God's Belt of Truth
Since we love Jesus Christ and confess him to be the only Lord and Savior, we shall come into conflict and must learn to fight our deadly foe as God has shown us. To preserve, encourage us, and give us confidence of victory, we have a guide of which the world knows nothing and has no share (John 14:17). Lacking him, the Holy Spirit, the world remains dead in sin (Eph. 2:2), enslaved to the fear of death and Satan’s deceptions (Heb. 2:14-15; 2 Cor. 4:4), and cut off from the life of God (Eph. 2:12). Without the Holy Spirit’s quickening, there is no union with Christ, and therefore no share in his salvation, wisdom, or power. Our Lord summarized life outside of him with one word: darkness (John 3:19). Praise God that we are delivered from darkness! The Holy Spirit has given us the Holy Scriptures and a new heart to receive the love of the truth (John 3:5,6,8; 2 Thess. 2:10). The Scriptures are uniquely his production, “breathed out by God” (2 Tim. 3:16). Peter said the same when he spoke of the Old Testament Scriptures as coming from the “Spirit of Christ that was in them” (1 Pet. 1:11).
Being one of the great works of the third Person of the Trinity, the Scriptures are infallible and all-sufficient (2 Tim. 3:17). Without an infallible Scripture, the work of the Holy Spirit as a distinct and equal person within the Godhead is inevitably reduced to a force or feeling, not the all-wise, omnipotent, covenant-keeping, speaking God that he is. In every church that has tolerated and finally accepted low views of infallibility and sufficiency of the Bible, the work of the Holy Spirit has been misunderstood or directed into false and fanatical spiritualism. Christ himself is lost sight of, for it is the work of the Spirit to reveal Christ to us in the Scriptures.
A high view of Scripture, as coming from the mind and historical working of the Holy Spirit, is critical if we are to resist the devil and his lies. Without the love of God’s truth in Scripture, we shall have no confidence to use the armor God has given to us. Instead, we shall be like children, tossed by every wind and wave of doctrine and fearful of what we see happening in the world (Eph. 4:14).
Even the first piece of God’s armor teaches us this: the belt of truth. As the soldier’s various pieces of armor are cinched together by his belt, keeping all in order and giving him stability in battle, so the life of the Christian must be cinched up with God’s truth. Life without the Bible makes us clumsy, prone to stumble over every temptation and difficulty, filled with anxiety, and unable to resist confidently sin and Satan. Ignorance of the English Bible, therefore, explains Satan’s inroads into our particular land as much as anything else. Truth keeps him out or at bay; ignorance of God’s truth opens us to his attacks.
After telling us to be strong in the Lord and to guard against Satan’s deceits, the Holy Spirit directs us to be clothed with God’s armor. We are to take it up, put it on, learn how to use it, and fight clothed with it. It is God’s provision for us in our battle against the devil. He begins with truth, for Satan is not bested by spiritual enthusiasm but by eternal truth. The God of truth overcomes the father of lies by his word believed and obeyed. God’s truth certainly gives us holy and heavenly feelings, even seasons of tremendous joy and peace. But let us get God’s order correct; truth first. All else that is good and powerful to defeat the devil and to overcome his lies begins with God’s truth.
He is the speaking God. He “spoke to the fathers by the prophets” (Heb. 1:1). He has “spoken in these last days by his Son” (Heb. 1:2). “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live” (John 5:25). “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak” (John 16:13). The living Word, God’s Son, has come down from heaven to reveal the Father to us (John 1:18). We hear our Savior’s voice when the Spirit of truth takes what is Christ’s and shows it to us. We learn of Christ and enjoy his benefits not by consulting our moods and human authorities but by hearing and obeying the Scriptures, “to which we must take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1:19).
