This text is a part of the 5 Myths collection.
Fantasy #1: Life is a picnic.
Though all of the proof is on the contrary, we regularly appear to consider that life right here on earth is—or not less than must be—simple. In actuality, nevertheless, life is difficult—usually very, very laborious. That’s, in fact, precisely what the Bible leads us to anticipate. In accordance with the Bible, the Christian life isn’t a picnic however a battle, an armed battle in opposition to a robust adversary. To have interaction in that battle correctly, we’d like a non secular makeover during which our flimsy, insufficient pure apparel—the non secular equal of a t-shirt and flip-flops—is changed by appropriate armor and weaponry. With out that armor and weaponry, we will probably be unprepared for what faces us.
Fantasy #2: The armor of God is just for “super Christians.”
There usually are not two separate courses of Christians: Christian troopers and Christian civilians. There are solely ready and unprepared Christian troopers. An unprepared soldier of flesh and blood will be unable to face in opposition to the size of the non secular forces ranged in opposition to her or him within the midst of what Paul calls “this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12). In lots of respects, the darkish world during which we reside is Devil’s playground. There are tempting sights, sounds, and tastes on this world that dazzle and attract us into sin. There may be a lot that appears fascinating to our eyes and plenty of highly effective temptations that discover a prepared ally in our flesh. Earthly objects are very actual to us, whereas heavenly realities usually appear ethereal and intangible. Devil additionally has centuries of expertise as a tempter, figuring out precisely which temptations are almost certainly to attract our particular person human nature into sin, whether or not giving ourselves to a selected type of extra or to a delicate self-exalting satisfaction that flows from a perception in our personal righteousness. The highly effective mixture of the world, the flesh, and the satan is inevitably overwhelming, left to ourselves. For this reason in Ephesians 6 Paul doesn’t merely say, “Bring the armor of God along with you on the off chance that you might need it.” Slightly, he says, “You will need it; so put it on.”
Fantasy # 3: Within the trendy world, we are able to’t consider in a literal satan.
Many trendy folks discover the concept of a cosmic being whom we are able to’t see, really feel, or contact and who promotes evil on this world unthinkable. In fact, the satan in whom they don’t consider is usually not the biblical determine however a fairly ridiculous picture with hooves and horns. Who might significantly consider in that creature? It’s fairly handy for the satan when folks don’t consider in his existence. Then he can pursue his nefarious schemes unsuspected and undetected.
But who doubts the truth of evil on this universe? Nearly everybody agrees that some issues usually are not merely tragic however genuinely evil. Gassing thousands and thousands of Jews within the dying camps of Poland is evil. Press-ganging younger African kids into a military, getting them excessive on medication, after which sending them into battle is evil. Trafficking ladies within the intercourse trade is evil. The place does all this evil on the earth come from? Man’s pure inhumanity to man hardly appears a adequate clarification for evil on this scale. Is it potential that there’s one other issue, a supernatural, non secular dimension, to all of this ethical depravity? Should you consider that the universe you see round you is all there’s, or was, or will probably be, then you haven’t any rational foundation on which to be shocked and outraged at evil. What we name “evil” should then be interpreted merely as an emotional response inside us to harmful issues, triggered by evolutionary biology. However the Bible has a richer and deeper clarification for the unhappy world we discover ourselves in, an evidence that enables us to acknowledge the profound actuality of evil and the invisible, private non secular forces that lie behind its fixed reappearance in several shapes and varieties.
In accordance with the Bible, the Christian life isn’t a picnic however a battle, an armed battle in opposition to a robust adversary.
Fantasy #4: Paul invented the concept of the armor of God from watching Roman troopers.
Many individuals assume that, as Wikipedia places it, “the various pieces (the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit) are correlated to what Paul would have witnessed firsthand as the arms and armor of Roman legionaries during his life in the Roman Empire”.1 This assumption, nevertheless, misses the truth that every of the items of armor that Paul describes has a wealthy background within the Previous Testomony, the place they fairly actually describe “God’s Armor”: the armor that God himself dons to rescue his folks. It’s the Previous Testomony and never the Roman legionary that supplied Paul along with his inspiration—and if we miss this background, we might simply misread and misapply the varied items of the armor.
Fantasy #5: The armor of God is primarily a listing of virtues that I want to realize.
Understanding the Previous Testomony background challenges the frequent view that the Christian armor is primarily a set of disciplines we should carry out to measure up as Christians. It’s actually true that God’s armor describes important qualities for us to pursue passionately if we’re to face agency below Devil’s assault. But the armor is firstly God’s armor fairly than ours. The gospel tells us that the divine warrior offers us his gear, which he wore first triumphantly in our place in his personal definitive battle in opposition to the forces of evil. Jesus Christ is the triumphant warrior over Devil, dying, and sin via his faithfulness and righteousness, and his victory is now credited to us as if it had been our personal. As a result of he stood agency in his battle, we Christians—weak, fearful and unprepared as we so usually are—may also in the end stand. By religion, his righteousness turns into ours; in Christ we have now a protect of refuge in God, who won’t ever go away us nor forsake us.
That is the excellent news that we have now been given the privilege of heralding far and broad all through the world, in addition to preaching to our personal hearts each day. The armor of God speaks God’s mercy and charm to damaged sinners and factors us to a salvation that the mixed forces of hell itself can by no means steal from us as a result of it’s treasured up for us in Christ.
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armor_of_God (Accessed Might 5, 2019).
Iain M. Duguid is the writer of The Complete Armor of God: How Christ’s Victory Strengthens Us for Religious Warfare.