The Armor of God
by Pastor Cary Gordon
Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to STAND against the wiles of the devil.”
Beginning in the previous verse, we are given the reason for our spiritual armor—that we might be able to “stand” against the devil. Remember, the primary discussion in this passage is our stance against Satan. Also keep in mind as you read that when we “stand,” we do so upon our “feet.” With these thoughts in mind, you will uncover the peace/feet connection, as I did.
Ephesians 6:12-15 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand [on your feet] in the evil day, and having done all, to stand [on your feet]. Stand [on your feet] therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; AND YOUR FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.”
Allow me to present it to you like this the reason we can stand against the wiles of the devil in verse 11; the reason we can wrestle against the demonic forces in verse 12; the reason we can withstand in the evil day in verse 13; the reason we can do all that we can to stand in verse 13; the reason we can stand with our belt of truth in verse 14 is because of what we have on our feet in verse 15—PEACE, the aggressive force against the enemy!
Ephesians 6:15 “And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.”
Peace is clearly listed as a vital part of our spiritual armor for the express purpose of aiding us in our “standing against the wiles of the devil” in Ephesians 6:11.
I have always personally loved and collected ancient armaments. In fact, one of the most memorable gifts I received when Molly and I were married was a battle-ready set of chain-mail armor complete with a sword and dagger, sheathed in their customized leather scabbard. It came with a shield, gauntlets, and all. My love for such could probably be traced back to that big poster-board drawing of the spiritual armor, which was fastened to the wall of my five-year-old Sunday school classroom. Then again, it may just be a genetic trait passed on to me by both my earthly daddy and my heavenly Father God. Either way, my love for ancient weaponry has certainly aided in my understanding of Paul’s analogy of what he called the “armor of God.”
Paul does appear, in the text of Ephesians 6, to place a particular emphasis upon the importance of the shoes, arguably the greatest emphasis of the individual pieces that are mentioned. But I would be remiss if I did not point out that the greatest point Paul makes is the overall critical need for the believer to put on the “whole armor.” In other words, while we, like Paul, are encouraged to pay particular attention to each piece and recognize its unique contribution to a soldier’s protection, we should not miss the greatest point made—that without the “whole” armor of God, the soldier is in serious trouble. For the sake of our study, however, let us explore the ramifications of the shoe, in particular.
War was a fact of life long before the Apostle Paul wrote this detailed analogy of our spiritual armor. The world was only four chapters old when Cain slew his brother in the field. From that point forward in time, human nature brought with it countless wars and nearly inconceivable amounts of spilled blood. While warfare began with the crude use of Cain’s rock across the head of his brother, over time, the fierce lessons of bloodshed spawned the evolution of comprehensive battle tactics and armaments. Perhaps the most brilliant improvements in tactical battle strategy and armor design were utilized by the Roman soldier. It was no doubt the image of that Roman soldier who patrolled the streets and alleyways of the ever-expanding Roman Empire which inspired Paul as he wrote to his contemporaries in Ephesus.
Were it not for valuable archaeological discoveries to aid the modern minds of today, it would be difficult to draw the same parallel between the ancient spectacle of the Roman soldier and our present-day spiritual armor of peace. While historians and pictographs, in combination with archaeological finds, reveal that the standard civilian “shoe” of Paul’s day was in many ways similar to our modern-day open-toed leather sandal, the reader should soon understand that the “shoes” mentioned in this passage were far from either standard or civilian. On the contrary, they were designed for the warrior. Roman soldiers’ “shoes” were made up of two sections, which appeared almost boot-like at first glance. The first part was the greave, which was a strong, concave metal plate of protection fitted to the soldier and worn on the lower front of his leg between the lower knee and foot. The greave attached to the armored sandal portion of the shoe at the soldier’s foot.
Rick Renner writes “The shoe itself was made of two pieces of metal. On the top and bottom, the foot was covered with fine pieces of brass. The sides of the shoe were held together by multiple pieces of durable leather. On the bottom, these shoes were affixed with extremely dangerous spikes—spikes that were one to three inches long. If you were involved in active combat, your spikes could be close to three inches long. These were killer shoes!”1
These spikes were primarily for providing exceptional footing during a frontal attack (in many ways for the same purpose that modern-day football players wear cleats). These “shoes” were not only defensive, but also a formidable offensive weapon in and of themselves. A properly executed kick from these shoes would conceivably leave one’s enemy in a bloody, lifeless heap.
Without a proper understanding of biblical peace, one might be tempted to scratch his head when considering Paul’s choice of this armored shoe as peace’s symbolic representation. But our progressive uncovering of God’s eternal purpose in this power called “peace” will clear up any confusion as we proceed with this writing. Romans 16:20 is a case in point.
Romans 16:20 “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”
The word “bruise” in this passage is the Greek word “suntribo” pronounced “soon-tre'-bo.” Suntribo is defined in Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary as “to crush completely, i.e. to shatter (literal or figurative):- break (in pieces), broken to shivers (+/- hearted), bruise.”
Peace is a garrison or blockade against the forces of evil that would attack us in our hearts (spirits) and minds (souls)! The first-class peace of God comes from within us and affects without us. As children of God, we don’t have to wait on our outside circumstances to be calm before we can be at ease. Rather, we can be like Jesus and sleep on a pillow in the middle of a life-threatening storm. Let the lightning flash! Let the winds blow! Let the other men scurry around in the frantic rat-race of life. Jesus left His peace with us.
We can and should enjoy the fantastic benefits of our supernatural armor. This inward force against Satan firmly secures our steps so that we might press onward and not fall back. The outward circumstances do not change us, we change them! We don’t have to wait for the music, we make our own! And the results of this aggressive force against the enemy?
Life as it was meant by God to be lived!
Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
1. Rick Renner, Dressed to Kill, Pillar Books and Publishing Co., Tulsa, Oklahoma, p. 199.