Introduction (Updated ~ Sept., 2018)
For the mature Christian, we understand that we are NOT simply to do the right thing according to God’s word, but to do it the right way, and at the right time – God’s time.
The hardest thing for a trained veteran soldier to do is to stand waiting for the order to go into battle. It is unfortunate when the new recruit prematurely goes into battle before the captain has worked out all the preparation, which also includes their training, to fight in heavy combat.
It is in understanding this that we take great heed to what Paul says in Ephesians 6:13 (KJV):
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
What we must understand is that according to this passage, we are to put on the whole armor of God in order to “withstand” (Greek: anthistemi, G436), which means to: resist, oppose, or the literal: “to stand”; “in the evil day.”
We must understand that Christ is the One Who has already fought the battle and won (He is the only one that could save us), it is our responsibility to hold our ground and to do what work He brings to us to do, but we can do nothing to achieve our own righteousness, our own salvation; this war has been won by our Savior and Captain Jesus Christ when He died on the cross 2000 years ago for our sins.
But what we should note is that once we are prepared, having taken on the “whole armor of God” (not our armor, but His); we are to “stand.”
What an act of humility for a veteran soldier, to follow orders and stand rather than to jump into the heat of battle.
Yet, this is our primary battle plan wherein Christ will let us know what we are to do, but it is our responsibility to be prepared and ready to do in a minute’s notice what He will order by simply standing until that point.
The Whole Armor of God
Ephesians 6:13-18 (KJV) States:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) 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”.
Soldiers Become Soldiers by Studying
It is common for many believers to think that they automatically have this armament on because they are believers. While certain armament are presented when we are saved, others must be gained through study, training, and discipline.
Soldiers Become Soldiers by Training
The presumption that you don’t need to do any more concerning these armaments, that you possess them without any discipline or training, will lead you into spiritual and emotional defeat in small battles.
The war has been won, but while we are walking this earth we still have battles dealing with spiritual powers and entities of our opponent who seeks to blaspheme Christ by displaying our bad behavior and make us of no strength through ignorance, laziness, a lack of preparation, and compromise.
These are armaments that involve taking actions that the believer must do if he is to equip himself.
Practice does not make Perfect – Only Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
We have a responsibility to dig deep into God’s word, and understand in detail those things that in the past we may have dismissed as too complicated.
By way of example, not knowing or understanding the atonement means you cannot explain adequately to someone regarding what salvation really is.
Merely, handing somebody a tract and asking him to accept Jesus is not properly making ourselves ready by digging into God’s word in understanding what is the “preparation of the gospel of peace.“
FAITH, AS AN EXAMPLE OF WHY WE ALL NEED TO DIG HARD AND DEEP INTO GOD’S WORD
Simply because a believer has the shield of faith (See Footnote #2), does not mean they know how to utilize the shield.
How many presumptuous Christians stand in front of their shield, presenting their own self-righteousness as if they have the power to resist the evil one, misunderstanding that they must stand behind that shield, but they also must know what that shield is, in order to use it correctly, so as to NOT simply stand behind it, but to use it defensively and offensively.
There is a very involved training regiment on how you hold the shield with one arm and wield the sword with another, how that you can sweep to the left and pivot and then sweep to the right while protecting yourself while moving around your opponent to attack him on his unprotected backside.
There are certain moves you must know to engage in when a chariot is heading for you, whose axles protrude out from the wheel and are sharpened, so that by driving within a few feet of you they cut off your leg and take you out of the battle. We simply don’t have the time to address the myriad of ways that there are to train simply with your shield. It is the novelist that thinks he knows it all whose shield will not serve the purpose that is meant to serve, who will be taken out of that battle prematurely, not affecting the victory for his king that he was meant to achieve.
Almost all Christians that I know cannot explain what Biblical faith truly is, not in a way that they could explain to a person that wasn’t raised in church, or that does not understand Christian concepts, models, symbols, figures of speech, nomenclature, expressions or terms; Wherein most believer themselves do not comprehend the meaning of these things mysterious issues that God presents with in His word.
