Monday, April 9, 2012

Well-Dressed Christians

If we properly understand the enemy's solid mass, we would see that it is time to make war.  No one would be courageous against the enemy's battle array without the Apostle's armor [Eph 6:14].  Indeed, everyone is familiar with that divine armor, an inflexible phalanx against our adversaries' weapons.  The Apostle divides the virtues into various kinds and fashions the proper armor from each one.  By faith he entwines righteousness and fortifies the breastplate with heavy armor to protect the soldier.  One piece of armor cannot be disjointed from another because the entire suit provides safety.  Neither can faith save without works of righteousness nor does righteousness provide salvation unless yoked to faith.  For this reason the armor about the heart is entwined with faith and righteousness for the soldier's protection; we understand the heart as this breastplate.  A valiant man arms his head with hope, signifying a sublime hope for the good soldier like a helmet crest held on high.  The shield covering the weapon is faith which arrows cannot penetrate; without a doubt, the arrows cast by our enemy are various assaults of the passions.  The defensive arms fortifying us against the brave enemy's right hand is the Holy Spirit who strikes fear into the adversary yet saves the person who puts him on.  The Gospel's entire teaching secures our feet, leaving no part of the body bare and susceptible to blows.

Gregory of Nyssa, Eighth Homily on Ecclesiastes

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