“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with feet fittede with the readiness that comes fromthe gospel of peace.”-Ephesians 6:14-15.
When examining the armor of God, it is important to remember that each piece is constructed by God for battling a spiritual enemy. This is evidenced in no other piece of armor more than the breastplate of righteousness.
The breastplate of a Roman soldier was affixed to a man’s chest primarily to protect his heart. The heart is a prime target. If you can strike the heart, you can stop your opponent dead in his tracks. This is true not only in the physical realm, but the spiritual realm as well.
The spiritual heart of a man is the inner soul and spirit of a man. It is a person’s center for spiritual, emotional, intellectual and moral activity. Speaking of the heart, Proverbs 4:23 states: “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” This passage reinforces the necessity of protecting and keeping our heart healthy. We must guard our hearts above all else because if it becomes compromised it will jeopardize our confidence before God. Nothing can compromise our hearts faster than condemnation.
“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.”-1 John 3:21.
Condemnation is Satan’s primary weapon to rob you of the confidence that comes from knowing Christ. The Apostle Paul recognized this in Romans 8:1-2 when he wrote:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
The breastplate, created to guard our hearts against the arrows of condemnation, is constructed of the righteousness of Christ. Righteousness, simply defined, is to have right standing with God; justified and free from condemnation. It is not a righteousness of our own, but that which is imparted to us by God through faith:
“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.”- Philippians 3:8-9.
Our own self-righteousness is no match for the penetrating power of condemnation. To attempt to maintain our confidence utilizing our own righteousness would be akin to rushing into battle wearing a breastplate that we’ve constructed out of cardboard:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away”-Isaiah 64:6.
The confidence we have to stand against Satan’s accusations and condemnation is not afforded to us through our own self-effort, but through Christ’s willingness to take on sin so that we may be clothed in righteousness:
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”-2 Corinthians 5:21.
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe and without it being seated securely in place we will lack the confidence needed to face our spiritual enemies.
Pastor Scott Burr
Dayspring Community Church