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Is Ephesians 6 Just an Impossible 'To Do' List?

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This question came from a woman named Joyce.

How does Ephesians 6 work out in relation to walking and living the Spirit filled life, i.e. putting on the whole armor of God. It seems to be a list of "to do".

  • Take up the armor to be able to stand in evil day
  • Gird with Truth
  • Put on breastplate of Righteousness
  • Shod feet with Gospel of Peace
  • Take up shield of Faith
  • Helmet of Salvation
  • Sword of the Spirit
  • Praying in the Spirit


Here's my answer:

Hello Joyce,

Great to meet you recently at the Revival Preparation Conference in West Virginia!

Great question too! On the surface many passages can sound like a "To Do" list. Yet without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Several thoughts can help us understand the responsibility of faith in this particular passage.

First, each piece of the armor is a quality of Jesus or comes from Jesus.

  • Truth in the belt of truth—Jesus is "the truth" (John 14:6).
  • Righteousness in the breastplate of righteousness—"Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us...righteousness" (1 Cor. 1:30).
  • Peace in your feet being shod with the gospel of peace—"My peace I give unto you" (John 14:27).
  • Faith in the shield of faith—"Looking unto Jesus, the author...of faith" (Heb. 12:2).
  • Salvation [Deliverance] in the helmet of salvation—"Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins [positionally and practically]" (Matt. 1:23).
  • The Word in the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God—Jesus is "the Word" (John 1:1).

Second, the terms for "putting on" are all descriptions of faith. The terminology "put on" translates from "be endued." Only God meets the standard of God—so put on Jesus. Be endued with Jesus. The fact that you're "putting on" shows dependence on. It is not a matter of attempting truth, righteousness, and so forth, because apart from Jesus we can do nothing. It is a matter of being clothed with Jesus.

So the "To Do" list is really a list of steps of faith. Therefore, putting on the armor of God is the Spirit-filled life with imagery.


John Van Gelderen is an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. He blogs on experiencing Jesus at

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