An Extract from “The Bondage Breaker” by Neil T. Anderson
Pages 95-102 concerning: The Armor of God
“Dressed for Battle
Because we are in a spiritual battle, Paul chose to explain our protection in Christ by using the imagery of armor:
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17).
When we put on the armor of God, we are putting on the armor of light, which is the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:12-14). When we put on Christ, we take ourselves out of the
realm of the flesh, where we are vulnerable to attack. Satan has nothing in Christ (John 14:30), and to the extent that we put on Christ, the evil one cannot touch us (1 John 5:18). He can only touch that which is on his own level. That’s why we are commanded, “Make no provision for the flesh” (Romans 13:14) that would give the devil an opening for attack.
Armor You Have Already Put On:-
It would appear from the verb tenses in Ephesians 6:14,15 that three of the pieces of armor — belt, breastplate, and shoes — are already on you: “having girded,” “having put on,” “having shod.” These pieces of armor represent the elements of your protection made available when you receive Jesus Christ and in which you are commanded to stand firm. The, past tense of the verb, “having,” signifies that the action it refers to was completed before we were commanded to stand firm. That’s the logical way a soldier would prepare for action: He would put on his belt, breastplate, and shoes before attempting to stand firm. Likewise, we are to put on the full armor of God after having already put on Christ.
The belt of truth.
Jesus said, “I am.. .the truth” (John 14:6). And because Christ is in you, the truth is in you. The belt of truth is our defense against Satan’s primary weapon, which is deception. “Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). The belt of truth (which holds the other pieces of body armor in place) is continually being attacked.
I believe that lying is the number one social problem in America. Ironically, most people lie to protect themselves. But Paul says that truth is our first line of defense. Truth is never an enemy — it is a liberating friend. Facing the truth is the first step in any recovery program. You have to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) if you want to live free in Christ and have meaningful relationships.
The only thing a Christian ever has to admit to is the truth. If a thought comes to mind which is not in harmony with God’s truth, dismiss it. If an opportunity comes along to say or do something which compromises or conflicts with truth, avoid it. Adopt a simple rule for living: If it’s the truth, I’m in; if it’s not the truth, count me out.
Jesus prayed, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). How? “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy Word is truth” (verse 17). You overcome the father of lies with divine revelation, not human reasoning or research.
The breastplate of righteousness.
When you put on Christ at salvation, you are justified before our holy God (Romans 5:1). It’s not your righteousness but Christ’s righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:8,9). Putting on the breastplate of righteousness is your defense against the accuser of the brethren. So when Satan alms an arrow at you by saying, “You’re not good enough to be a Christian,” you can respond with Paul, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies” (Romans 8:33).
Even though we stand on our righteous position in Christ, we should be aware of any deeds of unrighteousness. We are saints who sin. Putting on the armor of light means we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:6-8). Walking in the light is not sinless perfection. It means living in continuous agreement with God. It is part of our growth process. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Confession is not saying “I’m sorry.” Many people are sorry, but usually they are sorry they got caught, and even then they will only acknowledge as little as they have to. To confess (homologeo in Greek) means to acknowledge or to agree. It is very similar to the concept of walking in the light. To confess means you say, “I did it,” the moment you are aware you have done something wrong. Covering up anything is the same as walking in the dark.
You can walk in the light because you’re already forgiven. You are the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Your relationship with God and your eternal destiny are not at stake when you sin, but your daily victory is. Your confession of sin clears the way for the fruitful expression of righteousness in your daily life. We should be like Paul, who said, “I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men” (Acts 24:16).
The shoes of peace.
When you receive Christ, you are united with the Prince of Peace. You have positional peace with God right now (Romans 5:1), but the peace of Christ must also rule in your heart, and that is possible only when you let the Word of Christ richly dwell in you (Colossians 3:15,16).
The shoes of peace become protection against the divisive schemes of the devil when you act as a peacemaker among believers (Romans 14:19). Peacemakers bring people together. Peacemakers encourage fellowship and have a ministry of reconciliation. They understand that fellowship and unity in the body of Christ are based on common heritage. True believers are children of God, and that’s enough to bring us together in peace. If you wait to receive someone until you agree perfectly on every point of doctrine, you’ll be the loneliest Christian on earth. We need to work at “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). We have the promise that “the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20).
The Rest of the Armor:-
Paul mentions three more pieces of armor that we must take up to protect ourselves from Satan’s attack: the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The first three are established by our position in Christ; the last three help us continue winning the battle.
The shield of faith.
