The Belt

December 4, 2015

boxing

36 years ago today I was in the country of Nicaragua, as an “instructor” for the U.S. Military, today I had lunch with 9 other members of our merry little band. The subject was the T-shirts we designed for this little event; “different jungle-different war” and why Clausewitz who wrote one of the greatest books on military tactics, it should still be read today, along with the “Art of War” and “the “Book of Five Rings”. None of these are Christian books, but if you are interested in winning all battles, these are mandatory reading.

So our topic is spiritual warfare, I would recommend you read Walter Wink’s mulit-volume set on the topic, (the only ‘modern’ book I recommend) I would not recommend any book written on the topic that has been written since 1915. The classic would be E.M. Bounds classic The Guide to Spiritual Warfare; any book written after the Pentecostal movement started or more modern books are more trash than good and you put yourself at risk, mentally and spiritually.

 

Putting on the full armor of God involves two aspects. The first aspect looks at putting on the full armor whereas the second aspect looks at each individual piece. When we decide to follow the Lord Jesus in spiritual warfare and submit to Him, in one sense we put on the full armor. This does not necessarily mean that every piece is fully in place, needing no more adjustment, but that the armor as a whole is in place. When we first trust Christ as our Savior, we become identified with Him and receive His righteousness. This condition is called positional sanctification or positional holiness. Because our position is “in Christ,” in the eyes of God we are credited and clothed with His perfect righteousness.

Yet, although we are positionally righteous and holy, we still sin and we still need to grow as Christians. This growth process is known as progressive sanctification. It is the progressive, sequential, daily walk of the believer in which he gradually learns the principles of God’s Word, applies them consistently, and advances toward spiritual maturity. To summarize, positional sanctification is putting on the full armor of God whereas progressive sanctification focuses on each piece of the armor.

 

The armor that Paul described in Ephesians 6 contains six pieces. Many interpreters believe that the idea of this illustration came to Paul as he was in Rome under house arrest, probably chained to one or two members of the Praetorian Guard. As he observed their armor and readiness for battle, he used this equipment to illustrate how the believer is to defend himself against the schemes of the Devil. Paul clearly used this illustration to make a particular point because he did not mention every piece of armor that a Roman soldier might wear. It is especially important to note the order in which he presented these pieces.

The belt of truth. The first thing we need to do to be successful in spiritual warfare is to put on the belt of truth. For a Roman soldier, the belt was a very important piece of equipment. A Roman soldier normally wore a long, free-flowing tunic. Obviously, such a garment would get in his way if he were in a battle, hindering his movements. So he would strap a belt around his waist, then pull the loose ends of the tunic up through it to keep it out of his way. This prepared him for action and kept him from stumbling or being hindered by the tunic.

 

Jesus used this same phrase in Luke 12:35: “Be dressed in readiness.” The idea of putting on the belt emphasizes readiness, preparation, watchfulness, and alertness. This same idea of removing hindrances is found in Hebrews 12:1, where the analogy is a race. We are to “lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us.” Using the soldier illustration in his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminded him that a good soldier wouldn’t get tangled up with the affairs of this life because it would hinder his success as a good fighter (2 Tim. 2:4).

The belt that removes the hindrances to our fight and prepares us for the battle is the belt of truth. Truth in this verse refers to the Word of God as objective truth. Some people have suggested that this refers to truthfulness or integrity because the sword that is mentioned later is also the Word of God. But there the idea is the Word of God put to use in specific situations. The belt of truth cannot refer to general truthfulness and personal integrity because these are inadequate as a preparation for warfare against satanic forces. It is only the Word of God that prepares us and instructs us about sin in our lives, so that we may remove the sin that hinders us in our spiritual warfare. The truth of God’s Word also is the anchor of our soul, just as the belt helped tie down the breastplate and held the sword.

Jesus stressed the necessity of the Scriptures for sanctification when He said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Only when we personally put on the belt of truth, committing ourselves to the absolute truth and sufficiency of God’s Word, are we freed from hindrances in spiritual warfare. Many Christians today are ineffective in their Christian life and in spiritual warfare is because they have not committed themselves fully to the Word of God, which alone is sufficient to prepare them for every situation in life. Often, the Christian today falls into the trap that we explained in chapter two: merging the Bible with other forms of truth. Rather than taking the Bible alone, many people today are merging the divine viewpoint of the Bible with the human viewpoint of psychology, sociology, or self-help techniques. They are trying to solve the problems in their lives not by Christ alone but by Christ plus something else. This tendency has left them dangerously handicapped in carrying out their resistance against Satan. In fact, by taking the Bible plus something else, they are doing exactly what Satan wants them to do.

 

I know it’s a cliché, but they are cliché’s because they are usually true; “the truth will set you free, that’s why it’s the first piece of armor mentioned.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: