Summary: In the spiritual battle we are called to be those whose lives are in solidarity with the life of Jesus. Are we going to live as He wants us to live? Or are we going to live with our own purposes in mind?
The Belt of Truth
Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ,
In the Macquarie Dictionary the word "truth" has 10 different definitions.
• “Truth” can be a description of actual facts.
• “Truth” can refer to a state of genuineness.
• “Truth” also plays a major part in integrity.
So when we buckle on the belt of truth what are we doing? Are we buckling up a set of facts? Are we talking about being genuine Christians? Is it an issue of being people of integrity?
The concept of truth has so many applications that we need to understand what it means before we can understand how to use this piece of the armour. We need this understanding because we are in a battle. It is not a battle against flesh and blood; it is a spiritual battle. Part of winning that battle is to know what the belt of truth is and how to use it. So let’s be willing to learn what it means to be equipped as God’s warriors.
(Point 1) Examining the Belt
To be able to examine the belt properly we have to put aside our 20th century perceptions and put ourself into the first century.
In the first century when you got dressed you would put on your “loin cloth” – which was like an oversized nappy. Then you would put on your undergarment, which was basically a long baggy shirt. After that you would put on your cloak. Basically this process meant you had all this baggy clothing hanging off you. Which is why you needed your belt. It would be used to gather all that lose clothing and hold it in place so that the clothing would not get in the way when you were walking around. Belts were important, even for ordinary citizens. But for those who were military officers the belt also served to hold the bottom of breastplate in place, and also to hold the sheath for the sword.
If the belt was not in place you would always be in danger of tripping over your own clothing. And, for a soldier, if the belt was not in place, you also would not be able to get ready for battle. The belt needs to be trustworthy otherwise the rest of the armour is useless. That is the significance of the belt in a literal sense. But let’s remember what Paul is doing here. This is not a commentary on military fashion items. Ephesians 6:14a is talking about a belt which has spiritual significance. When it comes to understanding the spiritual significance of this piece of equipment we see that trustworthiness and dependability is the key.
In the spiritual battle God needs soldiers who are properly equipped to fight the battle. Which raises a very significant question. How trustworthy and dependable are you as you seek to be a soldier for God? It is a significant question, but it isn’t always a comfortable question.
It isn’t a comfortable question because I’m not asking how much knowledge you have about the truth. Knowledge about the truth is necessary. And we should be people who read and study the Word of God. But if all we are doing is gathering knowledge without also being willing to be engaged in the spiritual battle, then we are not really acting as trustworthy and dependable soldiers.
How trustworthy and dependable are you? It isn’t a comfortable question because I’m not asking you about the truth of your relationship to Jesus. And of course that relationship is necessary. We need Jesus as a Saviour. We have to trust in the fact that His blood was given so that we could be saved. Indeed we will not even realise that we are in a spiritual battle until we are brought into God’s family by Jesus. A relationship with Jesus is essential. But if we are not willing to fight the same fight as Jesus did then we are not really acting as trustworthy and dependable soldiers.
As we examine the belt of truth we are being asked to examine our commitment to kingdom work. And that raises the question:- How trustworthy and dependable are you as you seek to be a soldier for God? The belt of truth is not primarily focussing on the truth which comes out of God’s Word. The belt of truth is not an example of the truth of your confession about Jesus and your need for His grace. The belt of truth is asking you about your priorities. Are you willing to put on the belt of truth which demonstrates that you truly want to be committed to Jesus and have solidarity with Him?
Now it is true, and it always will be true, that we are saved by grace. In Christ we have been liberated and set free. Through the blood of Jesus we are assured that our sin has been paid our sin. By grace we are accepted as a member of God’s family and an heir to eternal life. Paul believed this and taught it to the churches. “It is by grace you have been saved … not by works so that no one can boast”. That is what Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9. But it is also true that we need to be willing to put on the armour which God has provided. We need to show our solidarity with the cause of Christ by taking up the belt of truth.