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A meditation on Ephesians 6:10-17


Paul’s final teaching point in Ephesians is ‘be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ [6:10]. If we keep this introductory command in our minds we will better understand the ‘armor of God’ that he commands us to put on.  

Paul is not describing spiritual qualities that must be evident in our lives before we can stand against the evil one. Rather he is describing the mighty power of the Lord which alone is our strength. The armor is God’s power¸ not our personal spiritual or moral qualities.  

God’s power, God’s armor, is our only hope when confronted by spiritual enemies: the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  

This powerful armor that God provides for our protection, defense, and stability consists of:

[1] The ‘belt’ of God’s truth, personally identified and revealed in Jesus Christ his Son; [John 14:6; 8:32]

[2] The ‘breastplate’ - God’s gift of perfect righteousness, credited to those who believe in Christ, and by which those who believe in Christ are acquitted [Romans 4:22-24]

[3] The shoes - the permanent, present standing of peace with God proclaimed in the gospel, and flowing out from his gift of righteousness [justification], that gives us stability, enabling us to stand firm under attack by the accuser [Romans 5:1; Colossians 1:20]

[4] The ‘shield’ – the content of biblical faith – the Greek text reads ‘the faith’. ‘The faith’ – the message of Christ and his salvation which we believe. The value and power of faith is not in itself but in its object.  

[5] The ‘helmet’ of salvation – all that Jesus has comprehensively achieved for us through his life, death and resurrection, that protects our minds against all false human traditions and ideologies. 

[6] The sword of the Spirit – the word of God, our defence and protection against the devil's temptations and accusations. 

This armor of God, this power of God, is what we have to ‘put on’. It is this gospel power, revealed in the person and work of Christ which alone enables us to stand when confronted by the accusing, deceptive and destructive attacks of the enemy.  

We do not depend for our protection and stability on our own personal honesty, our own personal righteousness, our own feelings of peace, the quality or quantity of our personal faith, but on the power of God which lifted us with Christ out of death and condemnation into life and peace. 

[In the following weeks we will be looking at each individual aspect of the armor of God.]


Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006, 2011