Ephesians 6:14b – Having put on the breastplate of righteousness:
Paul recognizes the important need to have our spiritual vitals covered in righteousness.
The Roman soldier’s breastplate could be metal, adhering to the shape of the body or like a chain mail and leather. A soldier could not fight effectively fight without his breastplate. Righteousness is represented as a breastplate that provides essential protection for the most vital organs.
Human standards define righteousness as being morally right or justifiable behaviorally or by the constitution. However, in the Bible righteousness is having the right standing with God. Righteousness is to be right in God’s eyes. To flee from the snares of temptation and sin Satan has set up and to follow God and His plan for our lives.
Righteousness is a God-centered attribute: no one can attain it through their own efforts. Righteousness, which is the perfect holiness of Christ, comes from God alone. A Christian has no righteousness of their own. It is not earned nor is it a feeling. Righteousness is received by faith in Jesus. “Thank God for experiences, but do not rely on them. You do not put on the ‘breastplate of experiences’, you put on the breastplate of ‘righteousness.’ ” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones).
This righteousness, God’s holiness, and perfection come to us through Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross, providing us a covering to block out the devil’s attacks on our hearts and souls. No one is righteous (Romans 3:10). Righteousness doesn’t come from good works (Isaiah 64:6). It doesn’t matter how often we attend church, how much community service we do, or even how often we read the Bible. If we don’t walk the path God has set before us to walk, our “good works” have no value. Our righteousness comes through Jesus Christ alone (John 3:16).
We put on the breastplate of righteousness by choosing to regularly engage with Scripture and spend time with God so that when we encounter temptations and doubts on the battlefield, we come fully equipped to combat them. Righteousness guards our hearts, which is the well-spring of life (Proverbs 4:23) against the schemes of the devil. Righteousness causes us to turn to God when we face temptation (James 4:7) causing the devil to flee. Righteousness helps us avoid things that may ensnare us (Matthew 5:30). We are to seek, pursue righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Jesus declared that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied (Matthew 5:6).
Have I secured my breastplate of righteousness today? How am I guarding my heart against the schemes of the evil one?
Lord help me choose to stand strong each day with the breastplate of your righteousness, I pray.