Knight in Shining Armor or Full Armor of God

While on Twitter this past weekend, I came across a Tweet that made a profound statement. Liz @krazy4ujc wrote, “Women don’t need a knight in shining armor. They need a man covered in the full armor of God! There’s a difference!”

What a profound statement! There are men and women seeking spouses that may not be what they proclaim to be. In a dating relationship, what kind of man or woman are you seeking? If you are a non-believer in Jesus Christ, then I pretty much know the type of person you are seeking, which most likely would not be a Follower of Christ. But if you truly are a Follower of Christ, are you seeking someone who is a solid Christian, on fire for the Gospel of Christ, and shows in his or her lifestyle that they are fully engaged in their faith?

I would hope that you are looking for a man or woman that loves Jesus with all their heart, spends time in prayer, and studies the Word of God every day. These people are fully involved in their faith and they live it each day.

In contrast, “your knight in shining armor” may be a weak-minded individual who is spiritually deficient and lives by the world’s standards. They may claim to be a Christian, but in reality, they are weak and fall into carnal snares very easily because they are not grounded in God’s Word and truth.

Look at what God’s Word says about a man or woman who is walking with Christ. These people are putting on the full armor of God as written in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Whole Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 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. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying 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, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

The whole armor of God makes a difference. Let’s say that a woman is looking for a Christian man to marry, that man should be fully engaged in his faith. When he has the full armor on, he can withstand the spiritual attacks that may come his way. I will use The Reformation Study Bible Concordance to explain what the Whole Armor of God is.

In verse 6:13, “Paul compares the whole armor of God with that of weapons of a Roman foot soldier with a number of Old Testament images of God, or Messiah as a warrior. (See Isaiah 11:1-5) Strikingly, what is said of God and the Messiah in the Old Testament is applied to believers.”[1]

In verse 6:14, fastened on the belt of truth means, “The Roman soldiers leather belt supported and protected his lower abdomen, gathered his tunic together, and held his sword. Paul seems to have in mind the confidence that comes from certainty about the truthfulness of God’s Word.”[2]

The breastplate of righteousness means, “Believers are protected by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them (Rom. 4:6-11; Phil. 3:9), and they can stand up to the accusations of the devil, whose title in Greek means ‘slanderer’ (Rom. 8:31-34). Simultaneously, Paul sees believers taking on righteous character of Christ while their growing conformity to His image gives them confidence in resisting temptation. This piece of armor is what God prophesied to wear in judging and defeating the enemy in the latter-day battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor of God’s righteousness in Christ.”[3]

In verse 6:15, shoes for your feet means the following. “This is a clear allusion to Isaiah 52:7. Paul has in mind a messenger who takes the gospel to others. The image here is of the Roman soldier’s sturdy sandals, which gave him stability and protection in battle, so that Isaiah has been combined with this Roman background. Ironically, the peace that comes from the gospel readies one for war against evil. Isaiah 52:7 prophesied that in the end-time restoration of Israel there would be peace, and this restoration has begun in Christ and all who identify with Him.”[4]

In verse 6:16, the shield of faith is described as the following. “The Roman shield was large enough to cover the whole body; it was made of wood, covered in animal hide, and bound with iron at the top and bottom. When dipped in water before battle, it could extinguish arrows that had been dipped in pitch and set ablaze. In the Old Testament, the Lord is the ‘shield’ of His people.”[5]

In verse 6:17, the helmet of salvation is described as the following. “This part of the armor is what God was predicted to be wearing when He would come to judge and defeat the opponent in the end-time battle (cf. Isaiah 59:17). Believers are to identify with this armor in Christ. For Paul, salvation is a present experience as well as future hope (1 Thess. 5:8). The believer’s final ground of confidence is the faithfulness of God to complete the salvation He has begun (Phil. 1:6).”[6]

“The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The one offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal is compared to the Roman sword, short and designed for hand-to-hand combat. Jesus used the Word of God in His battle against temptations of Satan in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). The Lord was prophesied to make the mouth of His Messianic Servant like a sharp sword (Isaiah 49:2; cf. Rev. 1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15). Christ has begun to fulfill this prophecy at His first coming (Rev. 1:16, 2:12, 16) and the prophecy will be completed at Christ’s final coming (Rev. 19:15). Christ’s followers also have this offensive weapon when they believe in Christ and come into union with Him.”[7]

