The purpose of the breastplate of righteousness mentioned in Ephesians 6 is to protect our hearts. But how are we given it? And is there more to understand about its purpose?
Let’s find out…
Ephesians 6:12 talks about how our fight as Christians is not against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of darkness. This kind of warfare requires supernatural armor that enables us to stand against the devil's schemes. Ephesians 6:14 explains, “Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness…”
In this chapter, Paul tells us that we must protect ourselves with powerful armor. But our armor is different from that of medieval knights. Our armor is the armor of God and includes the breastplate of righteousness.
The Problem You Face That Requires the Breastplate of Righteousness
A battle involves two warring armies, personas, or factions engaged in a struggle, controversy, or contest. Similarly, as Christians, we are faced with daily spiritual warfare. This means our enemy is known in the physical realm but instead is actively attacking in the spiritual realm. Therefore we can’t see him.
All this might sound scary and leave you wondering if there's a way out of this welfare. The truth of the matter is that spiritual warfare is inescapable.
- “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”—1 Peter 5:8
However, you don’t have to be scared.
- “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”–Isaiah 41:10
Spiritual warfare goes on in our hearts and minds as the devil tries to turn us away from God, focusing on what we see in the physical rather than what is true in the spiritual. The passage in 1 Peter reminds us to be watchful and guard our hearts against sin, as it is the thing that enslaves us and makes us feel far from God.
Recognizing the existence of spiritual warfare and examining your heart for any traces of sin marks the beginning of your spiritual warfare victory.
Protecting Yourself with the Righteousness of Jesus
As a good soldier, you know you can’t fight and be victorious without protecting yourself. Roman soldiers used to wear a breastplate as part of their armor. The breastplate protects vital body parts such as the heart, lungs, and other essential organs. Not wearing the breastplate left the soldier vulnerable, and he could quickly lose his life in an attack.
Similarly, in Ephesians 6, Paul talks of wearing the full armor of God. Whereas in verse 14, he discusses the breastplate of righteousness. In this verse, Paul explains that if we do not protect ourselves with the righteousness of Christ, we make it easy for the devil to gain access to our hearts and lure us into sin.
- “Blessed are those who keep justice, and he who does righteousness at all times.” —Psalms 106:3
- “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”—Isaiah 61:10
To be righteous, you must accept Jesus’ righteousness. Romans 3:10 reminds us that in our own strength, we are not righteous.
- “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one…’”
This is why Jesus “covered” us with His robe of righteousness!
How Do We Receive the Breastplate of Righteousness?
“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”—Romans 8:6.
We are born with a sinful nature that keeps us from living according to God's will and having life and peace. But there is a way to receive the breastplate of righteousness and allow the Holy Spirit to give us new life and peace that transforms all understanding!
Seeking for the Breastplate of Righteousness
- Make Jesus King of your life. Colossians 1:16 tells us that all things were created through Him and for Him. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. When you make Him King in your life, you are given the breastplate of righteousness.
- Acknowledge God's Word and live by it. Trials and temptations are inevitable. However, with God’s armor, you will be able to withstand them, grow in maturity, and deepen your relationship with God. This doesn’t mean you won’t stumble from time to time, but it does mean your teachable heart will be protected and strengthened. James 1:3 reminds us that trials and testing produce patience. Putting on the breastplate of righteousness given to you by Jesus activates the Word in your life.
- Pray and ask God to empower you to resist the enemy. Ask Him to strengthen you to live according to His Spirit, not your flesh. James 1:5 reminds us that we can ask God for wisdom. James 4:7 tells us that we are to surrender–or submit to God–resist the enemy, and he will flee. The breastplate of righteousness helps you to resist the enemy.
- Staying alert about your daily decisions. Ask God to search you and know your anxious thoughts, and see if there is any offensive way in you. Psalm 139:23-24 gives you an example of a humble prayer, requesting God expose anything in your heart that isn’t in alignment with His Word and asking Him to lead you back to Him.
- Believe you are forgiven because Jesus paid the penalty for your sins when He died on the cross. It's easy to think that the good you have done surpasses the bad and qualifies you for God's forgiveness. But God's standards are high, and a relationship with Jesus Christ is required to qualify you for forgiveness. This is a beautiful gift of complete freedom.
Righteousness signifies God's holiness and perfection, and it only comes through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over time, God sanctifies you to be more like Him. Thus, strengthening you so you can overcome the devil's attacks on your heart and soul.
The Purpose of the Breastplate of Righteousness
Believing Jesus is the one who makes you righteous, meditating on His Word, and asking God to strengthen you in His righteousness is the key to overcoming spiritual warfare. It is hard to challenge the devil if you aren’t putting on the breastplate of righteousness since you lack the weapon that counters the dark world and protects your heart. An unrighteous life, a life apart from abiding in Jesus, destroys your destiny by rendering it destitute.
- “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”—John 15:4
Whatever you allow in your heart will be expressed in your life one way or another. Therefore, examine what enters in, as it could lead to destruction.
- “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”—Proverbs 4:23
- “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”—Luke 6:45
The best way to protect your heart is to put on the full armor of God, especially the breastplate of righteousness, as its purpose is to guard your heart against the enemy.
Humanity has a problem. We are all born sinners, making it impossible to live righteously. However, God gives us supernatural armor to protect our hearts–the breastplate of righteousness.
The purpose of the breastplate of righteousness is to protect your heart against sin and the enemy’s attacks.
God is merciful and compassionate and forgives our iniquity through Jesus.
- “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?”—Micah 7:18
Once we are born of Spirit, He gives us a new heart. With it comes God's armor, the breastplate of righteousness, to protect our hearts and minds. God’s armor protects us from the enemy’s schemes to kill, steal, or destroy.
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