The armor of God, and time travel to the Roman Empire
Imagine that we could travel back in time to somewhere around 50-100 A.D, and all of a sudden, you find yourself among one of the groups of roman soldiers in the middle of battle at the front lines to expand Rome’s territory. One of your close friends has also come along, someone you know who is a follower of Jesus Christ. Your friend tells you, “the physical armor that we get from Rome may protect us in battle against our enemies, but don’t ever forget to put on the armor of God, which is the armor that the Holy Spirit can give to you. Our battle is not only against other humans, but against the invisible powers of the devil, worldly influence, and our own sinful nature.”
During the existence of the Roman Empire some two-thousand years ago, soldiers who went into battle would have suited up with a full coat of armor (as seen in the photo above), unlike modern soldiers of our time. Imagine what could happen if a roman soldier would have fought in a battle without parts of his armor; he would most likely end up getting injured or even killed in a short time. Thus, the physical armor that was worn by soldiers of the Roman Empire was essential to ensure their protection and readiness in times of war.
Believe it or not, our world today is a constant battle, an invisible one that we do not see with our own eyes. For many people, simply the thought of getting up out of bed every Monday morning feels like a struggle that can seem so difficult to overcome. However, for us Christians, every day is a battle to persevere in our faith, but it is a battle that is worth it in the end, as Jesus Christ himself tells us in Revelation 2:10, “be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” The Bible also affirms Jesus’ words in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”
What is this crown of life that the Bible speaks of? From the text above, we are told that we will receive this crown of life as a promise from God, only if we are faithful even at the point of death, and having persevered under trials or hardship. This crown of life must be special since it asks us some pretty difficult things to do; therefore, we’ll finish talking about what the crown is at the end of this article. First, we have to understand what it means to persevere as followers of Jesus Christ (the armor of God is a key piece to the puzzle), and from there, we will be able to fully appreciate the magnitude of God’s promise that he provides from this crown.
What Is The Armor Of God?
When we first get to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are filled with so much joy, realizing the magnitude, depth, and grandness of the sacrifice that Jesus did on behalf of us for our sins on the cross. The promise of eternal life with God thanks to Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has given us hope for this present life. However, even with this amazing promise, as Christians we soon realize that the world we live in today is so wicked, filled with so much evil, pain, and suffering all around us, that we may feel as though God has abandoned us to fend for ourselves. This kind of thinking could not be further from the truth.
God has promised us in the Bible, his word, “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10. Jesus himself also told his disciples, and speaking to us believers, “behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matthew 28:20. It is true however that the world we live in today has been cursed and tainted by the sin of the first humans on earth, Adam and Eve (Genesis 3 describes this account in greater detail). As a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden, sin entered into the world, and the sin of mankind has rapidly multiplied, with its influence and consequences visible all around us.
Even though we suffer from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God has promised to take care of us on this earth now and when Jesus comes back to Earth for the second time. Since Jesus has not returned back to Earth yet, we must live our lives here in eager anticipation for His return and remain faithful to Him as we fight through each day. Just as Rome provided physical armor to their soldiers, thankfully, God has provided the “armor of God” for us as his followers. God will be there with us always, but it is up to us to put on this armor in order to be effective soldiers as we fight an invisible battle.
The main passage of this article and in subsequent ones will help us contemplate what exactly is the armor of God. The apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Church of Ephesus the following:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-18
It is clear from this passage that the armor of God involves a set of different pieces of armor that we as Christians must put on in order to “stand against the schemes of the devil.” Unlike physical armor that is worn by the human body, the armor of God we put on as Christians is spiritual, and we must constantly remember to actively put it on.
Why Is God’s Armor So Important?
Why do we need to put on the armor of God constantly? What happens if you decide to take some parts off? Remember back to earlier in the article when we spoke about what would happen if a roman soldier had taken off his armor during battle. Likewise, if you as a Christian ever decide to take parts of your armor off, you risk getting injured not on a physical level, but on a spiritual one.
It is crucial as believers in Jesus Christ to wear the whole armor of God at all times. Taking off one or a few pieces of God’s armor would allow Satan, the world, and your own sinful desires to take hold and influence your life in ways that can take you away from God’s presence. The armor of God is meant to protect us from the evil that comes from the devil, the world, and our sinful nature, so it would be foolish to ever consider taking this armor off.
We can remember to always put on the armor of God by remembering that each day we are living through spiritual warfare. The moment you open your eyes from sleep and get out of bed each day, sinful temptations will arise to try and attack by shaking your faith in Jesus Christ. To prevent harm to our spiritual life and relationship to God, we must carefully understand what each of the pieces of the armor of God is, and then put them on.
Pieces Of The Armor Of God
In Ephesians 6:10-18, we see that six different pieces make up the armor of God. They are the following:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Righteousness
- Shoes of the Gospel
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit
The names of each piece, and the order in which they are listed from the passage are important details that will be addressed in greater detail in subsequent articles. In essence, each of the six pieces of the armor of God is a metaphorical reference to the armor that roman soldiers wore during the time of Jesus two thousand years ago, and each piece has a connection to a specific spiritual truth that you can learn about in the next few articles.
Are You Protected?
Now that you have the basic understanding that we as Christians will experience daily spiritual battles, you will realize that you need the armor of God to protect yourself. The details of the spiritual battles that you can face, as well as details of each piece in the armor of God, will be covered in the next article. The next time you meet up with family members, friends, or other people on the streets, especially other fellow believers of Jesus Christ, share with them about the armor of God, as they need to be constantly reminded about how important it is to always have the spiritual protection from the armor of God to deflect any attacks from the devil, the world, and human sinful nature.