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Judgment Seat of Christ

Arlen L. Chitwood


Chapter 4


To Him Who Overcomes


To the angel of the church in Ephesus . . . Smyrna . . . Pergamos . . . Thyatira . . . Sardis . . . Philadelphia . . . Laodicea write . . . .


I know your works . . . .


To him who overcomes . . . . (Revelation 2, 3)


Revelation chapters two and three contain seven messages to seven churches located in Asia during the first century; and these messages were directed to these churches through seven different angels — angels who had been placed over these seven churches.


This introduces a facet of angelic ministry within Christendom that is often overlooked.


According to Hebrews 1:14, angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation [lit., to minister for the sake of the ones about to inherit salvation].”   Then, according to Revelation chapters two and three, each church possessed an appointed, ministering angel; and the context clearly reveals that these angels had been placed in their respective positions for the same basic reason as set forth in Hebrews 1:14.


Angelic ministry in Christendom concerns the coming inheritance of the saints, the salvation of the soul, etc.  Hebrews 1:14 refers to the individual nature of angelic ministry (cf. Acts 12:15), and Revelation chapters two and three refer to the corporate nature of angelic ministry.


Many expositors over the years have sought to teach that the word “angel” in Revelation, chapters two and three (see also Revelation 1:16, 20) is a reference to individual pastors (or possibly other high officials) in each of the seven churches.  The Greek word translated “angel” (aggelos) refers to a messenger of God, and these seven messengers are looked upon by these individuals as seven human messengers from the seven churches.


This view, however, for several reasons, is not at all tenable:


1)      Revelation chapter one provides a distinction between the seven angels and individuals comprising the seven churches.  In this chapter, rather than being integrally identified, the seven angels and the seven churches are seen as separate, distinct entities.  The seven churches are represented by the “seven golden lampstands” in Christ’s midst, but the seven angels are represented by the “seven stars” in Christ’s right hand (vv. 13, 16, 20).


2)       Interpreting the word aggelos as a reference to individual pastors (seven pastors of seven churches) is not in keeping with that which is taught concerning pastors elsewhere in the New Testament.  Churches throughout the New Testament are never spoken of as having only one pastor.  The thought is always “pastors” (or “elders”) of a church (cf. Acts 14:23; 15:6, 23; 20:17; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1).


(The New Testament refers to churches in a region [e.g., “the churches of Macedonia” or “the churches of Galatia” (2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2)], but reference is made to only one church in a city or village [e.g., “the church of the Thessalonians” or “the church of (in) Ephesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:1; Revelation 2:1)].


All Christians in one city comprised one church that met in various homes throughout the city, requiring the ministries of pastors within that one church.  And the simplicity and oneness of the church in a city was characterized by the fact that all Christians in that city were automatically looked upon as being members of that church [Romans 14:1; 15:7; 16:2; 1 Corinthians 16:10, 11; 3 John 5-8].


This is the apparent fashion after which each of the seven churches in Revelation, chapters two and three was structured; and since there were no individual pastors of these churches, the use of the word aggelos in each epistle could not possibly be thought of as a reference to the pastor of the church being addressed.)


3)      Then, the manner in which the Greek word aggelos is used throughout the New Testament should be considered, particularly the way in which the word is used in the book of Revelation.  This word appears over one hundred eighty times in the New Testament, and seventy-six of these occurrences are in the book of Revelation alone.  There are only six instances in the entire New Testament where the word aggelos is clearly used of men as messengers of God (Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:24, 27; 9:52; James 2:25).  In all other occurrences there is nothing to indicate that the word should be understood as referring to anyone other than heavenly messengers.


To understand aggelos in Revelation chapters two and three (also 1:20) as referring to earthly messengers, while understanding the same word throughout the remainder of the book as referring to heavenly messengers, is forced and unnatural.  Consistency of interpretation would require one to acknowledge that angels are seen as being very instrumental in God’s dealings with mankind throughout this book, beginning in chapters one through three.


The Overcomers


The seven messages to the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three are all identical in their basic structure.  The opening verse of each message contains descriptive terminology taken almost exclusively, word-for-word, from the description of Christ given in chapter one, which has to do with judgment (ref. chapter 2 of this book under the section “We Must All Appear”).


Following this, each message begins with the statement, “I know your works . . . .” Then, certain things are stated concerning each church relative to past works, and each message concludes with an overcomer’s promise.


