In his famous summons to “put on the full armor of God” in Ephesians chapter 6, St. Paul says: “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”
The Roman soldier wore a heavy belt that guarded and supported his middle. It was more than some decorative Elvis belt. It allowed him to tuck in or gird up any loose-flowing robes or clothing to be prepared for action, free from anything that would trip him up, free to fight.
This objective truth of which Paul speaks is the opposite of the devil’s lies. Satan wants us to believe that there is no truth, that nobody can know the truth, that to claim to have the truth is the height of arrogance, that to be in a state of moral and doctrinal confusion is a sign of pious humility and stupendous intelligence.
In the early centuries of the Church, men came together from different countries to set forth the truth plainly. They did this because heretics, false teachers, had planted confusion among God’s people.
On the basis of the Bible these men said, “This is true and this is false.” They defined the heresy, condemned it and excommunicated the men who taught it. Humanly speaking, if they had not done so, there would be no true Christian Church today.
These early Church Councils produced the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds. By them, the orthodox leaders of the Church said to their people: “This is the substance of your faith according to the Bible. Recite it. Get it into your head and heart. Wrap it around you and buckle it on.” In similar fashion, we buckled on the belt of truth at the time of the Reformation with the Lutheran Confessions.
So the stammering youngster stands at the teacher’s desk reciting what his parents and grandparents recited, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and “I believe that I cannot by my own thinking or choosing believe in Jesus Christ my Lord…” and “Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me.”
The youngster is buckling on the belt of God’s truth. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you,” says the psalmist. Let us do this ourselves – in regular Bible reading – buckling on the belt of truth…confessing that there is such a thing as truth…and the truth matters…eternally!