The object of our faith is God and His Word. The more you know about God and His Word, the more faith you will have. The less you know, the smaller your shield will be, and the easier it will be for one of Satan’s fiery darts to reach its target. If you want your shield of faith to grow large and protective, your knowledge of God and His Word must increase (Romans 10:17).
These flaming missiles from Satan are nothing more than smoldering lies, burning accusations, and fiery temptations bombarding our minds. Whenever you discern a deceptive thought, accusation, or temptation, meet it head-on with what you know to be true about God and His Word. How did Jesus deflect the missiles of Satan’s temptation? By shielding Himself with statements from the Word of God. Every time you memorize a Bible verse, listen to a sermon, or participate in a Bible study, you increase your knowledge of God and enlarge your shield of faith.
The helmet of salvation.
Should your shield of faith be a little leaky and your daily victory elusive, be confident that the helmet of salvation guarantees your eternal victory. In the metaphor of armor, the helmet also secures coverage for the most critical part of your anatomy: your mind, where spiritual battles are either won or lost. As you struggle with the world, the flesh, and the devil on a daily basis, stand firm, knowing that your salvation is not based on your good works, but on the good works of Christ You are a child of God, and nothing can separate you from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35).
The temptation is to doubt our salvation when under attack. But the Christian warrior wears the helmet of salvation in the sense that he is the receiver and possessor of deliverance, clothed and armed in the victory of his Head, Jesus Christ. Since we are joined to the Lord Jesus Christ, the devil has no legitimate claim on us, for Christ has “delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). Be assured of your salvation. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16).
The sword of the Spirit.
The Word of God is the only offensive weapon in the armor of Goth Paul uses rhema instead of logos for “word” in Ephesians 6:17 because he wants to emphasize the spoken word of God. There is only one Word of God, but the Greek word rhema brings in the idea of proclamation. For instance, Paul says in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of Christ.” It is appropriate to use rhema in this context because the emphasis is on preaching the good news and hearing it.
Our defense against direct attacks by the evil one is to speak aloud God’s truth. Why is it so important to speak God’s Word, in addition to believing it and thinking it? Because Satan is not omniscient, and he doesn’t perfectly know what you’re thinking. By observing you, he can pretty well tell what you are thinking, just as any student of human behavior can. But he doesn’t know what you’re going to do before you do it. If you pay attention to a deceiving spirit (1 Timothy 4:1), he is putting thoughts into your mind, and he will know whether you buy his lie by how you behave. It is not hard for him to tell what you are thinking if he has given you the thought.
If you have read this book, I have put thoughts in your mind. But I can’t read your thoughts. Similarly, Satan can try to influence you by planting thoughts in your mind, but he can’t perfectly read your thoughts. You are ascribing too much power to Satan if you think he can perfectly read your mind and know the future. Every occultic practice claims to know the mind (or influence it) or predict the future. But only God knows the thoughts and intents of your mind, and only He knows the future. You should never ascribe the divine attributes of God to Satan.
You can communicate silently with God in your mind and spirit because He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart (Hebrews 4:12). You can have unspoken communion with your heavenly Father. However, should you come under a direct attack from Satan, for instance in your room at night, you will need to exercise your authority in Christ by speaking out loud, since the evil one does not have the power to completely know your thoughts. The good news is that most direct attacks occur at night and when you are alone, so verbally resisting Satan won’t be a matter of public spectacle.
Paul says, “With the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:10). Since you know your own thoughts and God also knows them, then why does verbal confession result in salvation? Paul could be saying that saving faith is not complete until the will is exercised, but he could also be implying the need for the god of this world to hear our commitment.
While conducting conferences, I have asked those in attendance the following question: “How many of you have awakened suddenly at night with an overwhelming sense of fear? You may have felt a pressure on your chest or something grabbing your throat. You tried to respond physically but you couldn’t say anything.” I have never seen less than a third of the people raise their hands, acknowledging that they have experienced a spiritual attack like this.
If we can’t seem to speak, how do we resolve this kind of attack? First, to stand against the attack does not require physical effort on our part, because “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4). The initial flesh response to such an attack is usually fear — but it is not the fear of God. You can try to get out of this yourself, but chances are you will only lie there and squirm for awhile.
Second, notice the order of Scripture in James: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). You can always turn to God with all your heart and with all your mind, because your heavenly Father is omniscient, and He knows your heart and your thoughts. The moment you call upon the name of the Lord, you will be free to resist the devil. All you have to say is “Jesus.” Such times reveal how dependent upon God we really are.