Superficially, they can say faith is trust, but they can’t explain why God mandates it, what it truly is, break it down into any components to make it easier to understand, explain how it works, or why it works as a principal of the human condition in which every person on earth must utilize it as the foundation of every relationship they were ever have – that humans cannot exist without faith, rather there a believer or not.
And when it comes to giving examples displaying faith, normally the only ones they can give are where petitions our met by God (Or where they give a technical definition as in Hebrews 11:1, instead of a down to earth description of its components, which displays its function of how and why faith works.), where God will save someone in some way; yet they cannot explain it from the standpoint of somebody losing everything in life, even in the most superficial of situations, such as discussing Job.
They have to hyper-spiritualize it, or nullify the true essence of the message.
Never even realizing that the greatest statement made by a human man was stated by Job, when he stated, “Though He shall slay me, yet will I keep my trust in Him...”
They can’t give any examples of the kind of situations nor what is the relationship that their biblical faith has to their own day-to-day walk in their service to their king. Therefore, they cannot describe in commonsense terms how losing creates a winner, and how that giving away creates gain,
Or how God can use the back-side of the desert and murder by an Egyptian prince, to become a great spiritual leader that saves his people because of his faith and submission to God.
Or how a juvenile falsely imprisoned for 13 years, can forgive his brothers and see that God utilized the situation to make him the Prime Minister of Egypt in order to save his family during an upcoming famine. Who said the most gracious words regarding the sin of his brothers when he stated “you meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”
Or that even denying the Lord creates a humble heart for someone who is to lead the church of Jesus Christ.
Or that God can and will use EVERYTHING in a believer’s life, even their sin, to cause them to come to closer to Him and become stronger, if they will allow it.
I cannot tell you of how many hundreds of super spiritual individuals I’ve known that drop the name of Jesus every chance they get to impress others, always saying praise the Lord our God bless you (Forgetting Abraham’s word that only the greater blesses the lesser, as if they get out blessings from God in a sanctimonious manner. I’ve learned to pray for God’s blessing on people but I don’t need to tell them about it in a bragging manner) but that when things turn wrong, they can’t understand why this evil is happening to them, displaying a complete lack of Biblical faith.
I watch ministers all around me falling due to either lustful temptation, self-righteousness which leads to spiritual decline where they use every psychological ploy as an excuse to rationalize their sin, yet all displaying a lack of real understanding when it comes to what Biblical faith truly means.
I’m aware that these words are very harsh, and it is why so many will read articles about subjects on my blog site that they are curious about or having a problem with, but yet pass by the articles regarding “faith” or “salvation,” thinking they already know the subject matter yet displaying their immaturity when devastation comes, and it will come.
Yet, I correspond with dozens of these individuals via email when tragedy comes into their life and they can’t understand why God has abandoned them, or so they say.
Attempting to again lay down the elementary doctrines of the Bible which becomes hard work, attempting to understand in greater depth what God wishes us to know in order to make disciples of all men. How easy it seems to hand out tracks and to make converts, yet we were not told to make converts of all men, we were told to make students of all men, necessitating digging deep into God’s word.
Not simply spending a few minutes of our extra time introducing into the kingdom, but being willing to sacrificially put them first, spending time with them taking them by the hand and going deep into God’s word to teach them as disciples, as our Savior has commanded us to do.
God has put me in an environment where I watch people die, believers and unbelievers alike. Weeping with those that weep, and attempting to convey the love of God when people have lost their loved ones, grandparents, soul-mates for five or six decades, and babies.
So please excuse my harshness when it comes to those of us within the body of Christ that have it so good, and have become so lazy and self-serving. It is by the grace of God that we all live another day.
Getting on the Soapbox
Please allow me to fall off my soapbox as these words have been true in my own life as well, I acknowledge I am a terrible sinner saved only by the grace of God, indebted did Jesus more than I could ever say.
The Soldiers Education
Most Christians are not prepared concerning the armament which is to be their protection so that we can stand, as well as their protection when they are ordered to go into battle.
If any of these articles of spiritual warfare are damaged, it is between the battles that we are to use God’s Word to repair them.