Contextually, the “descriptive” aspects of Christ in chapters two and three can only continue the thought of judgment from chapter one.  The seven epistles to the seven churches in chapters two and three provide additional information, forming commentary, with judgment continuing to be the central issue at hand.


“Works” are then brought into the picture in each epistle, for it is works that will be reviewed when Christians are judged.


“Overcoming” and promised “blessings” then terminate each epistle, clearly revealing that only the overcomers — those possessing works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones” — will be allowed to enter into the promised blessings.


There are seven different overcomer’s promises in chapters two and three and each promise is millennial in its scope of fulfillment.  That is, these promises will be realized during the 1,000-year reign of Christ after Christians have had their works tried “by [in] fire” at the judgment seat.


Christ is seen as Judge in the midst of the seven churches in chapter one, and chapters two and three provide information concerning why and on what basis these seven churches — representing Christianity as a whole — are to come under judgment.


The word “overcome” is a translation of the Greek word nikao, which means “to conquer” or “to gain a victory over.”  The thought inherent in the word nikao (or nike, the noun form of the word) always means to be victorious in a contest or conflict.  The “overcomers” are the conquerors, the victors; they are the ones who will have successfully run the race of the faith; they are the ones who will have conquered the numerous encountered obstacles along the way.


Christians have been saved with a view to their being overcomers and bringing forth fruit. This matter comprises the very heart of the message, which is to be proclaimed to Christians throughout the dispensation.  Israel has been set aside during this time, and God is calling another people — a separate and distinct people — “for His name,” taken mainly from among the Gentiles (Acts 15:14).


Those presently being called comprise an entirely new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) that is neither Jew nor Gentile, forming one new manin Christ” (Ephesians 2:13-15).  And God is extending to individual members of this one new man the privilege of overcoming and bringing forth fruit, with a view to their occupying positions as joint-heirs with Christ in the heavenly sphere of the coming kingdom.


The present dispensation is the time that God has set aside to accord redeemed man the privilege of overcoming and bringing forth fruit, and judgment at the end of this dispensation will reveal man’s response to this privilege.  Some Christians will be shown to have overcome, possessing works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones”; but other Christians will be shown to have been overcome, possessing works comparable to “wood, hay, straw” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).


The overcomers will, at that time, inherit the promised blessings of Revelation chapters two and three; but those shown to have been overcome will be denied these blessings. This is the subject matter dealt with in the opening three chapters of the book of Revelation.


Three Enemies


There are three great enemies in the Christian life that must be overcome. These enemies are 1) the world, 2) the flesh, and 3) the devil. All temptations come to Christians in these three realms, any one of them can produce shipwreck in the lives of Christians, and each is overcome after a different fashion.


1) The World


According to 1 John 5:1-5, the “world” is overcome by our faith:


Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.


By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.


For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.


For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.


Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?


The text deals with the saved, not with the unsaved.  It deals with the saved faithfully keeping the commandments of God by and through a bringing forth from above, and, in this manner, overcoming the world.


The thought advanced by many Christians that “overcome” in this passage has to do with the simple salvation message, placing every Christian in the status of an overcomer on the basis of his presently possessed eternal salvation, is completely foreign to that which is taught here or elsewhere in the New Testament.  In fact, such a teaching is completely contrary to and destroys that which is dealt with in this passage.


Overcoming does not even enter into the picture until after one has been saved.  There is no such thing as unsaved individuals overcoming the world (or, for that matter, the flesh, or the devil).  Overcoming has to do with spiritual verities, and only those who have “passed from death to life” — only those who have been made alive spiritually, by the Spirit breathing life into the ones previously having no life — can function in the spiritual realm.  In this respect, Christians alone are in a position to overcome in the manner seen in these verses.


Overcoming the world is the subject matter in 1 John 5:1-5, and there are four references in these five verses to being brought forth from above (three in v. 1 and one in v. 4).


And, as well, there are six other references in 1 John to the same thing, a major subject of 1 John in relation to Christians and overcoming (2:29; 3:9 [twice]; 4:7; 5:18 [twice].)

The expression, brought forth from above (born from above), is not used in 1 John or elsewhere in Scripture relative to the unsaved (John 1:13; 3:3-7; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3, 23).  The expression is always used relative to the saved.  Overcoming is in view, and the power to overcome is derived from above, not from within the individual.


