, eternal life, WILL NOT come into condemnation and HAS PASSED from death to life.

    Here the language is unmistakably clear and concise: those who believe in Him have, present tense possessive,eternal life, not will have it one day in the future. They will not, this is an absolute, will not, not might not or will not if they behave, will not come into condemnation instead they passed, past tense, already occurred form death to life.

    Jesus also said that He would never cast away anyone who went to Him for salvation and that He would never lose any of them but raise them up on the last day.

    John 6:37-39 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

    He also said that those who belong to Him would NEVER perish and no one could be able to steal them away from God.

    John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

    If we fail to believe or if we doubt the permanency of our salvation the helmet of salvation that is designed to protect our minds from these doubts will be pierced and it will cease to be of protection for our mind. Then not only the fiery darts of the enemy will pierce through, but the enemy will be able to strip away our breastplate because our breastplate is closely connected with the certainty and the position of our salvation.

    We will then enable the enemy to strip away from us the next piece of the armor mentioned by Paul, the sword of the Spirit, that is the word of God. This is because when we doubt the permanency and certainty of our salvation and doubt God’s love for us, the rest of the word of God will not be properly understood, or not believed or not even taken into consideration, which will place us into the grave danger of believing all kinds of lies and false doctrines and this will place us in a state of ineffectiveness.

    In today’s terms it would be like having a rifle with blank cartridges, it just will lose its ability to do what it is supposed to do. We would be totally at the mercy of the enemy without any weapons.

    We must believe as God says that our salvation is not based inherently on how we behave or how we feel but it is based solely on the righteousness, merits and virtues of Jesus Christ.

    Understanding properly God’s love for us helps us not to doubt our salvation and helps us reaffirm the permanence of our salvation.

    Faith is not about how we feel about things, faith is BELIEVING what God says. Faith is BELIEVING God’s word. That’s also why faith is our shield, we already spoke of it, without faith we cannot please God.

    Then there is even a worse thing that happens when we don’t believe what God says, much, much worse. When we do this we are calling God a liar and we are saying He is not trustworthy and He is unfaithful to His promises.

    We saw what Jesus said about those who truly believe and trust Him only for their salvation, so that saying that a person can in some way lose their salvation, or stating that if a person has received new birth in Christ can again experience spiritual death and eternal damnation would be calling Jesus a liar and it would make Him untrustworthy and double minded.

    My question is, is He? Of course not!! He is the way, the TRUTH and the life. He is the word of God made flesh full of grace and truth. The devil is a liar and the father of lies and it is the devil who tries to cast doubts, not only in our mind but also upon the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God as well as diminishing Jesus’ sacrifice and lessening the power of God, the Gospel is the power of God.

    That is what Satan did from the beginning isn’t it?

    Genesis 3:1-5 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    You see, Satan casts doubt on God’s word, “did God say?” Once the doubt is cast then come the false doctrine “You shall surely not die”

    Satan says in other words:

    God’s not trustworthy, He is holding back blessings, He does not want you to be the best you can be and know all that you can know,you can be your own boss, you don’t need to listen to Him” “ Make your own laws, determine for yourself what is good and what is evil”

    Saying that the believer’s salvation can be lost or is not permanent means that Jesus’ sacrifice is not sufficient to save, it would mean God is not powerful enough to maintain us saved and that He is untrustworthy and He lies.

    Therefore those who teach and those who believe that a true born again believer can experience loss of salvation, loss of God’s grace and experience God’s eternal wrath because their sins are not all forgiven are actually blaspheming God.

    It’s not a minor doctrinal difference, it’s a serious offense to God’s person and character as well as an offense to His power and attributes.

    Peter said:

    1 Peter 1:1-9 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

    Those who do not continue to walk with Jesus although they seem to have a desire to follow Him are described by Jesus Himself as those who have no root in Him and whose belief is superficial and has no roots. It is a result of the word of God falling on rocky soil.

