Girded with the Belt of Truth

If you are wearing a belt today, raise your hand. People wear belts for different reasons. Some wear them because they are part of the outfit, a necessary accessory. Some wear belts to hold up their pants (this is a really a necessary accessory!) Some people wear belts because it helps them do their job (carpenter, electrician, lineman,etc).

  • Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters interviewed Deputy Shawn Osborne, whose standard-issue belt buckle deflected a bullet at close range, saving his life. In spite of a big bruise, Deputy Osborne knew he was “very lucky.” But belt buckles are not designed to stop bullets. But there was a time when belts were an important part of defensive armor. In the days of the New Testament , the Roman soldier wore his belt as an integral element of his armor.
  • After a clear command to put on every piece of spiritual armor that God supplies, the apostle Paul mentions “the belt of truth” that the Christian soldier must put on.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, … The NIV says: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… What is this belt of truth, and how do we obey this command?

I. “Having girded your waist…” We may not be familiar with this language. The Roman soldier (and others of that day as well) wore an outer tunic that served as his primary clothing. It was a large, square garment with holes cut out for the head and arms. It did not provide for body movement unless it was cinched up and tucked into a large belt that the soldier wore around his waist. This cinching was known as “girding up the loins” (or waist). A soldier who was preparing for battle would gird up his tunic into this belt.

A.  “girding up the waist” reflects an act of preparation for action. In John 13 Jesus took a towel and “girded himself” in preparation for washing the disciples’ feet.  In Paul’s admonitions to the Christians solider, this is mentioned first because it was a preparatory step. If this was not done first the soldier could not be agile enough to fight and the use of this weapons would prove ineffective.

1.  Peter used this language metaphorically in 1 Peter 1:13 to call the Christian to “gird up the loins of the mind”, ..be ready for action, keeping sober in the spirit, and being ready for the coming of Christ.

B.  This belt was also fitted with a scabbard or sheath to secure his sword to his side. In the front it had leather or metal straps attached to help protect the front of the soldiers’ lower body.  No serious soldier would ever go to battle, or even dress for the day, without putting on his belt.

 

II.  The Belt of Truth: How is truth our spiritual belt of armor? How do we put it on?  There are two thoughts to consider concerning the word “truth”. Both interpretations have significant applications.

A.   Truth as the revealed Word of God. Jesus prayed in John 17:17 – “sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.” Objective truth, revealed is scripture, is indispensible to the Christian.  “The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Ps 119:160)  We must preface all that we do with a view towards God’s word.  God’s word, as the source of truth, is powerful against the enemies of God. When God speaks, nothing can withstand the force of His words.  “The LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:27).

1.   The truth that Jesus revealed is the foundation of His authority. When asked if he was a King Jesus said he came to bear witness to the truth. Matthew Henry says that “when He said, I am the truth, he said, in effect, I am a king. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth, and in his majesty rides prosperously, because of truth, (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary).  He accomplishes His purposes through the power of truth.   Ps 96:1313 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.

a.  The incontrovertible nature of God’s word gives the Christian unwavering confidence as he faces the enemy, Satan. His words are enough. We must prepare ourselves to face temptation by knowing the truth and learning spiritual discernment.

2.    In Matt. 4 Jesus was successful against Satan’s efforts through a proper understanding and use of God’s revealed message.  Matt 4:4 – 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

3.   God’s truth is the only real defense against apostasy. Earlier Paul told the Ephesians Christians that God expected their spiritual maturity.  Eph 4:13-15 – 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ —

4.    How tight is your belt? The effectiveness of a belt is related to how closely it fits to the body. So too, God’s word must cleave to us, so as to always be available. We must be “convicted” of what the Bible teaches and be ready to conform to its demands.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:21Test all things; hold fast what is good. As Christians, we are to test all things and then hold on only to that which is good—the truth—discarding all else. We are to be like the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
  • Proverbs 3:3-4Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man.
  • 2 Tim 2:15 – 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Paul went on in this text to mention Hymeneaus and Philetus, who had “strayed concerning the truth” about the resurrection of Christ and had “overthrown the faith of some” – The word “overthrown” means to overturn, capture, or subvert. If we do not hold to the truth, there will be spiritual casualties.
  • Titus 1 gives qualifications for the spiritual leaders of the church (elders).  Titus 1:9 – “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” Why is so important? Vs. 10 -11 – 10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

B.    Truth as “genuineness” or sincerity. The word for “truth” in Ephesians 6:14 is also renders as genuineness or integrity in the Bible.  It is the word translated “verily, verily” in the words of Jesus. In John 8:44, Jesus said the devil did not stand in the truth, and there was not truth in him. This points to his lack of moral integrity or character. He is not genuine or sincere.  Considering that Paul later lists the revealed word of God as the sword of the Spirit, this may be the intended idea here. The Christian must do everything with true commitment and sincerity.

1.  To be girded with truth is to have an attitude of readiness and genuine commitment to the cause. It means that the Christian must make a commitment to walk the walk.  The true spiritual soldier forsakes hypocrisy and does not allow other interests to get in the way of his commitment to fight the battle against sin. He is a genuine disciple.

2.   Paul elsewhere spoke of the committed runner who takes off every unnecessary piece of clothing before the race.  Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

  • 2 Timothy 2:4 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
  • One author wrote… “It is sad that so many Christians are content to let the “tunics” of their daily cares and concerns flap in the breeze around them — continually interfering with their faithfulness to the Lord and giving the devil every opportunity to entangle and defeat them with their own immature habits and interests.”

3.  In Exodus 12:11 Israel are just about to be delivered out of Egypt by God. The Passover was celebrated before they left Egypt. Ex 12:11- 11’Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste — it is the LORD’S Passover. Notice that they were told to celebrate with their loins girt up and with shoes on their feet. Isn’t that a beautiful picture? It’s a wonderful picture of exactly what Paul is talking about here.

  • Although God would provide the victory (represented to us by the slain lamb) God’s people must tuck their robes in their belts and be ready to face the enemy and see the victory of God’s truth.

4.    Also, the belt around the soldier’s waist held his sword up and made it available when needed. As we will see later on, this sword is the sword of the Spirit and is the Word of God.

a.  Our use of God’s word is ineffective, and even counterproductive, if we are not living genuine lives, free from hypocrisy. Scripture constantly warns us against the threat of hypocrisy.

b.  In 1 Tim. 4 Paul says that in the latter times men would “give heed to seducing spirits and the doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy” Being hypocritical is a way of life for those who do not care about the truth and have no problem telling lies.  But it is possible to speak the truth in hypocrisy. We may get the details correct in Bible study and fail miserably to live by the truth we can recite.

  • In Ephesians 4:15, after Paul points out the importance of being united by the words of the Spirit, he says we should speak the truth in love.   Rom 12:19 says love must be without hypocrisy, hating what is evil (false) and clinging to what is good (right).

c.  The church today is greatly hindered today by Christians who know the word of God, but their life is not bound with God’s truth!  We have to hold the truth and the truth has to hold us.

 

Conclusion: We will continue our study of our spiritual armor. Are you prepared for the battle? Are you wearing the belt of truth?  Has Satan been successful in his assaults?