Put on Christ
Our ladies’ group has been looking at the armour of God and the somewhat surprising idea that to put on Jesus is one and the same thing as putting on the armour of God.
How do we back that up?
Firstly, we put both the armour of God and Jesus on in order to fight sin, temptation and the devil – they have the same purpose.
Put on the whole armour of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6:11
Let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality or sensuality, not in quarrelling and jealously but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires. Rom 13:12- 13
Secondly, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:10-18 that each piece of the armour of God is, in some way, God himself.
1 The belt of truth
The Bible says that Jesus is the truth:
- Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6
If we put on Jesus we put on the truth. Clothing ourselves with him protects us against lying, deceit and hypocrisy. When we are close to Jesus we are walking in the light and these sins are exposed and dealt with.
2 The breastplate of righteousness
The Bible says that Jesus is our righteousness:
- ‘The Lord our righteousness’ (Jer 33:16) or, in Hebrew, Jehovah Tsidkenu, is one of the names given to Jesus in the Old Testament.
- For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
To put on Jesus is to put on righteousness. We don’t muster up our own righteousness through good works: we become his righteousness as we put on Christ and confess our unrighteousness.
Our God is whatever we need.
These first two pieces of the armour are both examples of the ‘I ams’ in the Bible.
In the Old Testament, God introduces himself to Moses as I AM. That is his name. It is like a blank, I am…, which he fills in for us depending on our need.
Jehovah Tsidkenu means I am your righteousness
Jehovah Shalom means I am your peace
Jesus Nissi means I am your banner
Jehovah Jireh means I am your provider
Jehovah Raah means I am your shepherd
Jehovah Rophe means I am your healer
In the New Testament, Jesus continues this theme when he says I am… the way, the truth, the life, the resurrection, the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the true vine and the good shepherd.
So, we begin to build up a picture of our God being everything we need, including the armour itself.
3 As shoes, the readiness given by the gospel of peace:
The Bible says that Jesus is the gospel (which means good news) and he is our peace:
- Mark 1:1 reveals that the gospel is ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’.
- [Jesus] himself is our peace. Eph 2:14
- The Lord is peace (Jehovah Shalom) is one of the names given to Jesus in the Old Testament (Jud 6:24).
The more we put Jesus on, the more readiness we will have to speak of the good news of Jesus, our peace.
4 The shield of faith
The Bible says that God is our shield and Jesus is the one we have faith in:
- God says to Abraham, I am your shield. Gen 15:1
- Paul talks about ‘faith in Christ Jesus’. Col 1:4
As we put on Christ, we are protected by him through faith in him.
5 The helmet of salvation
The Bible says that Jesus is our salvation:
- There is salvation in no one else for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
- The name Je- sus means Jehovah saves – I am your saviour.
It is only when you put on Jesus that you have salvation. There is no other way to put on the helmet of salvation than by putting on Jesus.
6 The sword of the Spirit which is the word of God
The word of God here means the spoken word of God (Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words by W.E.Vine).
- Jesus uses the spoken word of God to fight the devil’s temptations: he answers the devil with, It is written… followed by a quote from God’s Word. (Mk 4:1-11)
- Jesus himself is called The Word of God in John 1.
The sword is the only offensive weapon in the armour. The most effective way to fight sin is to do what Jesus did and use the Word of God to counteract the temptation. To do this we need to be immersed in the Word of God.
Why does it matter that to put on Jesus is to put on the armour of God?
It means we don’t have to strive to conjure up our own truth, righteousness, salvation etc. If we put on Christ we have these things; he provides them for us. It means that being a Christian is not about trying to be good and keeping a list of laws. It is about Jesus who has done everything for us and the great ‘I AM’.