Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message and in the message following we shall consider the items that make up the whole armor of God. The first three items—the girdle, the breastplate, and the shoes—form a group. By means of these three things we are able to stand. Along with these three items, we need to take up the shield of faith and receive the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (6:16-17).
Soldiers in ancient times fought with a shield in one hand and a sword in the other. A shield is a defensive weapon, whereas a sword is an offensive weapon. Actually, of the six items of the whole armor of God, only the sword is an offensive weapon. All the other aspects of the armor are for defense. Let us first consider the girdle, the breastplate, and the shoes.
The first part of 6:14 says, “Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth.” For us to gird our loins is to strengthen our entire being. Our whole being needs to be strengthened with truth. This strengthening is not for sitting, but for standing.
According to the way the word truth is used in chapter four (vv. 15, 21, 24, 25), truth here refers to God in Christ as reality in our living, that is, God realized and experienced by us as our living. This is actually Christ Himself lived out by us (John 14:6). Such truth, such reality, is the girdle that strengthens our whole being for spiritual warfare. Our living must have a principle and a standard. This is nothing less than God Himself expressed in our living in a practical way. When such a truth girds our loins, we are made strong for the purpose of standing.
Suppose, however, that your daily living is far below the standard of the truth as it is in Jesus. Instead of being able to stand and to withstand in the evil day, you will flee. Because in your daily walk there is no testimony and no expression of God, you do not have the strength to stand against the stratagems of the Devil. If our daily living is loose, we are not able to stand against the powers of darkness. In order for us to stand, our daily living must be according to the principle of the truth and up to the standard of the truth. As we have pointed out, this truth is God Himself expressed as the principle of our daily walk, as the standard of our daily living, and as the pattern of our life.
Those who have such a living certainly have their loins girded with truth. These are the ones who are able to face attack and opposition. Because they are girded with truth, they can stand before the opposers. But if God is not expressed in our daily life and walk, we shall not have a girdle about our loins, and we shall have no strength to stand against the enemy. We shall not have the power to face opposition or controversy.
The truth with which we are girded for spiritual warfare is actually the very Christ we experience. In Philippians 1:21 Paul says, “To me to live is Christ.” This Christ whom Paul lived was his girdle of truth. This Christ was God expressed and revealed in Paul’s daily walk. Because Paul’s daily living was conformed to the pattern of Christ, he had the strength to face all opposition and adverse circumstances. Because Paul had been girded about with truth, he had the strength to stand.
In verse 14 Paul goes on to say, “Having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” The breastplate of righteousness covers our conscience, signified by the breast. Satan is our accuser. In fighting against him we need a conscience void of offense. But no matter how good we may feel our conscience is, we need to have it covered with the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is to be right with both God and man. If we have just a little problem with either God or man, Satan will accuse us, and there will be holes in our conscience through which all of our faith and boldness will leak out. Hence, we need the covering of righteousness to protect us from the enemy’s accusation. Such righteousness is Christ (1 Cor. 1:30).
If in any thing we are not righteous, our conscience will be a conscience with offense. But if we are to engage in spiritual warfare, we must have a conscience void of offense, a conscience without holes. When our conscience has holes in it, our faith will leak out through the holes. If accusations and offenses remain on our conscience, faith will disappear. Therefore, we need to deal with our conscience in order to have a good conscience, a conscience void of offense. In addition, we need to put on the breastplate of righteousness to cover our conscience.
Whenever we are about to fight the spiritual warfare, Satan, the accuser, attacks our conscience. He does not trouble us so much in this way at other times, Satan knows when there are offenses on our conscience. When he accuses us with respect to these offenses, we are immediately weakened.
Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb.” To be covered by the blood of the Lamb is mainly to have upon us the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness is in the blood, and the covering of the blood is the breastplate. Although this may be difficult to explain doctrinally, we can understand it experientially. Whenever we intend to fight against the powers of darkness, Satan, through his accusations, causes our conscience to become very sensitive. These feelings actually are not the sensitivity of the conscience, but the result of Satan’s accusations. Immediately our response should be, “I overcome Satan, the accuser, not by my perfection and not even by a conscience void of offense, but by the blood of the Lamb. I am defended against his accusations by the breastplate of righteousness.”
The righteousness that covers our conscience and that guards us from Satan’s accusations is Christ Himself. He is our righteousness. Thus, Christ is the truth that girds our loins and also the breastplate of righteousness that covers our conscience. We are covered not by our own righteousness, but by Christ as our righteousness. Some may wonder how the breastplate of righteousness can be related both to Christ and to the blood. In experience we cannot separate the blood from Christ. Apart from His blood, Christ could not cover us. Under the cleansing of His blood, He becomes our righteousness. Whenever we are about to take part in the spiritual warfare, we need to pray, “Lord, cover me with Yourself as my righteousness. Lord, I hide under Your blood.” Furthermore, we must tell the accuser, “Satan, I overcome you, not by my merit, but by the prevailing blood of the Lamb.”
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