Ephesians 6:13-15 “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waste… and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
Some parts of the soldier’s armor make it possible for him to maneuver properly when he comes under attack. Paul’s description of our spiritual armor includes the belt of truth, and the gospel of peace worn on the feet. Paul’s belt of truth isn’t truth as an abstract concept–everything that may be true as opposed to everything that may be false. He certainly doesn’t mean to use “truth” the way that so many people use the word today: “It is true if it works for me.” Several years ago I met a man who had struggled with an addiction. He had almost lost his business and his family. Today he keeps his addiction under control by following the spiritual disciplines and meditation of some Eastern swami. When some Christians tried to share the gospel with him, he didn’t want to suggest that there was anything wrong with our version of truth. I mean, if Jesus worked for us, who was he to say that there was anything wrong with that. But he already had a truth that was working for him, and he wasn’t willing to trade it for the truth we were offering.
There is only one truth Paul has in mind when he urges us to put on the belt of truth–Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. This is the truth Jesus meant when he said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is the truth of Jesus’ teaching, the truth that sets us free to belong to Jesus, not just any old truth. It is the truth Jesus had in mind when he told Pilate, “I came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
This truth that Jesus is our only Savior keeps everything in place around our souls and our Christian life, so that Satan can never trap us or corner us with his lies. We see young men today wearing their shorts half-way to their knees, and how they have to hold them up with their hands and kind of waddle along. How clumsy and inconvenient that would be for the soldier who needs to move. But that’s how it is for us if we try to navigate our spiritual life without the truth that Jesus is our Savior. We would constantly have our hands full trying to keep everything together, and we would be constantly tripping over our own efforts. God has spared the Christian of this by giving him the belt of truth to wear.
For our feet we have been given the gospel of free forgiveness, and that allows us to stand our ground, or make our escape–whatever the situation calls for. In Roman times military footwear was sandals. In our time it is the boot. Whether for war or athletics, everything is riding on the feet. The soldier needs a solid base from which to fight. His feet need some protection. Even a toe injury can be debilitating, as we see in injured athletes. If soldier or athlete cannot move, they cannot win. The soldier is not likely to escape with his life.
So, the Gospel makes the Christian ready. It makes us ready to answer when our faith is questioned. It makes us ready to go and take the message to others. Standing on the gospel, we have a solid base for the fight against falsehood, sin, and unbelief. An old Christian commentator noted, “Our peace with God makes us avid for the battle with Satan! It is true indeed. Without the Gospel and its peace our feet would not for one moment stand or go forward against Satan. Who, save we men of peace, dare to fight him?”
Suit up, Christian soldier. The battle is on! Bible truth and Gospel peace make it possible to navigate the fight.