Why take to you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
I. CHRISTIANS NEED TO BE ARMED. Aldershot cannot dispense with Woolwich. The army must be equipped before it can take the field. The knight must don his coat of mail and draw his sword if he is to make any use of his martial skill and prowess. So the Church must be prepared for the great conflict with unbelief, worldliness, and immorality. The individual Christian must be armed to meet temptation and to win a triumph. Many a sanguine young Christian soldier has fallen shamefully through rushing rashly into the fray without due preparation.
II. THE REQUISITE ARMOR MUST BE DIVINE. "Armor of God."
1. Provided by God. We cannot forge our own armor. Our own resolutions, like home-made weapons, will be sure to betray some weakness and clumsiness. The Christian armor consists of God-given graces. The pilgrim had his armor given him at the house "Beautiful."
2. God-like. A steel breastplate is no protection against a poison-cup. The character of our defenses must be spiritual and holy, like the character of God, in order that we may be able to withstand great spiritual foes.
III. IT IS NECESSARY TO SECURE A COMPLETE SUIT OF ARMOR. "The whole armor." We are assailable in every part of our nature. It is useless to be only half-armed, for the subtle tempter is sure to aim his dart at the most vulnerable spot. We are all inclined to make much of favorite graces and to fortify ourselves against certain selected sins. Where we think ourselves most secure we are likely to be most open to attack. It will not be sufficient to be sound on all points but one. Achilles was said to be vulnerable only on the heel. But that was enough. His one weak place was fatal to him. God knows both the variety of foes we have to face and the different susceptibilities of our own constitution, and has provided complete armor accordingly.
IV. THE CHRISTIAN ARMOR IS VARIOUS IS KIND.
(1) We have first to be braced and girded by a firm grasp of the eternal verities of the faith. Looseness of conviction is a fatal source of weakness. Truth being the girdle we are not to embrace it, but it is to encircle us, i.e. we not to be satisfied with holding the truth, we must let the truth hold us.
(2) Our heart must be protected by righteousness. An evil conscience, with sin unrepented, unforgiven, and unamended, is fatal to future firmness.
(3) We must be active in spreading the gospel of peace.
(4) Where we have not sufficient resisting power in our own persons let us trust the defending grace of God. Then if the breastplate of righteousness is thin, the shield of faith held before it may still protect us.
(5) Salvation in part secured, in whole promised, will help us to hold our head erect in calm confidence.
2. Offensive. We have not only to stand the shock of the enemy's blows; we have to return them. The necessary weapons are supplied from the Divine armory.
(1) The Word of God. This is the sword of the Spirit, because God's Spirit inspired it and now gives it edge and penetrating power. Christ used this sword in his temptation. We resist evil by dwelling on Divine truths.
(2) Prayer. In the garden Christ prayed and Peter slept; in the house of Caiaphas Christ was faithful and Peter fell. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.