Published August 11, 2015

Paul's Epistle
"Stand!" (Part 2)

In an increasingly secular and, in fact, anti-Christian society, what do we need to stand up against all of the nonsense we see around us today on all sides?

Last week in this column I began an examination of what the Apostle Paul says we should do, based on Ephesians 6:10-18. There he tells us to "take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (v 13).

What is this "armor?" And how does it apply to us, today? Paul gives us six key pieces of that "armor," and each is important.

First, Paul tells us, "Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth..." (v 14). Truth is a weapon the world hates — because worldly ways are based on lies. Satan started lying in the Garden of Eden – and hasn't stopped. In fact, Christ calls him the "father of lies" (John 8:44).  (The next time a politician lies to you, you don't have to wonder, "Who's your daddy?")

On the other hand, Hebrews 6:18 tells us, " is impossible for God to lie." And, speaking of Himself in John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." We have the truth – but the world hates the truth because they hate God – Who IS truth.

Next, Paul tells us to wear the "breastplate of righteousness." What is righteousness? The first five letters of the word give it away – "right" – doing what's right in God's eyes.

So many feel self-righteous in their own eyes. They prefer doing what they, not God, think is right. They believe "doing good things" – "works" – will gain them the status of "righteous." One well-known politician recently endorsed this point of view.

But "righteousness" is not something we can achieve on our own. It comes to us – as Christians – through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:9). Christ's righteousness is imputed to us. But our job is to understand that truth – and to act in a way that is pleasing to God in all ways.

Next, Paul's third item, in verse 15: "...having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace..."

How many Christians do you know who really don't understand what the Gospel is? How can we fight this spiritual warfare if we don't really know what we're fighting for?

The "Gospel" – in a nutshell – is the "Good news" that, although man is a sinner worthy of eternal punishment, God has lovingly and graciously provided a way for man to be forgiven of sin through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, Redeemer and Lord.

Are we fully prepared to present that truth to others in a loving but cogent manner? Are you ready to answer questions that non-believers might have — even the tough ones? You can only do that if you have put on your "Bible boots" – having prepared by knowing what the Gospel message is all about.

Next week I'll look at the remaining three items the Apostle Paul tells us we need to prepare ourselves for spiritual battle.

- Paul

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