So far, we have just began to touch on the subject of the armor of God and exactly what it is. We have discussed it’s divine purpose for us and why we need it. We must keep this idea in mind as we are studying the elements of the armor to make sense of it all in the end. Remember, it is not physical armor we wear but a spiritual and mental armor we wear on our hearts and mind to defend against the forces of evil and stand firm through persecution and hardships. This time, we will finally dive in to the individual parts Paul points out in this armor and exactly what they mean for us today. Let’s begin.
Ephesians 6:14 starts out by saying, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,”. We spent all of last time discussing how important those two words “stand firm” are and to remember that concept as we discuss the elements. The first piece of armor that we come across is that “belt of truth”. There are so many little implications here. First, let’s just define what truth is. What is truth? Well, Jesus said it best in John 14:6 when he says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus defines truth as being Himself. Christ is truth, the message of the gospel is truth. The crucifixion, the resurrection, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life are truths that lie within the embodiment and idea of Christ Jesus. The truth will also set us free according to Jesus in John 8:32. The truth about Jesus gives us the freedom from bondage of sin and death and gives us the gift of eternal life. So we have this idea of truth and what truth is in that it is Jesus and the gospel. But what about the descriptions of the truth? These have implication in and of themselves.
Notice that the truth is mentioned first. This is vitally important. Without knowledge of the truth and what it is, the rest of the armor becomes useless to us. Without having the foundation of truth, the rest of the armor falls apart. This is why it most likely described as a belt. A Roman soldier’s belt was not a fashion statement in it’s day. The belt had specific purposes. For one, it held up the garments underneath and so we get this image of truth, holding up and being the foundation for all the other pieces of armor we have. Truth is the foundation in which we build upon and increase our faith. Here, it is presented as the foundation for which we guard and build upon to defend against the forces of evil all around us. Whenever those doubts creep in, we go back to our foundation, we run back to the truth. The belt also had another use for the soldier. It held the soldier’s weapons and usually it was a sword the soldier would carry. So the belt held the soldier’s sword in battle. Paul also mentions a sword later on and he says it is the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. So in this spiritual armor, the belt of truth holds the sword of the Spirit or the sword of the word of God. The belt in this analogy is holding the word of God, linking the truth to the word of Almighty God (John 17:17). We also get this idea of “buckling” or “strapping” around the waist. This wording gives the impression of security and firmness. The truth should never slip from our minds are get away from us and fall down. The truth should be a part of us, always with us, reminding us of the love and goodness of Jesus Christ. The belt is also placed around the waist, which would be the center of the body. This implies truth being at the center of our lives as defend and stand firm against the forces of evil in this world.
The next piece of our spiritual armor that we read about is the breastplate of righteousness. To conclude Ephesians 6:14 it says, “with the breastplate of righteousness in place,”. What is this piece of armor all about? Most of us don’t use the word “breastplate” in our everyday vocabulary so we have to get an idea about what it was and what its function was for the Roman soldier. A breastplate for a soldier was a piece of the armor that they wore over their chest to protect vital organs needed for life like the heart, lungs, etc. This breastplate was attached to the soldier’s belt that we just discussed. If the belt was in place, the breastplate stayed on tight, but if the belt was loose, the breastplate would slip off and the soldier would be unprotected. We can start to see some implication here, spiritually but let’s first define what righteousness is here to better understand. We must understand that Paul is not referring to a breastplate of our own righteousness, but rather it is the breastplate of the righteousness of God that He gives us and we wear. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” It is the righteousness of God that makes up the breastplate. If it were our own righteousness that made up the plate, it would fail because, “No one is righteous-not even one” (Romans 3:10). So it has to be God’s righteousness that gives us the protection from evil, to resist and defend against evil.
Now, going back to the relationship between the belt and the breastplate. The belt holds the breastplate in place. Spiritually, the truth holds righteousness in place and allows for a stable foundation. If we don’t have the truth, then we don’t become the righteousness of God and it falls. What’s left is our own righteousness and that is not to protect us and we fall into temptation and the enemy has a hold. The belt and the breastplate, truth and righteousness go hand-in-hand here and that is what Paul is expressing right here. Truth is the foundation, and righteousness of God protects our inmost being.