~ Breastplate of Righteousness ~
“Put on the breastplate of righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14b).
What a strategic piece of armor—among other things it protects the heart and lungs. Any wound to the heart or lungs has a high probability of being fatal.
In the era in which Paul wrote, this breastplate was made of toughened tanned animal skins. These lightweight yet effective guards were relatively comfortable and allowed the soldier flexibility of movement while providing protection. The breastplate included leather thongs around the waist area which were tied to loops that were part of the Belt of Truth (the first item of armor to be put in place).
The heart in Biblical imagery is not just physical but includes our mind, our thinking, our emotions, and therefore our affections. Just as physically we are dead without a properly functioning heart, so also spiritually. Humans are dead spiritually if their hearts are not affectionate towards Jesus Christ and His work on their behalf. Meanwhile our lungs involve our breathing. Our heart and lungs are both absolutely vital for life to be sustained. Breathing reminds us of how the Word of God is “God breathed” and of the Holy Spirit living within us.
The righteousness we are to put on is Christ’s. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14). “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:23-24). “Put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:10).
Jesus Christ is our model and He also put on the Breastplate of Righteousness. “For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on His head” (Isaiah 59:17). If our Lord, the only Righteous One, felt it necessary to put on this breastplate, how much more do we need to! We are to put this righteousness on by faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The breastplate is particularly useful in close combat. His righteousness guards our hearts and our thinking when Satan, the master deceiver, hurls accusations and charges at us. When we walk in the protection of God’s righteousness, we have secured ourselves from Satan’s attacks. The world, our fallen nature, and our ego (1 John 2:16) all attack our hearts by influencing our affections. Our heart’s affections are prone to wander. Jesus warned us for example, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41a). Part of the Good News is that by wearing the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness we can win the battles and live obediently for the glory of God, knowing that ultimately He will win the war.
Remember we are only righteous in God the Father’s eyes when we have put on the breastplate of His Son’s righteousness. None of us has any merit or righteousness of our own. However, when we consciously put on the Belt of Truth and the Breastplate of Righteousness, we are being transformed into the image of God’s Son (2 Corinthians 3:18) and consequently will think right in all areas and are protected from all enemies.
don’t miss this ~ (1) Do you need open heart surgery (spiritually)? In what condition is your heart? Is your heart fully right with God? Is your Christianity ancient history or current events? (2) The breastplate of righteousness – Jesus Christ is our righteousness! I am righteous in God the Father’s eyes because of God the Son’s work for me on the Cross.
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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