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Tuesday, 06 October 2015 14:03

How is Your Breastplate of Righteousness?

Written by  Mike and Lisa Conn
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Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  Ephesians 6:14, 15

 

Ephesians 6 is a well known chapter of the New Testament that teaches Christians to put on the full armor of God so that we can withstand the attacks of evil that come against us.  Here we will examine the breastplate of righteousness, beginning with the meaning of the term, “righteousness”.  Secondly, we will look at how we become “righteous”.  And finally, we will look at the literal armor that soldiers wear, in particular, the breastplate.  

What is righteousness?

In our 20 years of service in the military and of teaching marriage and family to military and civilian couples, we have experienced the unique privilege of watching and working with couples who are struggling to make decisions that are good and pleasing to God.  Families and individuals face alternatives in their choices of good and evil in a world that is changing the boundaries of right and wrong.  Andy Andrews, the author of How do You Kill 11 Million People?  Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think, points out that in Nazi Germany, the lines of good vs. evil became so gray that people actually went along with Hitler’s horrendous execution of over 11 million people.  What is true, what is right, what is morally correct depends upon an individual’s world view and perspective of sin and righteousness.  When a baker in Colorado refuses to bake a cake that celebrates a homosexual marriage, he has chosen to take a stand for what he believes is true and right, “falling on his sword” to uphold not just religious beliefs but a core value that he holds to be right.  Planned Parenthood (which should be called Planned Abortion) is another example where people choose to turn their heads away from an atrocity, where parenthood is not begun until the birth of a full term child, making it right to some to kill an unborn child and even babies who were born and had the audacity to live!  How have the lines between good and evil, sin and righteousness become so blurred?

Righteousness is defined in Wikipedia as,  “an attribute that implies that a person’s actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been “judged” or “reckoned” as leading a life that is pleasing to God.”  The word is found in the Old Testament more than five hundred times and in the New Testament more than two hundred times (Wikipedia).  Righteousness is the opposite of sin, therefore to be without sin is to be righteous.  God wants His people to live righteous lives--free of sin and following His laws, as shown in  Psalm 119:172 which says, “My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.”  1 John 3:4 declares, “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”

  

How do we become righteous?

To be righteous is to do what is right in God’s eyes.  “Sins are actions and thoughts that go against God’s laws. Since they are in conflict with God’s way of living and are harmful to ourselves and others, our perfect and just God will not associate with us if we go down the path of sin and evil. We cut ourselves off from God and His protection!”  (freebiblestudyguides.org)  Isaiah 59:1-2 says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.”

In Isaiah 64:6 we are reminded that our righteousness is like filthy rags.  A breastplate of filthy rags is no protection at all.  The righteousness that will protect us from our enemy comes only from God.  God is righteousness!  His righteousness saves us through justification and forgiveness of sins. God’s righteousness makes our breastplate strong and protective so that we can fight and win the battles, not based on our merit, but because of God’s grace and mercy. 

 

What is the breastplate?

The righteousness of Christ forms the breastplate that protects our core, our innermost being.  The breastplate was a central part of the Roman soldier’s armament, which protected his vital organs such as the heart and lungs.  Without a breastplate, a soldier would not stand a chance of protecting himself in battle, however, with a strong breastplate, the soldier can fend off attacks, protecting himself, his loved ones, and his beliefs.  The breastplate must be put on daily, just as we must try to live each day a life honoring Christ.  The breastplate protects only the front of the soldier, so remember to have other Christians protecting your back!

Someday, the battles we are fighting will be finished and when that time comes, we are promised, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17).  By being faithful to live a life honoring to God and by staying away from sin, we will then be able to enjoy the fruit of righteousness.

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 15:32
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