Put on the Whole Armor of God
Keep Calm and Carry On
THE BELT OF TRUTH
What is truth?
How do we know truth…from error?
And why is truth important?
In order to stand against the forces of evil, the Apostle Paul requires us to wear the whole armor of God. And Paul begins in Ephesians 6:14 with this command: “Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…” (ESV)
Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…(Eph. 6:14; ESV).
Christian living is not about passivity. And in our homes this is no less true. We’ll either be taken captive by pagan Hollywood ideas and philosophical thought, or, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 10:5, we’ll take every thought captive to obey Christ.
TRUTH DEFINED as with a belt…
So what is truth? A common dictionary definition for truth is “a quality or state of being true.”
And so, for the Apostle Paul, this “belt of truth” is something that you “wear” around you that is a quality or state of being true.
Now let’s be clear about this “belt” of truth during the Roman Empire. The belt wasn’t for pants; the Romans wore robes.
As for the Roman soldier, the belt could function in various ways. One such way is that the belt would bind the flowing robe to keep the garment from getting in the way and hindering the soldier if running or fighting. Who wants to wear a flowing and flapping robe if you are racing another soldier to be the first to get breakfast?
So when Paul speaks of this “belt of truth,” his meaning may include how it provides a way for the Christian to fight freely in the spiritual battles against the forces of evil. Without this “belt of truth,” the robe only hinders him, distracts him, and disables him to fight properly.
DO YOU MEAN, WHO IS TRUTH?
Do you remember the question that Pilate asked Jesus before his crucifixion? “What is truth?” (Jn. 18:38)
Here’s a bit of irony. Pilate is asking this question of Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6). In fact, Jesus said that he not only witnessed to the truth but everyone who is of truth follows Jesus (Jn. 18:37).
Let me also add what Colossians 2:3-8 states: “All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ.” This is another way of saying that the treasures of truth are found in the person of Truth, Jesus.
All the treasures of truth are found in the person of Truth, Jesus.
So when we put on the “belt of truth” we are being like Jesus. God who saves us with the gift of salvation, has remade us in Christ. We are now a new creation in Him. As a result, we are being who we are in Christ—His image-bearers created after the likeness of God (Eph. 4:24). In fact, we are putting on God’s armor (Isa. 11:5). As we are in right relationship with the Truth, Jesus Christ, we are people who can know, think, speak and act with truth.
HOW DO WE KNOW TRUTH…FROM ERROR?
How do we know truth from error? How can we make judgments deciding what is true or false? How can we know with certainty the reality of an objective, external world?
The late pastor and apologist, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, raises the question that people may have: Am I sure that I am not just a mind imaging that matter exists? For example, the Chinese philosopher Chuang-Tzu (4th century B. C.) states this: “I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly dreaming I am a man.”
How do we know what is reality versus imagination?
All of our questions in life have their answers to be found in terms of our Creator and Redeemer, the God of the Bible, the God of truth.
A controversial question today surrounds the gender issue. How many genders are there? When I was born, I think that there were only two options on the birth certificate from which the doctor could choose. Male or female. If you were born yesterday, however, and you signed up for a facebook account, you would have over 50 gender options.
So what’s the answer to the gender question? The answer, again, is the Word of God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gen. 1:27; ESV).
Again, all wisdom (i.e. truth) is found in Jesus Christ. In other words, all of our questions about right or wrong, moral or immoral, reality or imagination are to be answered according to God and His revealed Word.
Now does this mean that Christians have all the answers at their fingertips? No. We still need to dig into, first, the Word of God (i.e special revelation) and then the world around us (i.e. general revelation) to understand better the truth for our lives. Truth is a treasure and it requires getting dirt under our nails.
AND WHY IS TRUTH IMPORTANT?
William Gouge [1575-1653; English clergy and author] writes about a few reasons for desiring truth. Here’s one of them. “Its necessity.” Gouge writes, “Without it [truth], no other grace can be of any use.”
For example, without truth, what is love? Without truth, what is peace? Without truth, what is honesty? It’s the foundation of truth in Jesus that defines the nature of love and peace and all graces.
Let’s also be clear what is not being said. I am not saying that a non-Christian (e.g. an atheist) is unable to make truth statements. And I am not saying that he can’t love or be honest.
Without Truth and truth revealed, however, philosophically, we are left with opinions and mere speculations. We are just human chemical reactions from the aftermath of the Big Bang. “From goo to you,” in the words of Dr. Ken Ham.
Without acknowledging God, songwriter and performer Marilyn Manson attempts to be consistent in his view of “truth.” He reportedly explains: “Marilyn Monroe wasn’t even her real name, Charles Manson isn’t his real name, and now, I’m taking that to be my real name. But what’s real? You can’t find the truth, you just pick the lie you like the best.”
Just pick the lie you like the best? Interesting. But even here, the singer isn’t quite so consistent. How do you pick a lie if you can’t find truth? Lies don’t rationally exist without truth’s existence. You must have truth first before you can know what is not truth. Just like a clean bedroom, you need to determine what is clean before it can be determined messy.
The good news is this. God has revealed himself not only through the Bible but also through His creation.
However, there’s also the bad news. Without the Holy Spirit saving us and changing us, we suppress the truth as we deny God (Rom. 1:21-23). We become futile, and our foolish hearts become darkened to reality. We claim to be wise but are really fools. Instead of giving glory to God, we exchange this truth into false worship.
In the words of Dr. Greg Bahnsen, he writes: “Philosophy which does not presuppose God’s Word is a vain deception; by suppressing the truth, submitting to human traditions, and reasoning according to the presuppositions of the world instead of Christ, such thinking leads to a darkened mind and futile conclusions. God makes foolish the vaunted wisdom of the world.” [Always Ready, 23]
FIVE BENEFITS OF THE TRUTH
What are some benefits of having this belt of truth? Here are five of them.
First, God who is Truth has revealed himself in Jesus as the Truth (Yeah for the truth of Christmas!) and now we can know how to live truthful lives.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:31). And that’s a truth worth knowing.
Second, questions of how to live in our homes now have answers.
We don’t have to be wondering if there is an answer to the deep questions of life. We don’t have to be indecisive, for example, about our gender. We are made in the image of God, and he has revealed this through our genetic makeup.
Third, truth gives confidence to fight the good fight.
Be bold in speaking the truth as it agrees with God’s Word. Be courageous in living out the truth. In the words of Pastor Gouge, “Plain, faithful, and honest dealing in all things.” And, in the words of Paul, “Stand firm.” This should be our prayer as parents for our families and in our family worship.
It was said to Polycarp before he was martyred for believing the truth of God’s Word, “Be strong Polycarp and play the man.”
Fourth, as we speak the truth while being patient and gentle, God may give repentance to others leading to a knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
How many times does a soft answer in truth during a difficult situation turn away wrath? We have good reason to hope in this Truth.
Fifth, truth also brings people to their wits about themselves and escape the snare of the devil who has captured them to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26).
In our homes, we are reminded that we don’t have to be clueless of how to live; instead, we have the standard of truth in Jesus for how to live successfully. Such truth is to be bound around us as a belt. And with this belt of truth, others won’t trick us into foolish thought. Rather, we’ll be secure in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.
What stories do you have that reveal the importance of truth in your home?
What struggles do you have in living out this truth?