Summary: The first part of the Christian’s armor, the belt. Sound biblical doctrine on which to stand firm (#18 in The Christian Victor series)
“Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth…”
I mentioned to you last week in some closing remarks, that these next four verses in chapter six should be approached with some degree of caution.
Some have gotten carried away with the application of the Christian armor as an analogy, and in the end gotten entirely away from the spiritual application altogether.
It is interesting to think about; that Paul was in prison writing this, guarded by Roman soldiers, and he may have actually been looking at one of them as he named the pieces of armor and compared them to spiritual truth.
But let’s keep it that way; a comparison. An illustration, nothing more. If we lose sight of our goal and begin focusing on the physical realm, we’ll miss his message altogether and accomplish nothing.
Part of the Roman soldier’s uniform was a wide belt. As well as serving as a place to hang a sword sheathe, the belt was also used, as a soldier approached battle, to tuck in loose clothing that might otherwise hinder sword use, entangle the legs, or give the enemy something easy to grab hold of.
Most of us have heard the term ’girded loins’ explained in reference to the Children of Israel preparing to leave Egypt. When they were working or getting ready for long travel, they would gather their long robes up and tuck them in a waist sash or belt, to free their legs for unhindered movement.
When God gave instructions to Moses for the first Passover meal, He told Moses to eat the meal with sandals on and loins girded. When the morning came they were to be ready to move out as soon as the Lord told them to go.
As a type of the Christian life, Passover and the slaying of the Lamb represented the sacrifice of Christ and the provision of our salvation.
The message for us is clear; when we come to God in faith and apply the blood of the Lamb to our lives by faith, God expects the believer then to gird up his loins and move out from the old life into the new, behind his new leader, headed for a promised land. No time for encumbrances. Listen to I Peter 1:13
“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
So when Paul tells the believer to gird his loins with truth, he is speaking of something the believer does, first of all; not something that is done to the believer. He says “having girded your loins…” Something we do.
And he’s suggesting action. Work. Battle. Forward movement.
At least that. He may also have been thinking of the limited protection the belt would give the mid-section. The belly. The gut. I make this supposition because it is truth he is applying as his illustration, and truth taken into the innermost being, the gut if you will, protects from the daggers of error.
Let’s go on now and talk about this.
As we go, we must not lose sight of the fact that we’re being exhorted here to prepare and protect ourselves with truth. So we need to arrive at a clear definition of what, specifically, this truth is.
It cannot be just some general truth about some thing. That should be obvious to us. For instance, I might say, “Next week we’ll be setting our clocks forward one hour for daylight savings”. That is true. But certainly that is not the truth Paul is telling us to surround ourselves with to help us stand against the attacks of the enemy.
He also cannot be generalizing about some philosophical approach to truth. “You gird yourself with your ideal of truth, and I’ll gird myself with mine, and then we’ll march on together”.
A ship’s captain one day recorded in the ship’s log, "First-mate drunk today." It was a true statement, but was the first incident where the mate had been drunk while on duty. The mate pleaded with the captain to amend the statement, but the captain refused, saying it was a true statement.
The next time the First-mate was in charge of the ship, he recorded in the log, "Captain sober today."
Both statements true, but it may be rather difficult to work together in unity, telling those kinds of ’truths’ about one another.
No, Paul wasn’t generalizing. He was speaking very specifically of truth, but not of a particular truth; but of Biblical truth.
What Biblical truth? Well, truth pertaining to salvation to begin with. What I mean by that is not the truth that needs to be known to be saved, but the truth about what salvation is. When people first come to Christ they might know they are saved, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, newly come to them. But they don’t really understand what has happened or how. They must be taught this, just like a human doesn’t understand the birth process by going through it. They must be taught later.