The Whole Armor of God

Geoffrey Cox

READ : Ephesians 6:14-17

. . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (v. 17)

I wonder if Paul, working one day at his tent-making in Ephesus or Corinth, looked up and saw a fully-armed Roman soldier—clearly fit, well-equipped, and ready to fight. Perhaps such a sight caused his mind to turn to the thought of our warfare in the spiritual realm. Paul had already used the image of a spiritual “breastplate of faith and love,” and a helmet of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Now in Ephesians he develops this metaphor by picturing a full-blown suit of Roman armor.

The belt is truth—not a thin strap but a broad supporting belt, like that of a weightlifter, holding everything together. Truth, in the sense of integrity, reliability, and an openness to God and to others, is what holds the Christian together.

The breastplate of righteousness protects heart and life. Believers are given the perfect righteousness of Christ so that we fight the devil confident in our salvation, but we must also develop a righteous and holy life of our own.

The tough working sandals on which Roman soldiers marched across the empire are for taking the gospel anywhere and everywhere. The shield—both faith in Jesus and the faith of Jesus—and helmet complete the defensive protection, while the sword of God’s Word on our lips and in our lives is our weapon on offense.


Lord, help me to put on your whole armor.