The Breastplate of Righteousness

“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:14-15


“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, now powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31, 38-39


For many years in my early Christian life, I had the false belief that life should be relatively smooth and problem-free because I was Christian. “I’m God’s child…He wouldn’t let bad things happen to me, right?” Actually, that was 100% wrong.


The truth is that this viewpoint does not come from the Bible. In fact, we see quite the opposite in Scripture. In the book of Job, the Lord allowed Satan to test Job by attacking his property, health, and even his children. Before Jesus departed this earth, He said to his disciples, “in the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Take note that Jesus said you “will have tribulation”; there are no qualifiers such as “may” or “possibly”. In Jesus’ own words, it is a certainty that you will experience trials and difficulties during your life here on earth.


Why is that?


Take a look at Ephesians 6:11-13: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”


Christian, do not make the mistake of being naïve in your viewpoint as I was in my early Christian life. We have quite an adversary, as described in Ephesians 6. Satan cannottake away the rich inheritance that you have in Christ, which is so beautifully described in the preceding chapters in Ephesians. He can, however, attack you constantly and try to make you ineffective in your witness for Christ. He can attempt to rob you of the fullness of your relationship with God and make you question His goodness and love for you. So how can we hold up against these attacks?


God is loving, and He is holy. Because He is loving, He does not leave us to fend for ourselves, defenseless against the devil’s schemes. And because He is holy, He gives us access to methods of defense that are rooted in His perfect character, NOT our own. Ephesians 6:14-17, the well-known “Full Armor of God” passage, lists six separate pieces of armor, each one tied to a specific spiritual resource that is appropriated to us through Christ.


Let’s take a look at the breastplate of righteousness that is described in Ephesians 6:14. This piece of armor covers a large area of the body, from the neck to just below the waist. It protects vital organs such as lungs, kidneys, and the liver. But most importantly, the breastplate protects the heart, the only part of the body that we are commanded to watch over vigilantly since “from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). In other words, the heart is the center of our being – everything we think, feel, and do is rooted in the inclinations of our heart.


If the word “righteousness” seems daunting to you, rest easy – righteousness is not something that you can accomplish by your own efforts. Instead, God transferred Jesus’ righteousness to you in the instant that you accepted Christ. Your sins were transferred to Him, and in exchange, Jesus’ right standing was put on your account, for God “made him who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Satan may fill your heart with doubts and feelings of inadequacy, but he cannot take away your right standing before God that was won by Christ. Sometimes we forget that in the wearying everyday battle of life. In the armor of God passage, Paul repeatedly says to “stand firm”. So Christian, stand firm, fully aware that your breastplate of righteousness is securely in place as you face the trials and difficulties of this world!


CHALLENGE QUESTIONS:


DAY 1

Are you holding onto the belief that your life should be smooth and problem-free because you’re a Christian? Is it causing disappointment in your life? Speak truth into it – reflect on Romans 5:1-5 today.

DAY 2

In Romans 8:28, Paul says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” This does not necessarily mean earthly comfort, but it means that God uses everything in your life, good and bad, to conform you to Christ and draw you into closer fellowship with Him. Reflect on what trials you currently have and how they are part of God’s larger plan to cause you to know Him in a deeper way.

DAY 3

Each of the six pieces of armor can be traced back to God’s word: truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, and the Word of God itself. Ensure that you are well-rooted in the Bible this week so that you can fully put on each piece of the armor.

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