DRESSING FOR BATTLE
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV)
Something not mentioned here is the understood requirement of a bath. If you were to dress your son for some special event, the first thing to be done is to remove his filthy clothes and give that child a bath; you would not dress him over his dirty body. The same thought can be understood with dressing in the armor of God. Would you put on the girdle of truth over lies, or the breastplate of righteousness over unrighteousness, the helmet of salvation on a head full of presumption, shoes for preparing to preach the Gospel of peace on feet that seek deception? Would you put a shield of faith into a hand occupied with doubt, or the sword of God’s Word in the hand of one exercised only in his own words? Definitely not! Yet that is exactly what has been taught for many recent years, and still prevails today.
You have likely heard a typical invitation for salvation to “join the family of God” which usually says to: Just admit that Christ is God’s Son, that He died on the cross for man’s sin, was resurrected on the third day, and that He is the way to heaven, and you will be saved, and eligible to become a member of the local church after you have been water baptized. But how can you put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness without first asking to be cleansed, without weeping over the filthy condition of your soul, without first hearing your Lord crying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of god is at hand”, without learning that Hell is the abode of sinners, that God is separate from sinners, that repentance is prerequisite to salvation?
Consider the popular invitation hymn, “Just as I am, WITHOUT ONE PLEA, but that thy blood was shed for me.” Without one plea? You should have made a plea for forgiveness, also; how about repentance? Have you asked for freedom from sin? Have you made a plea for acceptance, for love, for peace, for deliverance? Without these pleas and God’s forgiveness you have chosen to be a member of a “sinners anonymous family of god”. Then comes baptism.
After you are baptized, immersed (or sprinkled) in water you will hear the words afterwards that you are now welcome into the “family of God”. If you’ve never been washed in the cleansing blood of Jesus through humble repentance, then your sin remains and you are not forgiven, although you may now have found acceptance into a congregation of many other similar lost souls, none of whom have the God given desire to “put on the whole armor of God” and have no power over the enemy, and you among them.
There are many false teachers who have conveniently left out the words “repentance from sin” as the required condition for salvation, and they, likely being lost and dead in their own sin and trespasses continue to lead many down this disastrous and faithless road. Those deceived, their lives bound in sin, live with a futile hope that grace may abound for their peace. Multitudes are being drawn into this non-Biblical, false “family of God”, “just as they are”, unclean and lost. God’s armor is the garment of the Saints, not the unwashed, but the “born again”, new creatures, with new lives, new directions, new faith, hope and charity, whereby the message from God’s Saints cries out, “REPENT, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”, as Jesus preached from the beginning.
Are you an unwashed, unrepentant sinner believing in God who does not hear the prayers of sinners? God only hears sinners when they call upon the name of the Lord, a call for help, a call for forgiveness, a call for mercy, a weeping over their lost condition, needing salvation and a cleansing from sin. Here is where the entrance into the true “family of God” begins, and is completed in that same moment as God opens the door of salvation. Oh, glorious day!! Hear the Word of the Lord, and be saved today, for God loves your soul enough to have died for you.