In verses 6:18-20, “The battle theme in this passage ends with an urgent call to militant prayer (‘Keep Alert’) on behalf of all believers and on behalf of Paul’s ministry (Col. 4:2-4). It is possible that, together with ‘the sword of the Spirit,’ prayer is one more offensive weapon in the believer’s arsenal.”[8]

Although Liz posted on Twitter that women should be looking for a man who puts on the whole armor of God, I would also include that men should be looking for women to put on the whole armor of God as well. If one marries a man or woman who is not as strong in the faith, then your marriage is not equally yoked. Yoked means that you are on the same level as your spouse. Take for example a farmer plowing his fields. Before the day of the tractor, a farmer used two oxen to plow his field. The farmer would place a harness and yoke on the two oxen to keep them together. If the harness and yoke were not properly aligned, then the movement of the oxen would be off kilter and therefore they would be unequally yoked. The same applies in relationships and marriage. If one spouse is living her life for Jesus every day and her husband is not taking an interest in Christian Spiritual matters, then that marriage is unequally yoked. In order to be on the same level, there must be commitments of both spouses to spend time with God, together in prayer, reading daily in the Bible, and getting involved and engaged in the Gospel of Christ.

If you are not married and are in a relationship with someone who is not a Follower of Christ, I would suggest putting off any wedding plans until you both are on the same level in your faith. It will make a difference in your marriage and in your life.

I want to thank Liz @krazy4ujc on Twitter for this profound and inspirational post. I would highly recommend that you follow her on Twitter.

References:

[1] R.C. Sproul Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015) 2101.

[2] Sproul, Reformation Study Bible, 2101.

[3] Ibid., 2101.

[4] Ibid., 2101.

[5] Ibid., 2101.

[6] Ibid., 2101.

[7] Ibid., 2101.

[8] Ibid., 2101.

Copyright March 26, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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When Is it too Late to Sound the Alarm?

Two years ago the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America changed their constitutional statement on marriage by replacing gender-specific vocabulary with gender-neutral language.  The result is that the church now recognizes gay marriage as a moral equivalent to biblical marriage.  The immediate question some might ask is “how could such a thing happen?”  The short answer is that this adoption has been in the works in the PCUSA for some time, and anyone watching their decisions over the last several decades knew that such decisions were only a matter of time.  Some would think that such a decision by a “mainstream Christian” denomination would be a clarion signal for all “true believers” to abandon these churches.  The reality is that if any church or denomination makes such a decision, then it necessarily means that alarms have been blaring for a very long time.  Consequently, if there were any believers left, then they have become tone deaf and blind to all meaningful sirens warning them that their denomination has left the proverbial reservation.  So what are some of these critical alarms that should alert us to the fact that our denomination or church has been deceived and is on the verge of abandoning authentic Christianity?

 

  • The Bible is not “inerrant” or completely “inspired by God,” its just an inspiring book. This means that some things in the Bible are either not true, or didn’t really happen, or are just plain wrong and should be rejected. Once this bell is rung then you are on a slippery slope inside a bobsled and it’s just a matter of time before your denomination or church begins to take the next disastrous steps listed below.

 

  • Jesus is not the only way to God; or, other faiths are moral equivalents to Christianity. Religions are all just different roads that arrive at the same ultimate destination.  Consequently, we should view all other faiths as viable equals.  The only way any “Christian” arrives at this conclusion is to take the previously listed step.

 

  • Love is God’s highest value; therefore, love trumps all of his other attributes. Since God is love (1 John 4.8 & 16) he would do nothing that is unloving.  Consequently, his value for holiness and justice are subservient to his loving nature.  Again, this perspective is only possible if one takes the first step.  The fact is that God’s qualities are always simultaneously harmonious; thus, any decision he makes never offends anything essential to his nature.  The God who is “love” is the same God that is a “consuming fire” who judges sin (Heb 12.29).  God’s judgment of sin does not offend his loving nature.  God is loving, holy, and just, and these attributes are all operable at all times in all of his decisions—none of them are suppressed whenever he acts.  This consistency within God is true with respect to every one of his immutable attributes.

 

  • Hell is not a real place or Hell is not an eternal place. Clearly if one believes that the only really important thing about God is that he is a loving being, then no one in their right mind thinks that such a God would create a place like “Hell.”  Others might conceive that Hell is a real place, but it is only a temporal place where some are sent for a brief time; or that Hell is synonymous with becoming “extinguished” (i.e., ceasing to exist).  In other words, Hell is the place where Satan, Hitler, and Charles Manson are sent, and once they arrive then they are extinguished like the flame of a match—thus, they literally cease to exist.  The bottom line is this: there is no such thing as the ultimate judgment of eternal damnation.

