Ephesians 6:14 “….put on the breastplate of righteousness.”
Another important piece of our armor is the breastplate because it protects the vital organs of the body. Often the Old Testament writers would use the names of different organs to express feelings, affection, etc. This is the reason why the breastplate of righteousness is so important in this conflict that we find ourselves in, this wrestling with the world, the flesh and the devil, because what we need to protect is our feelings, affections, desires, our will and conscience.
The conscience is very important. We see that Paul puts the conscience second only to our faith in 1 Timothy 1:19 “….having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected.” We see in the rest of this passage that this rejection of protecting one’s own conscience affects one’s faith. The Word of God describing it as having “shipwrecked their faith.”
The conscience is very important and the devil will attack us in this area, and many are held captive by the devil at this point. We also have desires and there is nothing wrong with desires. God has given us desires and many of them are good. They are part of life as well as who we are, however, what the devil tries to do is bring us inordinate desires, or to inflame the natural desires we have. Through all of this the will is affected and that is the reason why the breastplate of righteousness is so important.
What do we mean by righteousness? Are we talking about moral rectitude, or should it be translated as integrity? Or could this be a righteousness that is provided by God Himself? I think so. For example, consider the apostle Paul. He was a man of integrity as well as self-righteousness, but like we read in Philippians 3:7-9 “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.” So this is the breastplate of righteousness that we need to put on.
Another example of this is found in Luke 18 where the Pharisee talks about his [self]righteousness. Listen to what he says: “I fast twice a week, I give a tenth of all that I have.” Yet it was the sinner that said: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13) And the sinner went home justified.
500 years ago Martin Luther discovered this righteousness of Christ and by starting the reformation he changed the course of history. The question that comes is: What can we do? We can do nothing and that is probably one of the first things that we need to learn. This is why God sent His Son so that we might receive His righteousness, because God is pleased with His Son.
2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
One of the great verses in the Bible is Romans 8:1: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
Now that this righteousness has been imparted to us we are to work this out in our daily lives. Doing this we will find that this righteousness protects our heart, our mind, our conscience as well as our desires, emotions and will.
It is important to see that the breastplate protects our emotions. Human emotions and desires are real and can be good, they play a great part in our life, but unless kept in check can lead us into a lifestyle that is detrimental to our being holy unto the Lord. We can feel so strongly about something that it can replace the rational thought. Praise God for this breastplate that protects us and keeps us strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
At the time of this writing we have just had one of the biggest gun massacres (Las Vegas, California U.S.A.) in our history. There has been no destruction like this since 9/11 with New York’s Twin Towers. Without knowing all of the facts – immediately we see coming out over the airwaves, through media, twitter, Facebook, etc. emotional responses exploiting the situation to back up everyone’s theory about their “political agenda.” This is the time for rational thinking, not emotional outbursts!
Those of us who know Christ have the breastplate of righteousness that protects the emotions so that rational thinking can occur and right decisions can be made. We are living in days of unprecedented evil and this is the time for the ‘sons of God to rise’ and be a solution and not add to the problem. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) We do not need to act like emotional children. We need to act like God’s sons who are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!