In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:16-17)
This week as we read through Ephesians 6 we identified the conflict, confirmed the battle plan, put on the belt of truth, body armor of God’s righteousness, and the shoes of peace. The shoes, belt, and armor are fastened to us. We don’t need to do anything to keep them in place, they hold their own. The next item that Paul describes, is the shield of faith. We hold the shield and use it to deflect the devil’s fiery arrows.
How did the shield work in the Roman army?
“The Roman shield—the scutum—was not the standard “medieval-esque” shield most picture in their minds upon hearing the word. It was instead a very large, slightly curved rectangular shield featuring at its center a large metal knob (called a boss).
The scutum was an impressive line of defense. Because of its sheer size (some were three and a half feet tall and almost three feet wide), soldiers were afforded a great deal of protection from enemies. Because of its slight curve, it was able to deflect attacks without transferring the full force of the assault to the man holding the shield. Because of its boss, it was able to deflect even the more vicious blows and function in a limited offensive capacity as a means of knocking an opponent backwards.” [Adapted from Bible Study Guides, United Church of God]
Paul goes on to describe the helmet of salvation. The helmet of salvation protects our minds from the devil’s assault. We are saved, we are delivered, and we are His. The helmet of salvation lets us keep our head in the game.
The fact that the helmet is related to salvation indicates that Satan’s blows are directed at the believer’s security and assurance in Christ. The two dangerous edges of Satan’s spiritual broadsword are discouragement and doubt. To discourage us he points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father. [Adapted from Grace to you]
Paul completed his description of the armor of God with the sword of the Spirit- the word of God.
The sword is the only item listed by Paul that serves in an offensive capacity. Even if we have all the rest of the armor equipped perfectly, without our sword, we amount to little more than heavily armored moving targets.
The all-powerful sword of the living God is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise—down to the very division of bone and marrow. When wielded by a servant of God, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core of a matter and uncover the truth. As soldiers in God’s army, it is our responsibility and duty to use His Word to discern the truth and then follow it. When God’s Word shows us something wrong in ourselves, we can use this spiritual weapon to “surgically” remove the offending thoughts and actions (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). [Adapted from Bible Study Guides, United Church of God]
Unlike all other pieces of the armor of God, which are solely defensive, the sword is uniquely suited for both defensive and offensive roles. A solid defense is invaluable, but the sword is the only way we can complete the work we have been given to do.
Clad in the armor of God we are more than conquerors.