    The word of God will not yield the fruit of faith because there is no faith rooted in Christ, in other words these people are not born again. Also those who desire other things rather than God’s life are not real believers and eventually other problems and cares will show their true colors. These two conditions are explained by Jesus in the parable of the sower; Matthew 13:18-23.

    In addition to all this Jesus also explained this concept even better in:

    John 6:64-66 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

    The conclusion is that many people appear to follow Jesus for a while, yet they never had true faith in Him and are not born again, as Jesus said, they follow Him but believe not because they really don’t belong to Him, it was never given them to believe in Him fully. Therefore when they get offended by God’s word they cease to follow Jesus.

    John stated it like this:

    1 John 2:18-19 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

    So as we see, we are kept as Peter said by the power of God through real and genuine faith which God has given us to begin with.

    When a person ceases to follow Jesus or doesn’t follow Jesus by attempting to seek holiness and righteousness in their life, they are not in the faith at all. They have not been saved, they are not born again and will eventually abandon Jesus, will eventually follow false teaching and erroneous doctrines.

    If a person becomes apostate, in other words does not stay the course to the end, if they leave Christ they never belonged to Him in the first place. John calls them Antichrists and they did not belong to Him.

    When the helmet of salvation if off, the sword of the spirit is stripped out of our hands, for how can you handle the word of God if you don’t believe it? How is it going to work? It cannot and it will not! God’s word cannot work for those who don’t believe what it says.

    In addition this causes all other kinds of false doctrines to creep in to our minds,it causes us to be vulnerable to the philosophies and ideologies of this world and to then behave in a worldly and carnal way.

    THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT

     

    The sword of the Spirit we know then, is the word of God.

    Here also the reference is made to the word of God as a sword.

    The Roman soldier had a sword, a side weapon, called the gladius a short sword a double-edged sword about 50-55 centimeters (19.6 to 21.7 inches) long, with a blade about 4.8 to 6 centimeters (1.9 to 2.4 inches) wide. It was worn on the right side of the body in a wooden or leather sheath. They also had a pugio (an iron or bronze dagger)–worn on the left side by legionaries, but on the right side by officers–was approximately 25 to 40 centimeters ( 9.8 to 15.7 inches) long.

    In the word of God itself the word is represented as a two edged sword:

    Hebrews 4:12 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.

    As we see the word of God is likened to a very sharp double edged sword.

    The word of God is always depicted as a sharp sword that comes out of the Lord’s mouth.

    Revelation 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

    Revelation 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges.

    Revelation 2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

    Revelation 19:15-16 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

    Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

    Every believer then should become proficient in the use of the word of God as it is the only weapon that is not only defensive but it is the only piece of the armor that really can place the enemy under attack.

    In order to do this we have to become really, really experts in the knowledge of how to use our main weapon so that in every moment and circumstance we can use it successfully. There is a right way and a wrong way of using God’s word and how we use it, right or wrong will determine our success or defeat.

    Let’s take the Roman soldier of Paul’s time. How many hours a day do you think he had to train so he could become an expert swordsman?

    I believe that they had to train a lot to become great fighters and knowing how to use their most important and effective weapon when they fought in hand to hand combat and in a close up battle with their enemies.

    In the Roman soldier’s hand to hand combat style of warfare the shield and the sword were used together in a very strategic way.

    Up to 500 soldiers would be deployed in a line, shoulder to shoulder facing the enemy. The shield (scutum) is held slightly away from the body so the soldier can move it up and down to block incoming missiles.

    They would wait for the enemy to come close, then as one they would take a step forward and thrust their scutum into the bodies or faces of the enemy, causing them to lose balance and so render them vulnerable.

    The scutum is then withdrawn and the sword (gladius) is thrust into the body of the opponent. Note the way in which the gladius is deployed horizontally to pass between the enemy’s ribs into his vital organs.

    The legionaries would advance in a line towards the enemy thrusting scutum, then gladius. It was this action: shield, sword, shield, sword… that would disorientate the enemy and take their front warriors out of the battle.

