Are you righteous? For someone to claim so almost immediately makes them seem to be anything but. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to come into agreement that no one is perfect. However, when we don’t accept the gifts that Christ purchased for us and use them the way that He intends us to, then it is impossible for us to truly prosper.
The Breastplate of Righteousness
The Breastplate of Righteousness is the second piece of armor to be discussed in this series.The first piece of armor that is mentioned in Ephesians 6 is the Belt of Truth. The truth of God’s Word must be secure in our hearts and minds. Then and only then are we able to securely and effectively wield and wear the rest of the Armor of God.
As mentioned, claiming righteousness is a difficult thing to do. One of the first Scriptures that we learn from Romans 3 clearly says that there is no one who is righteous, not even one! This is the knowledge we all come to before we see our need for a Savior. We see ourselves in a lost and sinful condition and we understand that we cannot be good or in right standing with God by our own works. I will admit that Romans 3 is very hard to read and understand. This is mainly because of the writing style of the author. I had to look it up in the Message Bible just to cut through some of the wordiness. This Scripture speaks of our condition and the great lengths that God goes to the change that condition.
Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:24-26 (The Message)
This was our Perfect and Good Father’s Plan. The Father wanted you back in right standing. He wanted you before Him because He loves you! His plan was carried out through the love of His Son, Jesus.
Called to Stand Against the Enemy
Our instruction for putting on the Armor of God is to do so in order that we may be able to STAND against the attacks of our enemy. Being in the righteousness of Christ is the only way that we are in right standing before God. Therefore, it is the only way we can stand against the enemy.
Our enemy, Satan, is out to destroy us because he hates God. He wants to steal the Inheritance of Jesus, kill God’s children, and destroy the plans that the Father has to prosper us for His glory and for His Kingdom. This enemy does have great power, but our God has more!
He has given that power to you and me so that we can stand against the enemy and not be moved.
Satan’s Greatest Weapons Are No match For God’s Armor
Satan’s greatest weapon is first and foremost his ability to twist the truth.
He is a liar! When we put on the Belt of Truth we can discern the lies the enemy tells because they do not line up with God’s Words.
Satan’s next move is condemnation.
He assaults us with the truth, or the old truth. We are attacked with accusations of our past mistakes and former identity. Satan reminds us of all the times we fell away from God hoping that we will feel weak in the knees by guilt and shame. We can overcome shame, however, by putting on Christ!
Even when we do fail, and we will, God lovingly disciplines and corrects us. When we listen to His correction and abide by His Words, our knees become stronger so we can stand longer.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Hebrews 12:9-13 (NIV)
The Breastplate of Righteousness as a Weapon
Dress to Kill is a fantastic book on the Armor of God by Rick Renner. In this book, he describes how the breastplate is used as both a defensive weapon and an offensive weapon of warfare.
A Defensive Weapon
The Breastplate of Righteousness is a piece of armor that we must put on. It is not something that you carry, it is something that you wear. Once this armor is properly and securely fitted on, it does the work for you. You don’t have to bang into things with it, or shove it into others, you just simply wear it and the righteousness does all the work.
We put on the Breastplate of Righteousness just like we would put on Christ.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14 (ESV)
Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Ephesians 4:24 (NASB)
Once we have accepted Christ Jesus as our Savior and given our lives over to Him, there is a transformation that occurs. It is a holy exchange! We get to trade our sinful and weak nature, for His righteousness! A gift, however, is only more than a pretty package with bows when it is opened and put to good use.
We get to wear the righteousness of Christ like Cinderella got to wear a new gown to the ball, only our righteousness does not disappear at midnight!
The Breastplate of Righteousness is a defensive weapon because it protects your heart from being swayed by the lies of the enemy. When you stand in the person of Christ and His righteousness all of the devil’s accusations must first go through the blood of Jesus. If what the enemy is saying about you is not true about Jesus, then it is no longer true about you. So stand with your head held high and simply respond, “Yeah that was once true about me, but not anymore!!”
An Offensive Weapon
This is the really cool thing that I learned from the book Dressed to Kill. Paul used the breastplate to represent righteousness. The Roman soldier’s breastplate was like an offense weapon because of its ability to reflect the sun. It was made up of small pieces of metal that would rub together and making its finish brighter and more reflective the longer that it was worn.
As a whole army would approach the enemy and the sun would shine down on these magnificent breastplates the reflection would nearly blind the enemy.
Isn’t that cool! The longer we walk in righteousness, the brighter we become. Our breastplate reflects the light of the Son directly into the face of the enemy.
Keeping Your Armor Shining Bright
When we become Christ followers, we do get to put on the righteousness of Christ. It is our free gift. Throughout our Christian walk, however, we are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We should continually be being transformed into the image of Christ every day. This is done by pursuing righteousness. We get to walk in and wear the righteousness of Christ, but it is also our responsibility to grow in grace and to become holy by daily sacrificing our will for the will of the Father.
Righteousness should be sought after and pursued.
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor. Proverbs 21:21 (NASB)
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NIV)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
A Final Word
So we need to put on the Armor of God so that we can stand against the attacks of the enemy opposing his threats and causing his retreat. Ephesians 6:13 says that in doing so you will have done all you need to do to stand.
Remember in those moments that you feel weak; the Lord will make you strong. He promises according to Psalm 37:17 that He will uphold the righteous and break the enemy.
So what are you waiting for. Go and put on some righteousness!
Need a great prayer to pray for yourself or to teach you kids about putting on the Armor of God? Download a free copy here.