Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
Note 10 at Eph 6:14: To be standing in the evil day (Eph 6:13), we must be standing clad in the armor of God. Seven pieces of armor are mentioned: five are defensive and two are offensive, with one being preparatory. The armor is mentioned as being: a belt, a breastplate, shoes, a shield, a helmet, a sword, and prayer.
Note 11 at Eph 6:14: In old English, the "loins" denoted the mid-section, or waist (New International Version), of a person. In some cases, it specified the reproductive ability of the man (Ge 35:11, 46:26; Ac 2:30; Heb 7:5, and 10).
In Bible days, men wore robes or gowns. When they fought or ran, they had to gird up their loins (2Ki 4:29, 9:1; and 1Pe 1:13). This was done by tucking their robes into their girdles, or what we would call belts (see note 2 at Lu 12:35). Therefore, Paul was saying that truth is the belt that allows us to fight without being entangled in our garments. Those who do not surround themselves with truth will become entangled in their own webs of deceit and will fall.
The first and preparatory piece of armor that a soldier wore was the belt. Centuries ago men would wrestle with only a belt. The object of the match was to remove the opponent's belt. If Satan can disarm us of our belt of truth, he will defeat us, for his greatest weapon is deceit and lies. If we are under his control, it is because we have believed one of his lies instead of the truth of God's Word. Jesus said, "I am...the truth" (Joh 14:6). To have the belt of truth on is to look to Jesus to lead the way, to have your eyes focused only on Him.
When the Divine Warrior, Jesus Christ, returns to claim His kingdom, He will be wearing "the belt of truth." It is described in Isaiah as "faithfulness the girdle of his reins [waist]" (Isa 11:5, brackets mine). Christ will have on the belt of faithfulness and truthfulness. "Faithful" means "adhering firmly and devotedly, as to a person, cause, or idea; loyal" (American Heritage Dictionary). "True" suggests steadiness, reliability, and, in a closely related sense, genuineness.
In Paul's day, corrupt pottery vendors would take pottery that had cracks or defects and fill the flaws with wax. After painting the pottery, they would sell it as genuine, intact pottery. If the pottery was put up to the light, however, one could see the flaws. The honest salesman would advertise his pottery as pottery without wax--sincere, genuine, true pottery. Paul was saying that the Christian must be sincere, genuine, and true, presenting no false appearance; not hypocritical; real. If Christ is not a reality in Christians' lives, they are not ready for battle.
Note 12 at Eph 6:14: The next piece of armor mentioned is "the breastplate of righteousness." The main reason for this piece of armor is for the protection of the heart and vital organs of the body. The breastplate was usually made of interlinking chain mail, metal, or bone, or of metal disks that gave the appearance of a scale, or metal coat. The breastplate was attached to the belt, as was the sword. The breastplate was one of the most important pieces of armor; a soldier would never think of going into hand-to-hand combat without it. It was also one of the heaviest pieces of equipment worn by the soldiers. Historians say that Goliath, the giant killed by David, wore a breastplate that weighed around 150 pounds (1Sa 17:5).
What the breastplate was to the Roman soldier, righteousness is to the Christian soldier. In the spiritual realm, righteousness functions as a breastplate. In fact, the breastplate is righteousness.
There are two basic kinds of righteousness mentioned in the Scriptures. First is man's righteousness--the righteousness that mankind can accomplish and perform without Christ. Isaiah tells us that all of man's righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). This self-righteousness has no value to God, but people do have to maintain a certain amount of this righteousness to get along with others here on earth.
Second, there is God's own righteousness that is imputed to us at salvation. Its source is God Himself. God's kind of righteousness comes only through faith. It is a gift and appropriated through Christ. Righteousness gives us total acceptance before God through Christ. This righteousness, which is a gift from God, produces the practical righteousness evident in the actions of the mature believer.
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