    As we see in the Roman soldier’s combat style the shield and sword are used together as the shield of faith and the sword off the spirit should be. With the enemy we do the same thing, with the shield of faith we stop the blows of the enemy and with the sword of the Spirit we strike back. However, faith as we said has to be in God’s word so we see the inseparable connection between the two in our combat against our enemy. How cane we use the sword of the Spirit effectively if we do not believe or if we have doubts regarding what He says? We cannot use either weapon.

    It’s therefore very important even for us to learn well how to use the word of God in our life. This actually means to know how to rightly divide or rather how to rightly interpret God’s word,rightly understanding it, and this entitles us to study it and learning how to properly know and interpret it.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

    This passage tells us that we must be diligent to present ourselves approved to God as a workman that needs not to be ashamed. How does one do this? By learning how to accurately handle the word of God.

    Being diligent means, training, training,training! You see, now a days the push in the church is study less, read less, just have short sermons devoid of depth and content. The push in today’s church is that doctrine is not important. Really?

    It actually was the most important thing in the Apostles lives and the most important exhortation in the church was to teach and learn sound doctrine.

    In the epistles 24 times the word doctrine is used in an exhortation to follow, learn, teach sound doctrine. The word teaching we find it seven times. So it seems a very important thing to teach, learn and follow sound doctrine, or the word of God.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    In addition to being profitable for doctrine, reproof correction and instruction in righteousness, it will thoroughly complete the man of God.

    God’s word is all we need to become who God wants us to be and all we need to do God’s will in our life. Often believers seek what God’s will for their life is in all the wrong ways. All we need to do to know how and who God’s wants us to be is study and apply God’s word to our life.

    It really cracks me up when people tell me they want to serve God full time. There are only full time Christians. No matter what we do in life we serve God full time. We will see more of that later.

    It is sufficient to say right now that I see many Christians want to serve God in some ministry capacity and desire to do it full time while they cannot and will not serve God and do His will in all other parts of their lives.

    The Bible says whatever we do, whatever profession we have we are to serve God with all of our lives and all of our being.

    Secondly it is the sound teaching and diligent studying of the word of God that will keep us safe from being deceived and believing false doctrines.

    Ephesians 4:12-16 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    Jesus taught us how to use the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, when He was tempted by the devil in the desert. He used the written word of God to defeat the temptations of Satan and not only to defend Himself but to attack the enemy.

    Luke 4:1-13 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.'” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'” 12 Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

    The word of God in this passage teaches us several important things. First of all it was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus in a situation of trial and difficulty, it was not Satan. Sometimes God is the one who leads us to be placed in certain situations where our faith and obedience is tried. Now, at this point we need to say a very important thing, God never tempts us to do evil. It’s either Satan and his angels that tempt us or it’s our sinful desires that tempt us.

    James 1:13-17 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    In Jesus’ case it was not His own lust that enticed Him because He did not possess a sinful nature. So His temptation was simply to prove to Satan the incorruptible nature of Jesus and to teach us how to react when we are tempted by either the devil and his demons or enticed by our own lusts.

    Jesus showed us how to use the sharp sword of God’s word to fend off the tempting blows of the devil.

    Another very important lesson we learn from this passage is that even Satan knows the word of God very well and can use it to deceive us into serving him and obeying him rather than God.

    This means that we must become better at knowing God’s word than Satan. In addition, Satan or who serves him, such as false teachers in the church, use God’s word by drawing it out of its context. While Satan uses God’s word out of context Jesus uses it exactly in the context and the way it is supposed to be used.

    It is therefore imperative that we learn how to rightly divide God’s word and we need to know it well. Another imperative reason to intensely study and properly interpret God’s word.

    There is a very special connection among these spiritual pieces of armor. As the sword of the soldier rested and was carried in a sheath that was attached to the belt of the soldier, so the word of God has a very close connection with the belt of truth as the word of God is truth and Jesus is the logos the word of God made flesh and He Himself has declared that He is the truth, we therefore understand that God’s word is Jesus’ word, all of it and that it’s all true, God’s word is spoken by the truth, therefore it is absolutely true.