(This is not to say that the divine work surrounding an unsaved individual believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and being saved is not to be viewed as a bringing forth from above, for there is no other way that he could be saved.  Rather, it is to say that Scripture does not use the expression in this manner.  Scripture uses the expression only one way — relative to a work of the Spirit among the saved.


For additional information on this subject, refer to the author’s book, Brought Forth From Above.)


Overcoming in verses four and five must be understood contextually.  Note the connecting word, “For,” beginning verse four.  The first three verses of this chapter place the one who has been brought forth from above in the position of keeping God’s commandments (the only way he can keep them — living in the sphere of the spiritual, not the fleshly).  Then, the person in verse four is one who, through faith (through believing God, inseparably associated with being brought forth from above), keeps these commandments; and, in this manner — by keeping God’s commandments — he is presently overcoming the world.


The “world,” referring to the present world system under the dominion and sway of the god of this age, is a major subject of 1 John.  Christians are commanded, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.”  The things in the world, under the control of Satan, are “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”


The world does not know the one True and Living God; nor does the world know Christians.  The entire world “lies in wickedness [under the control of the wicked one]” (1 John 2:15-18; 3:1; 5:19).  This is the status of the way things exist during Man’s Day, but a change is in the offing (near or foreseeable future).  The entire world system as we know it today is about to pass out of existence.  A change in the entire administration is about to occur.  Until that time though, Christians are to regulate their activities in accordance with 1 John 5:1-5.


2) The Flesh


According to Romans 8:13 and Colossians 3:5, the flesh is overcome by putting to deaththe deeds of the body,” which emanate from the ever-present sin nature, and all things emanating from the sin nature are to be kept in a constant state of mortification:


For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)


Therefore put to death your members that are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)


The revealed way to put to death “the deeds of the body” is set forth in Romans 8:13, 14: “. . . if by the Spirit . . . as many as are led by the Spirit of God . . . .”  This, as well, is what is involved in Galatians 5:16ff:  “Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh . . . .”


There is a constant warfare in the life of every believer brought about by the presence of both the man of flesh and the man of Spirit residing in the same body, with either man capable of gaining the ascendancy and proving victorious in the conflict.  Walking in the Spirit, being brought forth from above, will assure victory over the man of flesh; and in this manner the Christian will be putting to death (mortifying) “the deeds of the body,” overcoming the flesh.  On the other hand, giving way to the flesh will quench the Spirit, assuring defeat in one’s life.  In this manner the Christian will be allowing “the deeds of the body” to live, resulting in his being overcome by the flesh.


The man of flesh with his deeds are seen in Scripture only one way — a ruined creation, under the sentence of death (cf. Genesis 1:2-4; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Romans 7:24).  And if man doesn’t put the things associated with the man of flesh to death during the present time, they will rise up and testify against him at a future time, with the Lord Himself being forced to take care of matters.  The sentence of death must and will be carried out — whether by man during the present time or by the Lord during a time yet future.


The original and unchangeable pattern for restoration associated with a ruined creation has forever been established in the opening verses of Genesis.  The darknessupon the face of the deep” in Genesis 1:2a had to do with darkness over a material creation that had come into a state of ruin; and this darkness continued to exist even following the restoration of the ruined creation (vv. 3-5).  God simply brought light into existence and left the darkness alone.  He placed light alongside the darkness and divided between the two (cf. Isaiah 45:7).


However, the day is coming when God will make “all things new.”  And, at that time, the present darkness seen in the opening chapter of Genesis will no longer exist (Revelation 21:5, 25).


Fallen man forms a subsequent ruined creation of God, and the restoration of this ruined creation must be effected after the identical order set forth in the original pattern.  The parallel restoration for man, wherein the light shinesout of darkness,” occurs at the point of his salvation, the point of his believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.  The man of flesh, associated with the ruined creation (as the darkness in the Genesis account was associated with the ruin of the material creation), continues in existence.  As the darkness was retained in the restoration of the material creation, so the old nature is retained in the restoration of man; but as God brought light into existence and made a division between the light and the darkness in Genesis, He brings a new nature into existence and makes a division between the new and the old today.


Then, the day is coming when God will make “all things new”; and as the darkness in the first chapter of Genesis will no longer exist, the old nature presently possessed by redeemed man will, likewise, no longer exist (cf. Romans. 7:24; 8:23; 1 John 3:2).


