Unlike the circular shields we think of today, some Roman soldiers had long rectangular-shaped shields. Theses shields were large enough to hide behind when the enemy sent a shower of arrows. Sometimes, a group of soldiers would gather together and form a testudo formation. This formation would protect the soldiers from all sides, especially when the enemy sent arrows tipped with fire.
We receive faith from reading and hearing the Bible. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). James writes a whole book on faith and the writer of Hebrews devotes a chapter to it.
When Paul says to take the Shield of Faith “above all” (or “first and foremost”) there is a reason. We need to have faith because faith is what will win the battle! “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). When we have forgiveness from Christ and fully trust in him no matter what it sounds and looks like around us, we are protected from the rapid, dangerous attacks from Satan.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Ephesians 6:16)
Many of the terrains the Roman solider traveled were rough. It would have been very difficult for him to remain standing had it not been for the spikes in his shoes. His shoes protected his feet from the sharp sticks and traps the enemy would set out to try to keep the army from marching forward.
The Greek word for “preparation” gives the impression of readiness and eagerness. Matthew Henry wrote about this passage and said:
“The preparation of the gospel of peace signifies a prepared and resolved frame of heart, to adhere to the gospel and abide by it, which will enable us to walk with a steady pace in the way of religion, notwithstanding the difficulties and dangers that may be in it. It is styled the gospel of peace because it brings all sorts of peace, peace with God, with ourselves, and with one another.”
The definitions of “peace” include “to be, become, or keep silent or quiet,” “a state of tranquility or quiet,” and “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
We receive peace from Christ.
- Isaiah was speaking of Christ in Isaiah 53:7 when he said, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
- “But not in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace…and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh” (Ephesians 2: 13-14, 17).
- “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:68-67, 79).
- “PeaceI leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let is be afraid” (John 14:27).
- And so many times Paul speaks of “the peace of God,” the “King of peace,” and “the Lord of peace.” (Romans 1:7; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 7:2;
The devil brings chaos, strife, and restlessness.
- “There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22).
- “But the wicked are life the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is not peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20-21).
- Destruction cometh; and they shall seek peace, and there shall be none” (Ezekiel 7:25).
- “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear…The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace” (Isaiah 59:2, 8). Because the wicked do not know peace, it is very important we bring them the gospel of peace.
A strong threat to Satan’s power is when we are at peace with God. God’s peace gives us the ability to not be frightened and upset when trials and tribulations come. Satan loves to make us restless. In the end of day, he will use this restlessness he has created to raise up the anti-chirst (Revelation 13:1). Do we want to let the devil use us to work against God?
…and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. (Ephesians 6:15)
After tying his belt into place, the Roman solider settled his breastplate on his chest. He took the leather strings hanging from the breastplate and used them to tie the new armor piece to his belt. The belt had to be on before the breastplate. The breastplate protected the man’s heart and lungs.
Only after the belt of truth is put on can the Christian tie on the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate of righteousness protects our hearts. The Greek word used here for “righteousness” means “justification” which comes from another Greek word that implies innocence and holiness. I looked up what, exactly, “righteousness” meant and I found one of its definitions is “the act, process, or state of being justified by God.” We are justified by God because of what Christ has done for us.
We cannot be righteous by ourselves, only when we are standing with Christ can we be righteous. In 2 Corinthians 5: 21 Paul states, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” When we choose to walk with Christ each day, we are choosing to walk in his righteousness. We find in Ephesians 4: 24 that we should “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”
The opposite of righteousness is unrighteousness. Unrighteousness is sin and when there is sin in our lives, Satan has a foothold. Just as a Roman solider is much more vulnerable for defeat without protection of his vitals organs, Christians are exposed without the protections of Christ’s innocence and holiness.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness… (Ephesians 6:14)