    The only source of truth is God’s word, the only absolute truth is God’s word. In a world where many voices clamor for our attention we have only one certainty to know the absolute truth and the only true voice of God, it’s the written word of God.

    This sword of the Spirit is also called such because it is closely related to the Holy Spirit. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of truth.

    John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

    As we see the Holy Spirit is declared to be the bearer of God’s truth as He is the Spirit of Christ and of God, He can only bear witness to the truth and only speak truth Himself. The Holy Spirit is the One as we see, as Jesus said that has taken all the information that Jesus wanted to give the church and caused the New Testament Scripture to be written in the way it is. We can say that the Scripture, all of it, is by the work of the Holy Spirit,inspired by God by His Spirit.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

    As we see ALL Scripture is inspired by God or better translated breathed by the Spirit of God. Only the written word is God’s inspired word.

    2 Peter 1:19-21 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 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.

    As we see even Peter makes it clear that it’s the word of prophecy of the scripture, again of the Scripture, once it is called Scripture it’s inspired, only what is written is inspired and is word of God.

    Now having ascertained this fact we understand that when someone acts or speaks in contradiction to the written word it is not from God nor is it His Spirit, because the Holy Spirit would never, ever, speak or do anything contrary to what He has inspired to be written in Scripture.

    These facts are important to understand that when we are controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit we are controlled and guided by the written word and that only.

    Now, that’s why Paul says that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit works within the word of God and not outside of it. It uses the word of God to do what God want s to do in our lives. He gives us God’s wisdom, discernment and knowledge through God’s word and His word only. We don’t need the apostolic spiritual gifts and signs today because we have the word of God and the Holy Spirit still gifts every believer with those gifts through the word. If you need a word of wisdom, know God’s word and seek it there. If you need a word of knowledge, know God’s word and seek it there, if you want spiritual discernment you can have it always, know and seek God’s word and it will still be the Holy Spirit that will empower you to have what He gives through God’s word. The sword of the Spirit is the voice of God and power of God.

    Listen to what Jesus says about this:

    Mark 12:24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

    Can’t know the power of God apart from knowing the Scriptures.

     

    The Holy Spirit therefore is the One who empowers our sword to battle.

    Now that’s why it’s called sword of the Spirit.

    In addition, the sword is not only connected with the belt of truth, but to all the parts of the armor of God. We have seen that the armor is really all interconnected and it has one common denominator, the truth of the word of God. Now we will examine the close connection, the sword is closely connected with the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation for example.

    The shield of faith because as we said our faith is not in abstract theories or mysterious things rather in the very word and promises of God. These are the truth and the word, see the connection? Now, next connected to the helmet of salvation, why? Because as we said the mind of a believer is a battlefield where the enemy tries to wreak havoc and it is there that he tries to destroy us. It is there where he sows doubts and condemnation. First, as we said regarding our salvation, that is the first thing he will attack, the certainty of our standing before God. If he can sow doubts on that he’s got us down for the count and renders us completely ineffective. Secondly it is in the mind that he will try to corrupt our walk, behavior and way of thinking to make us walk in the ways he wants us to walk, in other words in disobedience to God’s word.

     

     

    Affecting our thinking process is how he will make us be conformed to the ways of the world and believe lies instead of God’s truth. In this way he causes us to conform to the world and to accept worldly philosophies.

    This has happened in the church at some frightening levels today because the church has chosen to put the importance of sound doctrine on the back burner. By ignoring the importance of the study and teaching of God’s word the church has instead adopted all types of philosophies and teachings contrary to God’s word and the world has crept in the church and has built a stronghold.

    There are two Scriptures in particular regarding this subject that Paul has written and they are the following ones:

    2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 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;

    Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    These two passages are of utmost importance when we speak of the use of the word of God as a weapon against the schemes of the devil.