“Darkness” in Scripture is associated with the works of the flesh (John 3:19; Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5), and the roots of this association, as previously noted, are found in the opening verses of Genesis.  Darkness appears in connection with the ruined creation in the type, and the old nature appears in connection with the ruined creation in the antitype.  


Nothing good is ever said about darkness in Scripture.  Only of the light does God use the word “good” (Genesis 1:4).  And the same must hold true concerning the old and new natures possessed by man (cf. 1 John 1:6, 8).


Both darkness and the old nature are, so to speak, under the sentence of death; and this sentence is to be carried out — by man during the present time, or by the Lord yet future.  Thus, waiting for the coming day, when the Lord will complete matters relative to the carrying out of this sentence of death, redeemed man in his present state is to reprovethe unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:11); he is to mortify — put to death —the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13).  And in this manner alone redeemed man is to overcome the flesh.


3) The Devil


According to James 4:7 and 1 Peter 5:8, 9, the devil (Satan) is overcome by resisting:


Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7).


Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.


Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8, 9)


Christians are to set themselves against, withstand, the devil as they stand firm in the faith.  “The faith” is an expression in the New Testament peculiarly related to the Word of the Kingdom (e.g., Acts 6:7; 13:8; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Galatians 1:23; Colossians 1:23; 2 Timothy 3:8; Jude 3).  Christians are in a contest/race of “the faith” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7).  And it is while standing firm in the faith, in this race, that Christians are to withstand, resist, Satan.


Christians are to be “sober . . . vigilant”; and the reason given is “because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”  The word “sober” is the translation of the Greek word, nepho, which means “to exercise self-control” or “to be well-balanced”; and the word “vigilant” is a translation of the Greek word, gregoreo, meaning “to watch,” or “to be awake,” as seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 10 (ref. chapter 2 in this book).


Christians are to always be watchful and exercise a well-balanced judgment in the race of the faith, for Satan stands ever ready to bring about defeat in their lives through his “wiles [crafty, deceitful ways]” (Ephesians 6:11).


Why is Satan so intensely interested in bringing about defeat in the lives of Christians today?  Why has Satan expended so much time and energy throughout almost two millennia in efforts to bring Christianity into the apostate condition in which it presently finds itself?  What is so special about Christianity, attracting Satan’s attention after this fashion?   The answer is very simple, but it is one which goes almost completely unrecognized within the confines of the lukewarm, apostate Laodicean Church of today.


To properly understand the present warfare between Satan and Christians, one must go back to the creation of man and understand certain things concerning the reason for man’s creation.  Adam was brought into existence to rule the earth, and Eve was removed from Adam’s body, by and through the process revealed in Genesis 2:21-23, to reign as consort queen with him (Genesis 1:26-28).   And the dominion to be exercised by Adam was the one which Satan held at that time (and continues to hold today).


Satan had previously been brought into existence to rule the earth. He was the “anointed cherub [messianic angel].”  He held the chief position among a great host of angels who, along with him, ruled the earth under the one True and Living God, in a complete structural breakdown of powers and authorities (cf. Ezekiel 28:14-16; Luke 4:5, 6; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9).


But the day came when Satan rebelled against the Lord and succeeded in leading one-third of the angels ruling with him at that time in this rebellion.  Satan sought to elevate his throne (increase his delegated power and authority) and “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13, 14).  Satan sought to become the ruler over all the provinces throughout the universe — the position held by God Himself — rather than continue ruling only the province over which he had originally been placed.


As a result, Satan’s kingdom was reduced to a ruined state, but he himself retained his position as ruler of the kingdom.  And he would be allowed to retain this position until that day when his God-appointed successor appeared on the scene, ready to take the scepter (Genesis 1:2a, 26, 28; Psalm 110:1, 2).


This is the reason Satan was so intensely interested in bringing about the fall of Adam.  Adam had been created to occupy the position that Satan held.  The wrecked domain (the earth) had been restored, and the one created to rule in Satan’s stead had been created from the very dust of the restored domain.  Satan’s replacement was present, on a restored domain, though he had yet to take the scepter.


Thus, following Adam’s creation, the only hope that Satan possessed was to bring about Adam’s disqualification through sin, as he himself had previously been disqualified through sin.  Otherwise, Adam would ultimately take the scepter, and Satan’s reign would end.


However, such was not to occur.  Satan, by tempting Eve, brought about the first man, the first Adam’s fall and disqualification.  This allowed Satan to continue his reign, necessitating the appearance of the second Man, the last Adam at a later date (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:45).