If there is an issue within our theology that troubles us, we need to get into God’s Word and figure it out – fix it before the battle starts up again, and also humble ourselves by seeking the wise counsel of wise Bible teachers’ insights.
Ephesians 6:13-18 (KJV) States:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”.
Defining the Armament
Within the context of this Scripture, the following definition of the armaments and their symbols are as follows:
1. Truth = The Inerrancy, Trustworthiness and completeness of God’s Word.
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus what truth was (John 18:38). However, his lack of integrity is seen in the fact that Jesus had just told him what truth was, and he could not understand it, nor showed a willingness to attempt to do so; as Jesus had just stated in John 18:37.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou safest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
We must understand that it is God’s Word, the Holy Bible which not only holds truth, but IS THE TRUTH. Moreover, it is not enough to read the truth, or even to comprehend the truth, but to stand under the truth and submit to the truth for Jesus also said:
“That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (Joh 3:15-21)
It is only the child of God, as Jesus stated in John 3:3 which has the ability to submit to the truth, but must also have the desire to submit and stand under the word of God.
2. Righteousness = The breastplate of righteousness, that protects our vital organs is Christ’s righteousness, not our own. We must understand that it is the Divinity of Jesus as the only begotten Son of God, and Him dying for our sins that is the only righteous aspect of our lives. To think that the marginalizing of our own righteousness leads to sinfulness displays a carnal perspective.
3. The Gospel = Understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the atonement & propitiation. First Corinthians 15:1 through five literally defines the essence of what the good news is when it states:
We must also remember what 1st Corinthians 15:14, says;
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures”
Some would say that this literal presentation by Paul of the Gospel is too simple, too simplistic, too narrow; regarding all that the gospel message entails. Yet what must be noticed is that the facts of the gospel, “that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day” is sandwiched in between the expression: ”according to the Scripture.”
Meaning that the Gospel entails all of God’s Word which Jesus validated in his teaching as he stated in John 5:39, which states:
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”
Therefore it is all of God’s Word that contains the Gospel. There are those that say they only follow the four Gospels without following the Scripture (which is, the law, prophets, and the writings), while also avoiding the New Testament. Yet what has Christ Himself stated in Revelation 22:18-19 (See #2); therefore everything written in the Old Testament and the New Testament all pertains to the good news of salvation to all men as seen in the grace of God, made possible by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, which paid for man’s redemption as appropriated through faith.
4. Faith = Thoroughly research Biblical faith, it is not primarily about petitioning God, it is the foundation of your relationship with Him, trusting He is in complete control of your life no matter what it looks like the current time. Some preach that salvation is a condition, understanding that a condition is usually temporary or at the least conditional upon certain requirements being maintained. However, salvation is a relationship. It is becoming a child of God and is human nature is based upon the essence of God’s imagness, even in a fallen state, we are social creatures, where relationships are not simply a luxury but a necessity. And as God has so wisely designed the most important, healthy, necessity in any relationship is built upon the basis or foundation of faith.
Any and every human being that you ever interact with on this earth, will be on the basis of faith. Rather it is a short-term experience, and experience over the Internet or any other form of communication, or concerning friendships and family; faith is a complete and singular necessity to maintaining healthy relationships. If you are walking through a door that is being held open by a stranger, while you are carrying boxes; you exercise faith, which is simply trust if you walk through the door believing they will keep it open for you. If you believe that your post man is stealing your mail, you will take certain actions to see if this is valid. If you believe your neighbor is stealing your newspaper, you will do the same. If you believe your employer is shorting you, you will always examine your paycheck in detail.
We don’t get in the cabs that we think are being driven by terrorist. We won’t get into an airplane if we witness that they are drunk and incapable of flying the plane. Rather we show no faith or we show faith both are necessary for the evaluation of any relationship we will ever have with another human being. Faith is the most important ingredient in any and every relationship you will ever have while in this body. All that faith is his simple trust. It is what every parent wants from their child when they sacrificed so much for them, it is what every newlywed expects, desires and his broken heart it if not delivered. We become born-again believers not by faith, but by grace; yet it is faith that gives us the ability to approach and receive that grace. We never trade faith for salvation, yet we will never have salvation without the key to grace which is faith. Faith is much more than a religious term, it is the foundation of every and any relationship we will ever have with another person, animal, thing, or entity.
