In Ephesians 6, Paul tells Christians to put on the full armor of God. While this sounds super cool to every boy in Sunday School dreaming of the Lord of the Rings, I’ve been finding myself looking through this passage again lately. I keep on returning to the concept of the belt of truth, and what it means to protect ourselves as Christians with truth. Is this all about smacking people with some hard facts and logic? How does apologetics relate to wearing the belt of truth?
Why is Truth a Belt?
Paul lists a number of pieces of armor. The Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Righteousness, the Shoes or Sandals of the Gospel of Peace, the Shield of Faith, the Helmet of Salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit. All of these different pieces are important. But, following Paul’s analogy, where does a belt fit into this? A belt isn’t really armor, but it holds the armor together. One could say that much like we need a belt to hold the pieces of our physical armor together, we need truth as the foundation of our spiritual armor.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Truth is the first piece of armor listed. Without truth, the rest of the armor cannot function. That may sound strange. How could salvation, the gospel, or faith not matter? Consider though, how would any of those concepts make sense without truth? How could we ever trust in God for our salvation, or study the scriptures without understanding truths from falsehoods? The fundamental questions of a worldview all hinge on true answers to big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What happens when I die? Truth is, in a sense, the foundational tool that God has given us to wield and make sense of the other pieces. The Belt of Truth is our first line of defense.
Make Apologetics Part of Your Belt of Truth
Giving a reasoned defense for your faith also hinges on truth. But rather than simply finding it, apologetics is one of the ways we can wield truth. As important as apologetics is for evangelism, it also can help Christians build confidence and trust in God. My feelings and convictions can vary from day to day. Sometimes I sit alone and start questioning, “Are you REALLY certain you have salvation? Why are you putting your faith in something you can’t see? How much peace do you really have from this gospel?” In that moment, I return to what I know. Whether I believe it or not is not the point. The point is whether or not Christianity is true. What do I know? I know that by all accounts there is a God, he became a man, died, resurrected, and by his grace I can have a relationship with him.
With that knowledge, who am I? I am a sinner, but through the sacrifice of Jesus, I am a child of the living God. All of this comes back to what is true. This emphasis on truth is one of the most unique things about Christianity. It’s not about me and what I can do. It’s about God and what he has done for us. As a result, we have a religion that can be tested and verified. The history can be checked, the evidence investigated, the reasons analyzed. A relativistic, “You do you,” or “Speak your truth” mentality is counter to the very foundations of Christianity.
Jesus Demonstrates This for Us
One other way we can apply the Belt of Truth is to use scripture. Granted that does overlap somewhat with the Sword of the Spirit, but again, the belt holds it all together. All throughout scripture we see an emphasis on God’s word being true. (John 17:17, John 16:13, Psalm 119:160, 2 Timothy 3:16) This is what we should expect from a God that places such a high value on objective truth. One of the best examples of this approach is from Jesus when he was tempted in the wilderness by Satan (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4).
When every temptation was thrown his way, Jesus went back to the truth of God’s word. He began every answer with, “For it is written…” He relied on what was already said, what was already true, to help him through his present trials. That’s something all of us need to remember in trying times. So take on the full armor of God, but never underestimate the importance of the Belt of Truth that holds it together.
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