The second Man, the last Adam not only had to be brought on the scene, but He had to meet Satan face-to-face in order to show that He was fully qualified to act in the realm for which man had originally been created.  Then, the last Adam provided redemption for fallen man, with a view to man ultimately occupying the position for which he had originally been created.


Christ’s virgin birth (He must be God as well as Man, for the triune God alone can act in the realm of redemption [Genesis 1-4]), His face-to-face encounter with Satan in the wilderness, and His vicarious death at Calvary, have all come to pass.  However, He has yet to wrest the governmental reins of the earth from Satan’s hands.  He has yet to take the scepter and rule the earth in Satan’s stead.


An interval of time exists prior to His taking the kingdom in order that He, by and through the Holy Spirit, might call out a bride to reign as consort queen with Him.  This is the reason for the present dispensation, a fact little recognized and understood in Christendom today.


As the first Adam possessed a bride removed from his body to reign with him (proceeding the time he was to take the scepter), so will the last Adam.  This bride is presently being called out from among the redeemed, and for the past two millennia, Satan has been doing all within his power to thwart God’s purpose for the present dispensation.  His attack today is directed specifically and intently against Christians for one simple, revealed reason.  Christians are the ones destined to be placed as consort queen with Christ in His reign.


Christ is presently at the right hand of God, and Satan cannot touch Him; but Christians are presently upon the earth, and Satan walks “to and fro on the earth . . . back and forth on it” (Job 1:7; 2:2; cf. 1 Peter 5:8), venting his wrath against them, seeking at every turn to bring about their defeat and consequent disqualification to occupy a position with Christ during the coming day of His power.  Satan, at every turn, seeks to overcome Christians, rather than allowing Christians to overcome him.


In the coming kingdom, Christ will rule in Satan’s stead, and Christians ruling with Christ will rule in the stead of angels presently ruling with Satan.  The entire matter surrounding the present warfare between Satan and Christians has the coming kingdom in view.  Overcoming Christians will occupy the numerous proffered positions of power and authority with Christ in the kingdom, but the Christians who are overcome will be denied these positions.  Future positions with Christ in the kingdom, presently being offered to Christians, are for the overcomers alone.


“There exists a government of the universe conducted by great angels and their subordinates.  Many of these have fallen from their original allegiance to God and prostitute their offices and powers to corrupt His realms.  It is therefore inevitable that a rearrangement shall come in that heavenly government.  This will be effected by Christ and His glorified followers being invested with the whole of that heavenly authority. For it is written that ‘not unto the angels hath God subjected the inhabited world to come’” (Hebrews 2:5).”

—G. H. Lang

World Chaos, 1948


The Whole Armor of God


Ephesians 6:10-18 is the passage in the Word of God that instructs Christians concerning how to be properly clothed in order to withstand the onslaughts of Satan and his demons today.  There is a battle presently being waged.  This battle is specifically said to not be “against flesh and blood [not against fallen man residing on the earth],” but, instead, “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world [age], against spiritual wickedness in high places [against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenlies]” (v. 12).  And the issue at hand concerns a future governmental control over the earth from a heavenly realm as joint-heirs with the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”


A battle of this nature requires extensive preparation, and only those properly prepared can be victorious in the battle.  This is the reason given in Ephesians 4:11ff for the placement of pastor-teachers in the Church, and this is the reason given in Ephesians 6:10ff for the battle-dress in which Christians are to be arrayed.


Christians entering into this conflict are to take unto themselves “the whole armor of God.”  Nothing short of this will suffice, for Christians are able to withstand Satan’s attacks (are able to stand against the wiles of the devil) only in this manner.


Six items are listed for Christians to take in order to be properly clothed in the present conflict:


1)  “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth . . . .” (v. 14a).  


There is no definite article before “truth.”  This is not “the truth,” which is the Word of God.  That appears later (v. 17).


The girdle is placed about the waist first, and the other pieces of armor are affixed to the girdle.  Placing the girdle about the waist is with a view to the other pieces of armor also being taken and put on; and for a Christian to put on the girdle of truth can only be synonymous with a Christian entering the conflict in a truthful or sincere and earnest manner, looking ahead to continuing the process of putting on the armor, ultimately resulting in his being clothed with the whole armor of God.


Arraying one’s self with the girdle has to do with a Caleb- and Joshua-type attitude toward the goal in view:


. . . Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30).


2)  “. . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness” (v. 14b).  


