February 20 I Wednesday
“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place….” —Ephesians 6:14
Righteousness is an intimidating word to many people because it seems way up there, like we will never attain to it, or because it smacks of self-righteousness. But Paul says there is a “breastplate of righteousness,” which needs to be put in place to protect against satanic attack.
“Righteous” is defined in two ways. It is used in relation to God, in that it is His moral character, and it is used in relation to people. In Romans 5:17, Paul speaks of those who receive God’s gift of righteousness. Romans 4 talks about Abraham having been credited with righteousness, and in Romans 4:24, “...for us, to whom God will credit righteousness....” Righteousness is not something intrinsic to us, but we receive it or are credited with it. This is the breastplate Paul talks about, and it involves two things: a new status, which is our standing before God, and a new nature, which is what we live out before God.
A modern-day idiom for “breastplate of righteousness” would be “bulletproof vest of righteousness” because it protects our vital organs. We receive this breastplate as a gift of God through Jesus Christ, and we wear it to protect the “vital organs” of our Christian lives. The way that Satan will seek to destroy us and our
effectiveness as Christians will be to attack our righteous standing before God.
The devil is a liar, but he does not have to lie when he talks about our sin. However, the Lord says that He has taken away our sin and will replace our filthy rags with rich garments. As Isaiah prophesied, “My soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of His righteousness...” (Isaiah 61:10). When the devil speaks to us about our sin, he condemns to try and make us doubt our standing before God, but the Holy Spirit convicts to draw us back to Christ. No matter what the devil whispers to us—no matter what sins we have committed last year, last month, last week, today, or will commit in the weeks ahead—if we are in Christ, we are standing secure before God from a position of righteousness.
The great exchange of the cross of Jesus Christ is that He became a sinner in the same way that we become righteous. Our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to us. In Jesus Christ, we have this breastplate of righteousness to wear, which frees us from condemnation and protects us where Satan will attack us most—our righteous standing before God.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that we are made righteous in You. Help me to keep the breastplate of righteousness in place so that I am protected against the devil’s condemnation.