5. Salvation = Study & thoroughly understand Biblical salvation, it is vain without understanding. Understanding you’re saved for eternity, not temporarily, because Jesus when explaining his gift to man always refer to it as “everlasting life.” He never refers to it as anything that is temporal or conditional, which is what a condition is but it is a relationship, not earned or achieved by us, nor is it maintained or held by us. It is a gift of God which we could never deserve but which he gives freely to those which are his children, who respond in faith, yet are held by his power, not our own.
It is this understanding that purifies our motives, and increases our faith; without such we become either self-righteous, or stagnant. You will never have spiritual growth without intimacy with the Lord and you will never experience intimacy with any human being without faith. Those that live their lives as supposedly Christians based upon meeting conditions must always fear a loss because of their own inability, wherein intimacy is impossible without complete trust. This is why we are saved by faith through God’s grace, and that not of ourselves is a gift of God.
6. Word Of God = Studying & understanding God’s Word mandates intensity and devotion. Having God’s word regurgitated for 40 minutes every Sunday morning is not enough. You won’t know God and what He wants unless you study His book in detail.
7. Prayer = prayer is not mainly about asking for things, it’s about getting our heads right in gratitude and acceptance. Prayer only necessitates time, which is based upon commitment and discipline. It also clarifies the authority of God in His ability and desire to not only meet our needs, but to aid us in growing in our discipleship based upon faith in Him.
Understanding God’s Word is a lifelong pursuit, and without such, a soldier has no ability to protect himself or to gain ground in the enemy’s territory
What is most prominent in this passage in Ephesians is that repeated use of the word “stand.” You’ll notice it does not tell us to run into warfare, to March, or to even fight. What does the Scripture say, who’s is the battle according to 2nd Chronicles 20:15:
“He said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s this does not mean we will not be under attack or ever have to fight, but God has already won the battle so having done all you stand.
We don’t run away, we don’t re-group, form our own strategy, or become our own leaders we are to stand at attention waiting for him to either give us guidance or to do everything himself, but having done all we must continue to stand it is the ultimate act of faith.
Any immature boot camp trainee wants to run into battle feeling self-confident. It is the tried-and-true mature spiritual believer that waits for the direction of his commander, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We stand based upon one thing. It is our faith in HIM to secure us from all evil, and to keep us safe, HE will never let us down.”
Our training is in God’s word, yet also in following teachers that God has presented before us, in humility leaning upon the Holy Spirit by studying God’s word and its doctrines as seen in theology. Such as studying: God Proper, the Trinity, Salvation, Eternal Security, Christ’ Righteousness, Christ’s Incarnation, the true definition of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life, biblical faith based upon a relationship with God, wherein we trust Him no matter how bad the events of our lives become, along with a myriad of other doctrines (#3), that the child of God becomes a soldier of the Lord
1. The Power of Faith when Believers Ban Together
This is called the turtle. It is one of the many advances that the Roman military had achieved in utilizing their armament by constantly preparing and training. This particular routine was used when their opposing forces were approaching on chariots, wherein the turtle would protect them from the horseman, as well as the arrows coming overhead.
This reminds me of what it’s like to be with a group of believers when they are committed in faith to fulfilling God’s will in their community.
2. Revelation 22:18-19
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
And Deuteronomy 4:2
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”
3. Systematic Theology
Theology Proper – The study of the character of God
Bibliology – The study of the bible
Christology – The study of Christ
Pneumatology – The study of the Holy Spirit
Soteriology – The study of salvation
Anthropology – The study of the nature of humanity
Hamartiology – The study of sin
Angelology – The study of angels
Ecclesiology – The study of the church
Eschatology – The study of the end times
Misthology – The study of rewards
Israelolgy – That study of Israel