    In the first passage we read that our weapons are not carnal. Paul says that although we walk as human beings in our bodies our weapons are not human nor are they physical but mighty through God. In other words we fight with God given spiritual weapons. This is parallel to the passage that we are studying in Ephesians 6, right? Ephesians says:

    Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

    As we see and have already mentioned in the beginning of this study, both our enemies and our weapons are not truly and solely human in nature. Our enemies can be people but only because they are controlled by wicked spiritual forces but the weapons cannot and are not natural and human but mighty through God.

    They are mighty through God to do what? For the pulling down of strongholds, for the casting down of imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and for bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

    Now, let’s think about it, what weapon can we use to do these things mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5? The armor of God and more specifically the shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. With the word of God we are able, if we know how to properly interpret and use it, to pull down the enemy’s fortresses in other words the strongholds. What are these strongholds? They are imaginations, philosophies and ideologies the enemy uses to deceive and confuse. These produce real fortresses in our minds. These things must be cut to pieces and must be destroyed and the weapon we need to do it with is mainly the word of God.

    This actually brings us to the next passage we just read, Romans 12:2, where Paul exhorts us not to be conformed to the ways of the world but to be instead renewed in our mind. So this passage confirms that it is really our way of thinking that needs to be changed, our mind needs to be renewed. Why? Because of the strongholds, the fortresses, the imaginations and the philosophies and ideologies that have entrenched themselves in our mind and have created faulty thinking, worldly thinking, wicked and evil thinking. Only by reprogramming our minds with God’s word we can renew our way of thinking. Only through and with God’s word when the enemy presents himself with his lies and philosophies we, like Jesus did, can withstand these things by knowing, believing and attacking back with the truth of God’s word.

    That is why Paul also says we must bring every thought captive to Christ’s obedience. This in other words means we must test, examine and capture every thought that comes into our head and if it’s not in conformity with God’s word and will we must not accept it and we must reject it. This is the biggest downfall of the believer by the way. Why? Because if we let the thoughts that are contrary to God’s word and will remain in our mind they will corrupt our way of thinking and then affect our behavior and our Christian walk in a very negative way. They will cause us to doubt God, to fail to believe what He says and we will be obeying the lies instead of the truth.

    In computer terms we can explain it this way: our mind is like a hard-drive, when we belong to Satan it’s already programmed by our sinful nature to respond and obey his commands, sin’s commands, that is all we know. When we are saved some of that programming is wiped out but unfortunately our body, which is not redeemed continue to respond to the old program. Our inner man, or born again self is programmed to obey God’s commands and promptings but there is conflicting hard and software in us which causes us to still malfunction at times. The more we allow God’s word though to rewrite God’s program and info on our hard-drive in other words in our mind the more we will respond to God rather than to our body and old programming. However, the enemy besides what he still has programmed in us he also injects other information as a virus inside our programming. Our mind must then be able to be renewed, cleaned, erased by God’s word so that the enemy’s programming will not interfere. This is why Paul says we must renew our minds,this is done exclusively through the knowledge and obedience to God’s word. Bringing every thought into captivity, or prisoner to Christ is like an anti virus program that captures a virus and quarantines it or deletes it completely.

    No wonder Paul says that only when we renew our minds and are not conformed to the ways of the world we will know what is God’s good, perfect and acceptable will.

    God’s will is contained in God’s word. I see so many people struggling to know what God’s will is for their life. Many use the wrong approach to finding out because they do not seek for God’s will in the right place or the right way. The word of God is the right place and doing what Paul says in Romans 12:2 is the right way.

    Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    How do we trust God with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding? By knowing and believing and obeying God’s word. That is how we do it.

    If we conform to the world, if we seek counsel from the wicked and we do not meditate on the wprd of God and our delight is not in the word of the Lord all our decisions will be wrong and outside of the will of God. If we seek Godly counsel, if we seek God’s instruction in God’s word, if we meditate in His word day and night we will be successful according to God’s standards and God will even guide our steps and give us the direction in which to walk when we are not certain.

    This is how the Holy Spirit guides us,there is no other way to know God’s will if not as the word of God itself tells us.

