“…with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” (Ephesians 6:14)
NOW we’re talking! When God hands you His own righteousness to protect your most vital parts from the Devil’s onslaught, it’s easy to feel downright invincible. And for good reason; who wouldn’t feel like a Christian tank with a half inch of spiritual steel encasing them? But watch out! This piece of equipment is tricky, and many Christian warriors have fallen into the Devil’s trap because they misunderstood what this piece of armor really is.
Yeah, righteousness, awesome! Let me strap on some of THAT! But the important thing to understand is just exactly whose righteousness we will be sporting on the battlefield. Is it a false sense of self-righteousness, or the righteousness that comes from God through Jesus?
That’s the mistake that has proved fatal for many would-be Christian warriors. They look to their own works, their own “righteous” deeds, and their own sense of piety to save them from the accuser. While good works are commendable (as well as commanded), they offer no protection against the slings and arrows of temptation or the piercing blade of judgment. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). When we look to our own deeds to save us, we strap on an “armor” that feels as heavy as lead and protects about as well as the new garments of a certain foolish emperor. Shock and dismay await as we look down at our heart and see the scarlet stain of our own sin oozing from beneath this false armor. Despair sets in as we question everything in which we had placed our hope for salvation. I thought I was stronger than this…how can a sinner like me ever deserve God’s grace?
The Good News is that we don’t have to look to our own clumsy, cumbersome “righteousness” for protection from Satan’s accusing darts. We have a breastplate of righteousness that comes from God. It’s light and flexible; so much, in fact, that we find ourselves to be even more spiritually agile after donning this remarkable armor. And yet it’s strong enough to survive a direct hit from the most adamantine weapon of the world or the Devil. This is the righteousness wrought upon the cross of Calvary, composed of a precious alloy in which the perfect life of Christ is mingled with His innocent blood, and tempered in the very fires of Hell. Wear it well, and trust it always.
“For just as through the disobedience of one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank and praise You for covering our sins with the true righteousness that comes from Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to always trust His promises, confessing our sins and living in the peace of forgiveness and a right relationship with You. Grant us fervent zeal to share this hope with those around us, that they may also be protected from the Devil’s accusations on the day of Your glorious return. In Jesus’ name, Amen.