"Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, .............with the breastplate of righteousness in place," Ephesians 6:13 & 14
Today's Bible study is part 3 in a series on "Becoming A Christian Soldier." - Now, I have to be very clear - I am NOT talking about becoming a physical soldier and I am NOT saying that you should go out and physically fight (although I appreciate and respect anybody who has served or is serving in our army, navy or air force) - what I'm talking about in this series is on a spiritual level.
Our God is all powerful, all knowing, He is our Protector and Provider - He would never throw us into a battle without fully equipping us first. Today we continue learning about the "full armor of God" and specifically "the breastplate of righteousness."
I've always thought of "righteous" as meaning "arrogant" but that is not a true definition - so that is why I looked it up in the dictionary. "Righteousness - acting in accord with moral or divine law: free from guilt or sin. Morally right or justifiable, arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality."
"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." Romans 5:18
Isn't it interesting that our condemnation started by one person's sinful act (we are talking about eating from the forbidden tree in the garden of Eden) and then our salvation began by Jesus' one act of righteousness. The latter eliminates the first and we are justified through Christ for eternity.
"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." 1 Peter 2:24
In the verse above we see that we are to live for righteousness because of Jesus' sacrifice.
The "breastplate" referred to in Ephesians was made of metal and it protected the soldier's torso and specifically it protected the heart - the modern version of a breastplate would of course be the bullet proof vest. To me "righteousness" comes from the heart - from the inner most part of our being, the emotion center and the force of our existence. That place in our body where we feel the pain of injustice and the place where we feel that rush of knowing what is right & wrong and where we feel the urging of what justice needs to be done.
Being righteous is good for you - take a look at the verse below:
"He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." Proverbs 21:21
"Life, prosperity and honor" is yours when you live & act in a righteous way based on the way that Jesus lived. Living righteously is being Christ-like.
"Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." James 3:18
In the verse above we go back to what we were talking about last week - to "stand" is not going on the attack and it is not running away - in a sense it is peaceful. Yes, you need to be on guard and ready to act in a Godly manner but there needs to be peace before you make that next step. You need to stand in peace in order to hear what God is telling you to do - then and only then will you "raise a harvest of righteousness."
Righteousness is Godly emotions in action.
Be sure to keep "The Breastplate of Righteousness" securely in place in your life.