Walking Worthy of the Gospel: Put on the Armor of Truth and Righteousness
Truth and righteousness, these two go together like a hand and glove.
“Truth and ethics are tied together. Creedal confession and transformed living go hand in hand.” – D.A. Carson
The armor of truth and right living can’t be separated, and must be part of the Christian’s defense against the onslaught of the Enemy’s schemes to cause us to give ground rather than stand the ground of the kingdom.
Our belief in the truth and our ethical living of that truth are vital. So, let’s take a look at them today.
- Put on Truth
When we are talking about putting on truth, Paul’s language is key. “Truth” is a noun, not an adjective. In other words, we are not putting on “some truths”, but we are putting on the every essence of what is true.
I would argue that a failure to put on truth is a failure to believe the gospel of the kingdom. A person who does not love or obey the truth cannot call himself or herself a Christian.
Jesus’ stated mission in John 18:37, in his incarnation, living, dying, rising and ascending is to testify to what the truth is.
Jesus’ stand on the declaration that the metanarrative he has been revealing since creation until that point and on to the restoration of all things is the truth, and that truth is what the whole earth is to live by, and the truth his kingdom rests on means that he is either right, lying or deceived.
God’s Word tells us THE metanarrative. A metanarrative answers the questions: “where did everything come from”, “who am I”, “who are you”, “why are we here”, “how should we live”, “why do we die”, “what happens when we die”?
Every answer to any of these questions has to come from THE metanarrative of Scripture or some other metanarrative and they are either right or wrong. Jesus’ declaration demands he be right or wrong and that others be right or wrong. This is why Jesus is not so super popular unless one takes the position that Scripture “contains” truth rather than “is” truth. That is what liberal perversions of the faith have done.
A. God’s Word is Truth (noun not adjective) John 17:17
“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
B. Other worldviews answer these questions: Naturalism’s branches:
- Existentialism – I must find meaning IN my life because there is
no meaning OF my life
- Hedonism – Life has no purpose other than pleasure, so go for it.
- No place for suffering, so suffering must be wrong or out of
place or not God’s purpose.
- Nihilism – Life is nothing, empty; I can do anything I want.
- Humanism – I must make the world a better place for humans.
Listen to (1) what the Manual tells us about truth, (2) the world system’s response to the truth and (3) the consequences of not putting on truth or obeying the truth.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Romans 1:18, 25
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
“He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well- doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self- seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.”
2 Thessalonians 2:9-13
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
C. Satan is the father of lies and author of other metanarratives John 8:44-47
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
If this is the case, then all answers to the ultimate questions that don’t come from the philosophy of Jesus Christ, in whom is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, are lies and generated by Satan and are schemes of his to bowl us over.
How do we practice the truth?
- Don’t be taken captive Colossians 2:6-8
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
- Engage culture (in but not of)!
2a. Don’t withdraw (not in it and not of
it; offended by culture).
2b. Don’t conform (in it and of it; seduced by it).
- Use truth to destroy strongholds 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,…”
- Put on Righteousness
When we are talking about righteousness, we are talking about the noun, righteousness, not the adjective. We are talking about the outworking of the truth.
Righteousness is the behavior that comes from the truth.
We are talking about the behavior of those who claim the truth. We are not going to talk about too many super specific sins that constitute unrighteous behavior. Those can be too varied and that would take too long. We will mention a couple of explicit ones straight out of the text of Scripture.
Also, we have the issue of a conscience informed by the Holy Spirit that is unique to each person.
We are going to be keeping this big picture in regard to walking in righteousness.
The word “unrighteous” is “adikia” and is translated as “wrongdoing” and “unrighteous”. These words are interchangeable.
1 John 5:17 tells us that all “unrighteousness” / “wrongdoing” is sin.
So, unrighteousness is sin.
Putting on righteousness is loving holiness over sin. So, when we talk about sin, we are talking about unrighteousness.
You will note that below we are talking a lot about “unrighteousness” rather than “putting on righteousness”. Why?
As a diamond’s brilliance is most clearly seen against the backdrop of a black cloth, so righteous behavior becomes clearer when seen against the backdrop of sin and sin’s death.
Putting on righteousness will become clear.
“When you say no to sin and yes to righteousness, you win a spiritual battle. When you say yes to sin and no to righteousness, you lose a spiritual battle and need to quickly repent, turn to Jesus, renounce your sin, and press onward in Christ’s righteousness.” – Mark Driscoll
A. Satan was the Originator of and Instigator of the Deception of Sin
Genesis 3:1-6; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4
“But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed (the liberal Jesus and the evangelical Jesus are two different folks), or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.”
In other words, as Satan deceived Eve, so these imitations seek to deceive you. Meaning, it’s the same deception from the same source.
So, avoid the imitation metanarratives that are unrighteous.
B. Sin, Satan’s Best Friend, Will Seek to Master you
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Sin, unrighteousness, will become a master over you.
C. Satan Uses Sin to Accuse Jesus’ People
Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1
“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”
D. Realize A Life Pattern of Sin as The Characteristic of Life is Evidence of Belonging to Satan
1 John 3:8-9
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
E. Temptation to any idolatry, no matter how subtle, is Satanic and intended to Drag You Into the Demonic
1 Corinthians 10:1-22
“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability (you are able because he provides a way of escape), but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (11-13)
What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (19-22)
So, any temptation to put anything before God and his kingdom, is a temptation away from the truth and is Satanic and a participation with demons.
Chew on that reality for a while.
F. Unrighteous Anger Invites Satanic Activity
“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”
G. Disgraceful behavior is a Satanic Snare
1 Timothy 3:7
“Moreover, he (the pastor and others in the congregation) must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”
So, what might putting on righteousness look like?
- Putting on righteousness will look something like this:
1a. Repentance as the characteristic of life
1b. Sanctification through the transformation of our thinking
1c. Leaning on the renewal activity of the Holy Spirit as we
repent, are sanctified in thinking and establish new norms of
holiness by this grace
- Put off the old self and put on the new self.
Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 8:13
- Trust in and Bank on the Truth That God Keeps us from the Evil One
1 John 5:18
3a. We believe that Father has the Enemy on a leash (Job 1-2)
3b. We rest in the truth that Father will sustain us
- Put this armor on by praying Ephesians 6:18
Remember, prayer is how we get this armor on.
Prayer is practical ministry and it is the confession that we can’t and Father can.
We are not capable of truth and righteousness. We are capable of lies and sin. However, due to the grace of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit, we can be guided into truth and we can live holy lives that honor God.
So, we go to Father through prayer asking Father for these good gifts of armor, and Father is good to give them to us.
- Worship Father for Providing Us with all we need
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”
 Taken from Carson’s tweet on 5/27/15
 Italics Mine