Note that this is something that the Christian himself is to put on.  This has nothing to do with the righteousness of Christ imputed to the Christian at the time of the birth from above.  Rather, the “breastplate of righteousness” has to do with right living.  It has to do with the “righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8, ASV), which make up the wedding garment.


3)  “and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (v. 15).


Note the emphasis in verses eleven, thirteen, and fourteen relative to standing as one goes forth to battle:  “to stand” (v. 11), “withstand [lit., ‘stand against’],” “to stand” (v. 13), and “Stand” (v. 14).  One must have solid footing to stand upon.  Both feet must be firmly planted, “shod . . . with the preparation [‘readiness’] of the gospel of peace.”


There are two aspects to the gospel in Scripture.  One appears in connection with “peace with God,” and the other appears in connection with “the peace of God.”


“Peace with God” comes about through justification by grace through faith, as seen in Ephesians 2:8, 9:  “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).  This peace results from one being placed upon the foundation, with the most sure, steadfast footing possible, apart from which there can be no conflict.


However, distinctions between “peace with God” and “the peace of God” are not what is in view in Ephesians 6:15, for availing oneself of the proper footwear (for both feet) is something that, contextually, occurs following salvation.


In a parallel passage to that which is in view, the latter part of Romans 10:15 states,


How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!


The feet are seen as the vehicle of transportation for the messenger, as he goes about proclaiming good news concerning peace.  Within the overall scope of the good news, as previously stated, there is a facet of the message having to do with “peace with God” (for the unsaved [Romans 5:1]) and there is a facet of the message having to do with the “peace of God” (for the saved [Philippians 4:5-7]).  The contextual emphasis in Romans 10:15 though has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved.


Exactly the same thought is in view regarding the armor in Ephesians 6:15.  Having one’s feet properly shod has to do with proper preparation relative to the good news concerning peace, as it pertains to the saved, exactly as seen in Romans 10:15;  and this would be based on the person already having “peace with God,” as seen in Romans 5:1.


The messenger’s feet being properly shod shows a proper preparation of the messenger as he goes about proclaiming this message concerning peace.  And this message of peace would have two facets — the peace of God now (having to do with the present aspect of salvation, the outworking of the saving of the soul), culminating in a future peace when the Prince of Peace is Himself present (having to do with the future aspect of salvation, when the salvation of the soul will be realized).


4)  “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (v. 16).  


“Faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter.  The weakness of the average Christian is lack of faith, which results from the neglect of prayerful study of and meditation in the Word of God.  Hebrews chapter eleven, the great chapter on faith, provides the capstone to the first ten chapters of the book of Hebrews; and the opening two verses of chapter twelve provide the capstone to all that is stated in chapter eleven.


In these verses, Christians are exhorted to “lay aside every weight [every hindrance in the spiritual warfare], and the sin which so easily ensnares us [lack of faith, the besetting sin common to every Christian (ref. chapter 11)].”  And in this manner alone Christians are to “run with endurance” the race set before them, “looking to Jesus [lit., looking from, to Jesus (i.e., looking from all that surrounds, to Jesus)] . . . .”


5)  “And take the helmet of salvation . . . .” (v. 17a).  


1 Thessalonians 5:8 reveals that this helmet is the “hope of salvation.”  This is the salvation to be revealed (salvation of the soul) at the time Christ returns.  The hope set before Christians is the hope of occupying a position with Christ in His coming kingdom.  There is no other doctrine in the Word of God that will inspire and encourage a Christian more in the present conflict against Satan and his demons than the doctrine of “that blessed hope” (Titus 2:12, 13; cf. Colossians 1:5, 27; Titus 1:2; 3:7; Hebrews 3:6; 6:18).


6)  “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (v. 17b).  


Christ Himself, in the temptation account, demonstrated that the one great weapon to be used against Satan is the Word of God.  Satan also knew and attested to the power of this Word when he attempted to use it against Christ (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; cf. Hebrews 4:12).  David said, “Your Word I have hid in mine heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).  It is vitally important, it is imperative, that Christians know and use the Word of God in the present conflict.


Having properly clothed and armed themselves, Christians are to then be:


Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. (v. 18)


Overcoming is a lifelong task, provision has been made, and proffered rewards await the victors.  In the words of Paul, as he was moved [borne along] by the Holy Spirit, “So run, that you may obtain” (1 Corinthians 9:24b).