S6P2 – God’s armor: the breastplate of righteousness

Ephesians 6:10-17

In conclusion, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His [boundless] might. Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. So stand firm and hold your ground, having tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), and having strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

A breastplate of armor is made of two parts and covers not only the front of the upper body but also the back.  In battle, it is protection from the blows to the vital organs which are in view and anticipated and the surprise blows that come from behind.  This is a critical component of the spiritual imagery in this passage as the devil is not always obvious in his attacks.  He can be deceptive to the point of fooling us into not realizing we are being attacked at all.  And just as the physical body relies on its vital organs for survival, so does the spirit.

The power in our breastplate comes from its substance: righteousness.  The righteousness of Christ in its perfect justice and virtue is imputed to us when we accept Him as our savior and invite Him to dwell within us [2 Corin. 5:21].  The command to put on the breastplate is a call to consciously walk in the belief that we carry this righteousness.  It is an invitation to replace our doubt with confidence in God’s promise that we carry the power and blamelessness of Christ.

No man-made armor can protect against the devil’s attacks on the components of our spiritual makeup.  We have no defenses other than those provided by God in the spirit.  If we want to preserve our spiritual lives, we must recognize and rely on the righteousness of Christ that rests in us.  When we recognize our identity in this righteousness, we have protection from the devil’s attacks on our vital spiritual organs.  Without Christ, we are guilty; in Christ, we are blameless.  Father, help us to confidently put on the righteousness of Jesus Christ daily so that we will be prepared for this great battle, not for our sake but for Yours.