The Armor of God is not something that we have to put on every day before we walk out the door to do battle with the world.
In fact, we only put on God’s armor one time, and then we wear it forever. Once we put on the Armor of God, it belongs to us. We do not put it on, take it off, and put it on again, because the Armor of God is not physical armor, it is spiritual armor. We wear it everywhere we go for all time and it covers us in all circumstances.
At the very first Passover, God instructed Moses to tell his people to place the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the doorposts of their houses, to protect them from the angel of death that would come that very night to strike Egypt:
“Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin.
None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever’” (Exodus 12:21-24 ESV).
That first Passover in Egypt was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross for our sins. John the Baptist acknowledged this in John 1:29:
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ’Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’” (ESV).
The blood of Passover lambs offered cover and protection to God’s people in ancient times, so the Blood of God’s Son, the Lamb of God sacrificed for our sins, offers cover and protection for everyone who receives salvation through Jesus Christ today.
The first place that the Blood of Christ is mentioned in the New Testament is in Luke 22:44 while Jesus was praying before his crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane:
“And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (ESV).
Ephesians 6:13 exhorts us to stand firmly on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, saying:
“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” (ESV).
Before introducing the Armor of God, Paul encourages us to take a stand, and to stand firm. But the ground that he is asking us to stand on is not “common” ground, it is holy ground. It is the ground that is founded on the solid rock of the gospel. It is the ground upon which the first drops of Christ’s Blood fell, in the place where his passion began. It is ground that has been redeemed by his Blood from the curse that followed the fall in Genesis 3:17 when God said to Adam, “Cursed is the ground because of you…” (ESV). Before God presents us with his armor, he gives us a solid place to stand that is under the redeeming Blood of Christ.
The first piece of armor we are presented with in Ephesians 6:14a is the Belt of Truth:
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…” (ESV)
John the Beloved Disciple describes Jesus’ interview during his trial with Pontius Pilate this way:
“Then Pilate said to him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’” (John 18:37-38a ESV).
Before we can accept salvation, we must be exposed to the truth. An unbelieving world will always ask, “What is truth?” Jesus is the answer. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6). This Belt of Truth establishes us in the Armor of God.
“After [Pilate] had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, ‘I find no guilt in him’” (ESV John 18:38b).
The innocence of Christ establishes us in his blamelessness. The perfect, sinless Lamb of God took our place and our punishment at the Cross, and in exchange for our sin, gave us his righteousness. The Blood of Christ washes us clean: “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18a ESV).
Therefore, the next piece of armor we put on is the breastplate, which protects us from attack on all sides:
“…and having put on the breastplate of righteousness…” (Ephesians 6:14b ESV).
Before Jesus was sent to the Cross, Pilate ordered that he be scourged. John 19:1 says,
“Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him” (ESV).
Torn by the lash, Jesus’ back and torso were the next place to be touched by the Blood of Christ, through his righteousness, for our healing:
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24 KJV).
As we take a stand on the firm ground of salvation, buckled by the Belt of Truth and girded in the Breastplate of Righteousness, our steps are guided by the light shining from the Word of God:
“…and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15 ESV).
Jesus’ feet were nailed to the cross, and as when he washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13:1-16), so his feet were bathed in his own Blood so that we can walk in his Way, established in his Truth, clothed in his Righteousness:
“’Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16 ESV).
Thus prepared, Paul tells us to “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one…” (Ephesians 6:16 ESV). When we walk with our feet shod with the Gospel of Peace, we are covered by the Shield of Faith:
“So we are always of good courage…for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:6-7 ESV).
Finally, Paul tells us to “…take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 ESV).
Before the crucifixion, Pilate’s soldiers “…twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on [Jesus’] head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands” (John 19:2-3 ESV).
Jesus exchanged the Crown of Thorns, which was a crown of mocking, for his Helmet of Salvation – the Crown of Life. He exchanged the robe of persecution for the Robe of His Righteousness (James 1:12; Isaiah 61:10).
At the moment that we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior – when we take the helmet of salvation - we are redeemed from the curse, washed clean from every sin, and given the gift of the continuous presence of God dwelling in us as the person of his Holy Spirit, who abides with us forever (John 14:16). Because Jesus’ brow was bathed in his Blood, we now can have the Mind of Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).
The hands of Christ were pierced so that our hands could hold the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit, with which to fight every spiritual battle (Isaiah 49:16).
Once we are clothed in the whole armor of God, our task is to pray “…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 6:18 ESV).
We are to remain alert, stand and pray, with the Holy Spirit and for the family of God, who are “all the saints.” Especially for those whom God has placed in leadership positions in Christ, that we may all boldly proclaim the mystery of the gospel (6:19).
God has given us a place to stand, protection, guidance and all the equipment we need in Jesus Christ. Every place that was touched by his Blood becomes armor for us. The ground we stand on has been redeemed. Where he wore a crown of thorns, we are given the Helmet of Salvation. Where he was scourged for our healing, we wear the Breastplate of his Righteousness. His feet were pierced so that we can walk in the Gospel of Peace. His hands were nailed to the Cross so that we could have the Shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit. We are forever cleansed, safeguarded and equipped by the Blood of the Lamb, and we wear the Armor of the King of kings and Lord of lords.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5 ESV).