When I was growing up in the 1970’s not wearing a belt in some quarters was a little protest “against the system,” against the clean-cut order it represented, against a life that was generally “together.” My father always made me wear a belt. Now I understand why. The reason is indirectly related to Ephesians 6:12. Too many believers are defeated by sin and Satan because their lives are disorderly, not tied together with God’s truth, not organized by and immersed in the Bible. This is reflected in our casual worship and casual dress. It used to matter what we wore. We could distinguish the common from the holy. Will a slovenly person take seriously the need to wear God’s belt of truth? Or someone who idolizes comfort and always seeks fun? A belt signals “being put together.” God’s belt of truth signals “being put together” with his wisdom, ready to fight his war. Learn the connection between small personal signals and habits and your success in larger and more important battles.
God’s stabilizing belt of truth is the opposite of sin’s chaos. The rioters in our land do not sit down to have deliberations about their concerns. A Molotov cocktail is their manifesto. Those in our legislative and judicial assemblies who advocate socialism, universal guaranteed income, and various green deals do not debate; they misrepresent their agendas, are silent when election results are fraudulent, and break their vows to uphold the Constitution. Do not wonder at this. Where unbelief and darkness reign, truth’s patient persuasion is forsaken for sin’s raw power. The upraised fist is the rebel’s sign, not the knee prostrate in prayer or the humble heart hearing God’s still, small voice. Thus, when others scream, we should not scream back. “The wrath of man does not accomplish the righteousness of God” (James 1:20). Those belted with God’s truth feel no need to scream, for they know that history, truth, and more importantly, God himself, are on their side. “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15). He who lives in God’s quiet place is secure under his shadow (Ps. 91:1).
Because “the whole world lies in the wicked one” (1 John 5:19) and “God sends them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thess. 2:11), we must be belted with God’s truth. It is at the church that Satan aims his fiery missiles, and some of them have found the mark. For example, Genesis 1-3 is poetic; therefore, the creation order and authority established by God for home, church, and society is not normative but malleable. Or, women can preach, exercise authority over men in the church, and lead in worship. Or, Romans 13 gives state agencies authority over the spheres of health, education, and welfare, so they must be obeyed. We are bleeding from these deceits and many others. We must put on God’s belt of truth so that we can take up the rest of the armor and fight.
Remember that the belt is only one part of the armor. It holds securely the breastplate of righteousness so that we do not lose confidence in God’s favor, keep our hands free to use the sword of the Spirit, and walk securely with gospel shoes. The belt is the girdle that holds everything in place. Without God’s truth, we are unsteady. The smallest thing will be make us stumble. But if, for example, the Lord’s hand suddenly strikes us with a disease, rather than Satan’s fiery missile of fear piercing us, we can hold up the sword that fights back with his promises, the breastplate of our acceptance with God through Christ’s righteousness and our interest in him, and the shield of faith that trusts our Father’s love and wisdom. Or when our nation shows clear signs of being judged by God, so that what was left of the rule of law is thrown down, the belt of truth prevents us from giving way to despair or yielding to man’s tyranny. The belt of truth says: “God remains on his throne. Of course the unbelieving world will teeter and be judged. The best way forward is to walk with the Spirit in obedience to God’s word. Do today’s duty, do it unto the Lord, asking him for strength, ignoring men’s threats.”
Are you wearing God’s belt? His eye is upon those who are humble before him and who tremble at his word (Isa. 66:2). The world of unbelief is unhinged and stumbles because it walks in darkness (Prov. 4:19). Be sure you understand the connection between the belt of God’s truth and walking securely. Are you stumbling? Beset by the little sins? Stuck in the mud so that you seem to make no progress? Fearful and anxious? Has your heart grown cold and lost Jesus Christ as your first love? Put God’s belt back on and tie it tightly around you. Saturate your mind and life with his word. Ask the Father for the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ” (Eph. 1:17). He is your teacher (1 John 2:27). Submit to his lessons, and you will walk securely without stumbling (John 11:9,11). As with Abraham on Moriah, Elijah on Carmel, and our Lord in the wilderness, God’s word holds your life together in the hottest part of the fight.