Ephesians 6:14. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth
Literally this says, “having girded yourself with truth.”
Not too many of us are still using the phrase “gird your loins” in daily conversation. But in Paul’s day it was a thing. Especially for soldiers. Paul wrote Ephesians most likely from his house arrest in Rome where he was chained day and night to a Roman guard. So he saw some girded loins.
The girdle that Roman soldiers wore was a piece of leather that wrapped around their midsection. It was basically an under armor meant to add protection in battle. It was the closest protection to the most vital parts of the body.
When Bible scholars read Ephesians 6 they want to know if these pieces of the armor of God represent objective or subjective realities. That is, is the armor something we just receive or are they something we do? Here in 6:14, is Paul talking about the truth of the gospel as something we put on, or is he talking about living truthfully and faithfully in our daily lives? And the answer is YES. It’s unlikely that Paul would separate these two things. If we have put on truth of course we will live truthfully.
(And so, over the next few days as we look at the pieces of armor, we will look at both the objective and subjective sides of each.)
Put on Truth
Why start with truth? Why is truth our undergarment of protection? Why would we want to be wrapped in truth before we put on anything else?
Remember this is all about combating the schemes of the Devil (6:11). And what are his schemes? Lies. Lots and lots of little lies. Half-truths. Twisted logic. It makes sense until it doesn’t. But then it’s too late, you’ve already bought into it.
Jesus IS our truth.
John’s gospel has a lot to say about Jesus as the truth. Jesus came in grace and truth (1:14). The truth sets us free (8:32). He is the truth (14:6). He has sent us the Spirit of Truth (14:17). The Spirit guides into all truth (16:13). The Father’s word is truth (17:17). We are sanctified in the truth (17:19). All that listen to Jesus are in the truth (18:37).
For Paul, our most foundational protection, our girdle, is that we are in the truth. Not truth as an abstract concept. Truth as the person of Christ. Not only a premise to believe, but a life to receive. When we believed the truth of Christ we received the truth of Christ. We were placed into truth.
Ephesians 1:13. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
In John 18:38, Pilate asks Jesus “what is truth?” That’s a good question. Is truth subjective? Does it change over time? Is it unknowable?
Well if God is truth, and Jesus is truth, then the answer is NO. Truth actually IS knowable, unchanging, and objective. It is the reality that flows from God himself. Truth is the expression of an unchanging standard. A perfection. This is why truth sanctifies us or makes us perfect (John 17:17). And this is why truth protects us.
Without a final measure of truth, anything goes. Evil occurs when truth changes with the winds of culture. Love ceases when truth is personal and rooted in feelings not facts. It may sound like freedom, but it is actually bondage. Bondage to the self. To our own knowledge of good and evil. Changing truth is simply not Godly.
In Christ, truth isn’t just something we know. It is now our state of being. Our lives ARE truth. The truths of love, grace, glory. Our lives now reveal the nature of what is real – true righteousness and true goodness. We are it.
Ephesians 5:8-9. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true).
Live the Truth
OK, we are in the truth, and we are truth. So now what?
We live out the truth. We live from this reality and we reflect the truth of God and his gospel. We live with integrity, honesty, and faithfulness. This means we live from a greater measure of reality, the spiritual truths that many cannot see.
Paul has given dozens of these truths in this letter – “we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil.” Or, “we are seated in the heavenly places.” Or, “Jews and Gentiles are one new man.” Or simply “we are in Christ.”
These are higher realities. Higher truths. Truths founded upon the Truth. Jesus and his Kingdom. Once we are girded in these realities, we must live from these same realities. We live differently. Not just telling the truth (but of course not less than this). But living IN truth. In ultimate reality. Heavenly minded not just earthly minded (Col. 3:2).
Do you live from these ultimate realities? Do you live from your spiritual blessings in Christ? Do you see people as your enemies? Or do you see beyond them to Satan as your real enemy? Do you live from DO, DO, DO or do you live from DONE? Do you faithfully serve Christ, knowing your seated position in heaven? Are you able to resist the Enemy’s lies and tricks? Do you speak truth in love to others? Does your life reflect the truth of God’s grace which brings all things into the standard of Truth, of Christ himself? Are you bearing the fruit of light – goodness, righteousness, and truth?
“To live is Christ” places us into Truth and it places truth into us. That truth is Jesus and his eternal life and love. This is our protection in the battle of this life. The truth of union with Christ and all the new realities that he graciously places us into forever.