The Armor of God - Breastplate of Righteousness

Posted by Heather Conrad at 12:41 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ever get tripped up by a word? Ever have such a hard time comprehending the meaning of it that you just simply skip by it, pronounce it, move ahead. This happens to me when I stumble upon, or heard the word righteousness. I've heard it, read it many times, but ask me to explain the concept....ummmm. So let's dive into the source, shall we? Let's continue our quest in looking at this concept of the armor of God as found in Ephesians 6. Check out verse 17:

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place

To begin, I wanted to take a look at the definition of righteousness. On our trip this past weekend, we had a chance to stop in the local Lifeway store. After only a few steps, I was drawn to a round stand, captivated, for on this stand was commentary after commentary, thick dictonary after thick dictionary, and I was drooling. Now, if THAT isn't a work of God, I don't know what is! Can I actually be nearing a place where my heart goes pitter-patter in anticipation of word meanings, contexts, and commentaries? Sweet! Well, my physical hands loved to get a "hold" of those books, but my practical mind told me to use the resources at my disposal, SO. I'm checking out some websites - tons of good ones. My favorite so far is Here's what it says about righteousness/justification:

Justification, a forensic term, opposed to condemnation. As regards its nature, it is the judicial act of God, by which he pardons all the sins of those who believe in Christ, and accounts, accepts, and treats them as righteous in the eye of the law, i.e., as conformed to all its demands. In addition to the pardon (q.v.) of sin, justification declares that all the claims of the law are satisfied in respect of the justified. It is the act of a judge and not of a sovereign. The law is not relaxed or set aside, but is declared to be fulfilled in the strictest sense; and so the person justified is declared to be entitled to all the advantages and rewards arising from perfect obedience to the law (Rom. 5:1-10).

This is such an amazing and wonderful truth! The word is a judicial word and has to do with our standing before God the Father. IT is more than forgiven, more than acquitted. It means the Father sees us as if we had NEVER SINNED. We are declared righteous; free from guilt and punishment. How is that possible? It is made possible by Jesus Christ! (Romans 3:23-24, 28).
It is so important to let this truth sink deep into our hearts. Justification is not accomplished through my good works nor diminished by my sin. It is completely in the hands of God himself! (Romans 5:1,18; 8:1, II Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5-7). I should walk in obedience because I am justified, not to try to become justified by my obedience.

So here again, the warriors' character is their defense. In Isaiah 59:17, God himself is symbolically described as putting on a breastplate of righteousness to bring about justice.

He put on righteousness as his breastplate.

Here the Lord's armor is compared to the believer's armor in the battle against Satan. Let's look at some more verses:

Psalm 5:8 - Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies - make straight your way before me.

Psalm 7:8 - let the LORD judge the peoples. Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High.

Psalm 7:17 - I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

Psalm 23:3 - He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Psalm 31:1 - In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.

Psalm 40:10 - I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation

Whew, David was on a roll! So many amazing verses that deepen our understanding (challenge yourself!) What I can humbly summarize is that God wants us to walk with Him. He alone is our weapon and he equips us with mighty tools. He not only wants this walk for our welfare but for the benefit of others as well. Pretty neat stuff. Tune in tomorrow as we look at our feet fitted with readiness (pretty cool considering our "walk"). Until then, battle on!