Shield of Faith
By Shawn Tomlin
The fourth piece of the full armor of God is the shield of faith. Now shields were not typically worn into battle, but rather the soldier held onto it and gripped it tight. Ephesians 6:16 says, “in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Let’s look closer at what faith is and what it does.
So what is faith? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It was in faith that Noah built the ark, that Abraham left Ur and went to Canaan, that Abraham nearly sacrificed his son, Isaac, that Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, and the list goes on and on in Hebrews chapter 11. We, as believers, have hope in the promises of God and trust in Him fully. We have assurance of this because as we read Scripture, we see God always keeps His promises that He made in the covenants with His chosen people and now that we are also part of a covenant promise in Christ, the New Covenant, we can be assured of what was promised to us in faith.
So do we simply decide one day to believe in Christ? Nope! Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The very thing that can cause us to believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is given to us by that same God. Sinners would never choose to believe on their own. Our faith is a gift given out of the love of our gracious God.
Through our gift of faith we are justified, declared righteous before God, because our sins were punished with Christ on the cross.
That last passage from Ephesians also said “we are saved” and Galatians 2:16 elaborates on that by saying, “nevertheless, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” So our faith in Christ that we are given is what saves us. Not anything we do. Through our gift of faith we are justified, declared righteous before God, because our sins were punished with Christ on the cross.
Being brought to faith in Christ by God through the power of the gospel allows us to recognize our sin for what it really is and turn from it in repentance. By this faith the “flaming arrows of the evil one” are stopped by the shield of faith. Yes, we will still fall in this life to sin, but every single day our faith will bring us to repentance and the devil's fiery arrows will not cause us to die. Just like shields prevent mortal wounds by arrow strikes, so our salvation is secure because faith shields us. Just like a soldier holding fast to his shield, we need to hold fast to our faith in Christ.
Now we understand that we are ready with the Truth, we know that we are covered in Christ’s righteousness, we go out into the world carrying the gospel, holding fast to the only thing that can save us and protect us from the evil of sin, our faith in Christ.
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”