Ephesians 6: 14
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
Now on a Roman Soldier the breastplate covers the vital organs (heart, lungs, etc) of the upper body. This covering offers protection from a physical assault.
What does the Christian need protection from?
How about protection from worldly influences, distortions, deceptions and compromises.
Explain how a Christian’s heart can be wounded.
While you can be hurt physically, we are looking at how a Christians heart can be spiritually wounded. This type of wound usuallly comes from those around us through hurtful words, untruths, and betrayal. Matthew 15:19 gives us a clear picture "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."
What happens to us when our hearts are wounded?
The usual response is to harden our heart and begin to act guarded with others, we may avoid interaction with others; we can even be hurt so bad that we harden our heart toward God. Then we begin to backslide.
So, in essences, the Breastplate of Righteousness protects our heart so that we can be “a man after God’s heart.” The heart represents the character of a man.
Righteousness, according to Crosswalk’s Lexicon, is defined as “the condition acceptable to God” We talked about this doctrine in the Belt of Truth- integrity, correctness of thinking and acting honest, dependable, upright and respectable. The NIV Dictionary defines righteousness as “a right relationship with both God and our fellow human beings.”
So while a breastplate for a soldier would be made of metal or such, the Christian’s breastplate is made of righteousness.
Thought to Ponder:
How can we reach this condition of righteousness?
Through Jesus Christ, sowing God’s word in our hearts and allowing God to do his work through us.
So living out the word of God and faith in Jesus Christ makes sure that our hearts are in agreement with God. We then have confidence in God’s abilities to protect us and supply our needs and then our faith becomes genuine.
Lets take a brief look into the book of Zechariah. Zechariah was a prophet and a priest who was born in Babylon. In 538 BC he returned to Judah under Zerubabbel (grandson of King Jehoiachin, returned under Cyrus to rebuild temple).
"Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you." Then I said, "Put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by. The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. " 'Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes (theologians think this is the symbolic symbol of infinite intelligence) on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,' says the LORD Almighty, 'and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. " 'In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,' declares the LORD Almighty."
Thought to Ponder
Why was it necessary to remove sin?
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"
Sin is a kind of spiritual nakedness. In Genesis 3:21 God made clothes for Adam and Eve. After the exodus from Egypt, the Jewish people performed animal sacrifice so that his people were covered in the blood of an unblemished creature and finally we know that Jesus became the lamb and was sacrificed.
"let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."
"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."
His blood cleanses us and atones for our sins and covers us with righteousness (our spiritual nakedness is finally covered continually). Now we can approach God without fear of punishment.
Thought to ponder:
How do we maintain the Breastplate of Righteousness?
Live by God’s commandments.
19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
Thought to ponder:
What are some of the ways we are “in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness”?
"The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Colossians 3: 12-14
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Romans 8: 11-17
"And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself testifies with our sprit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."
Thought to ponder:
What are the benefits to living a righteous live?
Let us count the ways:
"The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires."
Prosperity and Honor:
"He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor."
God’s Holy Spirit will fill us:
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Peace and confidence:
"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever."
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
So, being righteous is allowing God to do right things through you.