    Let’s also remember that when our desires are lined up with His God will give us the desires of our heart because they will be lined up with His

    Psalms 37:4-5 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

    5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

    As in many other things I believe we complicate how to discern God’s will because we actually don’t know how to discern it according to the Bible.

    In a nutshell, live right, live according to God’s word, know God’s word, seek daily instructions in God’s word, obey it, study it, desire what God desires and also in accordance to the gifts the Holy Spirit has given you, and He will direct you and make things happen. He will guide you into all truth and you will find out His will.

    To many people say: “I want to know what God’s will for my life is!” I ask them, why you don’t know it? Read God’s word and you will know how He wants you to be and what He wants you to do. The problem is that behind that statement of wondering what shrouded mysterious will God has in store for them, they neglect to see and understand what God wants them to do every day of their life, anywhere they are.

    God want you to be like Christ, that’s God’s will for you. It does not matter if He wants you to be in ministry or not, that’s God’s will for every one of His sons and daughters. Be the godly best anything you are and be happy about it. Fulfillment is in doing God’s will always in everything and not seeking to find fulfillment in ministry or same great work or profession. We must find our ultimate fulfillment in being like Jesus always and everywhere God calls us.

    Sometimes, in fact more often than ever God is calling us to do His will in the ordinary hum drum everyday lives we live. God does not call everybody into ministry, God does not call everybody to do great and wondrous things,however God calls every one of His children to live righteous, holy and obedient lives wherever it is he placed us and no matter what He gave us, He seeks for faithfulness not greatness. If we all learned this we would be much more effective in transmitting the message of the Gospel to the world around us.

    In conclusion to the description of the armor of God Paul asks the Ephesians to:

    Ephesians 6:17-18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

    It is the Holy Spirit Himself that helps us to know and properly use the word of God, the sword of the Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit Himself that helps us in our prayers. God’s Spirit is active in our praying in the Spirit and watching through prayer.

    These are two necessary conditions in prayer. We must be vigilant as a guard, as a sentinel who watches carefully and being attentive to all that is happening around them so that we are able to better know what to pray for. The second thing is perseverance. Perseverance in prayer is also very important because it is thus that we must pray, perseverance and patience with resolution, in other words without discouragement and with persistence.

    In addition let me say what praying in the Spirit means and what it does not mean. Praying in the Spirit is not, as many claim, praying in an unknown gibberish who many call the gift of tongues. That is not what praying in the Spirit means.

     

     

    In fact we cannot and should not pray using an unknown gibberish language many delude themselves into thinking it’s some type of Spiritual or angelic language.

    The word of God is clear as to how in every case recorded when a person prayed it was always in the actual language of the person praying. Angels also speak to humans in human languages, and angels when they have a conversation with God it is always recorded in God’s word as a conversation in a language that was understood by the person that was haring it.

    Unknown languages in Scripture are nothing more than a foreign human language and the sign of speaking in tongues Paul explains us clearly what it is and what it is for in 1 Corinthians 14.

    Praying in the Spirit is easily understood if we interpret what it means through God’s word itself.

    As we have seen previously the word of God is the sword of the Spirit, by consequence praying in the Spirit means praying in accordance with God’s will revealed in God’s word. The Holy Spirit therefore guides us into praying as the word of God directs. The Holy Spirit is always and exclusively tied to the word of God. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit in every and all born again believers that teaches us the true meaning of God’s word and that guides us in the understanding of God’s word and that guides us into learning how to pray in accordance with God’s word.

    So as I have said in the beginning, we must learn and be aware every day that we actually can either have these pieces of armor or we must learn how to acquire them by exercising spiritual discipline in our lives. So no, we do not have to sit in front of the mirror pretending to put our armor on but we do need to take inventory in our spiritual walk to ensure that we are actually wearing the entire armor. We will need to sharpen our sword, check our belt and our helmet make sure we have our shield and breastplate and make sure we are wearing our sandals. We will need to train with them and make sure we get good at using our weapons, that is the main thing, we know as children of God we have this armor, we must learn how to use it and train with it.