Charles Wesley wrote a tremendous hymn about soldiering entitled “Soldiers of Christ, Arise.” In the first stanza he writes: “…Soldiers of Christ, arise, and put your armor on.” Now, what happens to a soldier who does not put his armor on, nor take his weapons in hand? In all likelihood, in facing his enemy who HAS weapons, and effective ones, he will certainly be at a stark disadvantage, in all probability being wounded, neutralized, or even killed. If the soldier is to be successful, he must not only have the right armor, but he MUST put it on.
In Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, he speaks of the very real spiritual conflict that the Christian soldier is engaged in. The Christian’s armor must be that which God supplies in Christ…Satan respects nothing else. Why is it so important that the armor of God be put on? Simply put…because it does not have holes!! It is perfect. For example, Paul begins his treatment of the matter of “armor” by saying, “…Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having the breastplate of righteousness…” (Eph. 6:14) The Spirit of God is the Spirit of TRUTH. Jesus would say of Himself, “I AM the truth.” That which is true of God, and that which God declares, is truth. God will always honor the truth. This is why true faith is based on truth. The truth of God is also ABSOLUTE TRUTH, that which cannot be changed or or altered. It is the Christian soldier’s bedrock for his faith, for God will always work according to His truth.
Paul then moves on to the part of the armor called “the breastplate of righteousness.” Please note that this righteousness is that of Christ, His righteousness imparted to the believer. It has no holes, no weak point, no place where the enemy can penetrate. It is perfect. It is so vital that the Christian understand that he cannot fight the enemy proclaiming his own “works, achievements, goodness, etc.” The only basis for standing against the enemy is the perfect righteousness of Christ. When we pray “In His name…,” we are in essence coming before the Father acknowledging, and clinging to the reality, that the righteousness of Christ, which has been given to us, is the ONLY, and SURE basis for our acceptance before the Father.
Our enemy is an “accuser of the brethren.” Joshua the high priest, mentioned in Zechariah 3, is being accused by Satan….and rightly so! He stands there with soiled garments, unconfessed sin. His garments are in essence full of holes. And so it is with “our” righteousness. Zinzendorf wrote, “Jesus Thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress. Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed, with joy shall I lift up my head.” It is true that we are to leave no “unguarded place” where the enemy can accuse us because of unconfessed sin, but it is only as we cling to the perfect righteousness of Christ that we shall stand against our enemy, and overcome.
“Stand then in His great might, with all His strength endued; and take, to arm you for the fight, the panoply of God; that, having all things done, and all your conflicts past, ye may o’ercome through CHRIST ALONE, and stand complete at last.” C. Wesley