 

  • People are naturally well intending and are inherently good at heart. And let’s face it, good intentions and sincerity are all that really matters in this life, and no one should expect more than that since no one is perfect.  This is pretty much a product of an atheistic/liberal western elitist mind.  Most of the oppressed throughout the developing world know that it is not true (e.g., Christians North Korea or the young girls kidnapped by Boko Haram).  The ironic thing about this idea (i.e., that no one’s perfect) is that this theme is systemic throughout the scriptures, and it is precisely why Jesus came in the first place.  The Lord Jesus Christ graciously became incarnate in order to pay for our moral failures and to clothe us with his righteous perfection.  Nevertheless, Jesus’ death demonstrates that God is not okay about the fact that we aren’t perfect.  He has provided his solution for our moral imperfection.

 

  • People should not be “shamed,” “ashamed,” or be made to “fear” because of their personal choices.” In other words we (i.e., the church) shouldn’t do anything that causes anyone to be afraid of a loving God.  This is in spite of the fact that Scripture clearly emphasizes that God is holy and that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 111.10; Prov. 1.17; also Lev 19.2; Ps. 77.13).

 

  • God’s creation is our most important responsibility and we are only a small part of it. Every great lie always possesses an element of truth.  It is true that we were given the responsibility to correctly manage creation, but regrettably we blew it; consequently, Satan now rules over humanity and its cultures.  Jesus himself referred to Satan as the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12.31, 14.30, 16.11).  However, we are not just a small part of creation; instead we are its pinnacle because man (generically understood—i.e., both men and women) is the only part in all creation that was made in God’s image.  Creation reflects God’s glory, but only man and woman were created in his image (Gen. 1.26-27).  Moreover, Jesus did not hang on a cross to repurpose or preserve creation, he came to redeem sinners (1 Tim 5.17), and he did so at great personal cost (Mk 10.45).

 

  • Temporal cultural social “ills” are the foremost concern of the kingdom of God. Consequently, you shouldn’t try to tell people the gospel until you meet their felt needs.  This particular step alone has caused millions to slip into a Christ-less eternity simply because it has caused countless churches to cease proclaiming the true gospel to the lost world.  It has even caused entire denominations to be confused about what is actually the singular message of the gospel.  Some denominations have wasted vast amounts of energy and resources seeking to cure the great unsolvable ills of the human race (i.e., poverty, addictions, oppression, wars, etc., etc.).  Should the church be concerned about these terrible evils—of course!  And many Christians have been instrumental in eradicating a few of them (e.g., Wilberforce and slavery).  But if these social maladies become the focus of the church’s energies at the expense of proclaiming the real gospel, then the church will cease to fulfill the very commission that Christ is most passionate about; which is saving sinners from eternal separation from him.

 

  • There should never be any inequities of outcomes. Just know that when you hear this alarm it signals that you’re nearing rock bottom.  It is this mentality that has led to such things as “participation trophies.”  Life is full of inequities.  While all of us are equally valuable in God’s eyes, he did not create us all with equal abilities and opportunities.  Moreover, equity of outcomes has never been achieved anywhere in human history; nevertheless, this idea is the “opiate” that communism and socialism has used to dope the masses into embracing their lies.  And regrettably, even entire denominations have fallen prey to this seductive deception in one form or another.

 

  • And finally, while the church may encourage heterosexual marriage, it should also recognize and accept gay marriage as a legitimate alternative. Why not?  God is loving, people are inherently good, the Bible is scientifically incorrect in many areas, everyone should have the same opportunities, there is no such thing as eternal condemnation, and we are all ultimately heading for the same place anyway.  So what’s the problem?

There you have it, the steps necessary for your denomination or church to become the next PCUSA.  Denominations don’t normally take all of these steps in a single year; instead it may take a decade or even a generation before a single step is taken.  A church may take a baby step here, or an entire denomination may take a giant leap over there—sometimes they may even take a step backwards before skipping a few steps “forward.”  Nevertheless, evil and liberalism are never idle since they are the instruments of Satan, and he has played them effectively to lull many a Christian to sleep.  Just be aware of one very important warning signal, once your denomination has taken the first couple of steps, then forget about ringing alarm bells, you might as well go ahead and start playing TAPS.

The views expressed above are may not necessarily be those of the Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Monte Shanks, Copyright © December 1, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC