|Volume 25 Number 6 June 2023
“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11 NKJV). A song we sometimes sing is “Soldiers of Christ, Arise.” One verse of this song states, “Stand, then in his great might, with all his strength endued; But take to arm you for the fight, the Panoply of God.” The Greek word for “panoply” (πανοπλία) refers to the full equipment of the heavily armed foot soldier, including both offensive and defensive weapons. Every Roman soldier going to battle would take special care to be thoroughly equipped and prepared since his life literally depended on it.
This word appears in the New Testament, not literally for a soldier fighting on the battlefield but in a spiritual sense. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to put on the “whole armor” or panoply of God. They were not to take just some of the equipment needed to fight but all the weapons available. To not have all the resources God offers leaves one vulnerable to attack from Satan, which could be fatal spiritually! Having the full or complete armor God provides enables one to stand against the devil’s methods (Ephesians 6:11). From the breastplate of righteousness to the sword of the Spirit, God has provided us all the spiritual equipment needed to overcome sin and so that we can be victorious in daily Christian living.
Paul wasn’t romanticizing warfare when he used this term. He had in view the harsh and stern reality of the soldier’s life. Peter penned that this is true spiritually, too. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As Christians, we are engaged in a war for our souls. “Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Let’s rejoice in the loving care God exercises through His Son, because “…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).
We should take seriously the struggle we face with sin daily. We can be completely equipped and prepared for Satan’s attacks if we take advantage of the provision God offers through Christ. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:10-11). Stand firm in the panoply of God and make use of it in the battles you face against Satan and sin. Your soul’s salvation depends on it.